Bunk: The True Story of Hoaxes, Hucksters, Humbug, Plagiarists, Forgeries, and Phonies

Bunk: The True Story of Hoaxes, Hucksters, Humbug, Plagiarists, Forgeries, and Phonies

by

Has the hoax now moved from the sideshow to take the center stage of American culture?

Award-winning poet and critic Kevin Young tours us through a rogue s gallery of hoaxers, plagiarists, forgers, and fakers from the humbug of P. T. Barnum and Edgar Allan Poe to the unrepentant bunk of JT LeRoy and Donald J. Trump. Bunk traces the history of the hoax as a peculiarly American phenomenon, examining what motivates hucksters and makes the rest of us so gullible. Disturbingly, Young finds that fakery is woven from stereotype and suspicion, race being the most insidious American hoax of all. He chronicles how Barnum came to fame by displaying figures like Joice Heth, a black woman whom he pretended was the 161-year-old nursemaid to George Washington, and What Is It?, an African American man Barnum professed was a newly discovered missing link in evolution.

Bunk then turns to the hoaxing of history and the ways that forgers, plagiarists, and journalistic fakers invent backstories and falsehoods to sell us lies about themselves and about the world in our own time, from pretend Native Americans Grey Owl and Nasdijj to the deadly imposture of Clark Rockefeller, from the made-up memoirs of James Frey to the identity theft of Rachel Dolezal. In this brilliant and timely work, Young asks what it means to live in a post-factual world of truthiness where everything is up for interpretation and everyone is subject to a pervasive cynicism that damages our ideas of reality, fact, and art.

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Title:Bunk: The True Story of Hoaxes, Hucksters, Humbug, Plagiarists, Forgeries, and Phonies
ISBN:9781555977917
Format Type:PDF | Epub | Mobi | iBook

Bunk: The True Story of Hoaxes, Hucksters, Humbug, Plagiarists, Forgeries, and Phonies Related Books

    Bunk: The True Story of Hoaxes, Hucksters, Humbug, Plagiarists, Forgeries, and Phonies Reviews

  • Kathleen

    My review for the Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifesty...Most people probably know that the word “bunk” is short for “bunkum,” meaning insincere talk, claptrap or humbug. Few...

  • Stephanie

    Fascinating (and possibly reassuring) look at the American history of faking it when it comes to information. Definitely not for the casual reader -- the book is dense, full of footnotes, and delves d...

  • Grace Tenkay

    History, written in a fairly entertaining way. ...

  • Mike

    Our critical faculties seem neutralized by the lie we are ready to swallow. Bradlee said it: Beware of the lie you want to believe. The old ones are funny; the current ones are terrifying. ...

  • Jason Diamond

    A masterpiece. How do you get this into the hands of every high school student? ...

  • Katie

    I find that in my professional life, I spend a lot of time encouraging people to not believe everything they read on the internet. That just because someone somewhere says something is true doesn't ne...

  • Olena Churanova

    "Especially when we are at our most disconnected, virtual, and unverifiable, we need to fight the disembodiment and invisibility that is its own inequality. What we need is not more immediate news - w...

  • Karen

    Do you think fake news is the "new thing"? Well, think again. Kevin Young's book, Bunk, explores the history of falseness in America, looking at everything from past memoir and journalism scandals to ...

  • Beukenick

    Interesting take on and overview of hoaxes, however the repeated reference to racism seems forced and is never essential to any argument made in the book....

  • Llamaark

    The book was listened and perhaps I should listen again....