Richard Metzger claims, in his preface to this book, that concensus reality laid over and died in 1996. If that's true, why is this book necessary? Rather than support his claim, the book as a whole supports the exact opposite, reminding us that everything we think we know is subject to debate by someone.
This book is of uneven quality. Some of the articles offer information that really does challenge readers' expectations. Howard Zinn's history of the Ludlow Massacre is an excellent example, and should be shown to all Libertarians who think that Industry serves the common good. Editor Russ Kick offers ample documentary evidence that the Columbine school shooting was more complex than we realize, while Mike Males comes from another direction, suggesting that kids are a lot healthier and more law-abiding than we realize.
Other articles aren't so hot. Tristan Taormino's praise of polyamory uses vulgar terminology sure to keep anyone on the fence from changing their minds. Are we really likely to agree to multiple partners if our best argument is full of language to make sailors blush? Greg Palast and Oliver Shykles' condemnation of the International Monetary Fund, though probably correct, refuses to cite sources and has a flip tone that won't sway any key undecided minds. Thomas Szasz, in claiming that mental illness is a fiction, simply states his opinion that psychoses don't exist, and then behaves as though his assertion is as good as proof.
This is not a scholarly book. It is written with a distinct popular tone, though no clear political position. Some articles are liberal, some conservative; some pro-industry, some anti-neoclassical economics; some pro-religion, some openly athiest. David T. Hardy claims that law enforcement was too proactive and caused the disaster at Waco, but Philip W. Cook claims law enforcement doesn't do enough to protect men from domestic abuse.
In the end, this book, despite the declarative title, isn't trying to prove a point or change your mind. It's trying to remind you that your belief doesn't equal ultimate truth. It simply calls the opinions many of us share into question in a sheer attempt to keep us from marching lock-step into the slaughterhouse.
This is an excellent book if you're seeking to expand your thinking or if you want to hold your own in an argument. If you can't handle a challenge to what you believe, don't bother with this book. If you don't mind changing your opinions to suit the facts, this is the book for you.
Have you ever wondered if the media is telling you the complete story? Have you ever wondered if there is another side to the stories that is just plain not being told? Is it possible that everything you are being taught is not necessarily true but is instead just the position that the government, media or other group wants you to believe? If you have then you owe it to yourself to read this book.
Just a couple of examples from the book include the current situation with Mad Cow disease in America, the fact that violence involving young people is at it's lowest level in over 30 years (despite the impression you get from the news), how French authorities kidnapped a girl in California and took her to France. Other areas include nuclear safety, globalization, serial killers, the Vatican Bank, Olympic Games, the Columbine murders and many others.
While at times the book seems like a series of articles from a "conspiracy theory" group, it has the advantage of each article being contributed by an authority in that field. The authorities include everything from investigative journalists to researchers to commentators and academic authorities. Each article includes well-documented evidence to backup all claims.
If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to learn the alternative possibilities and explanations that are out there, most of which are at least as plausible and sometimes more so than the "official" or "accepted" version. A fascinating read that opens the mind, answers many questions and at times creates more questions than it answers. Fun and irreverent, sometimes politically left, sometimes politically right, it is a recommended read.
on May 13, 2002
I bought (and reviewed) the first Disinformation Guide, You Are Being Lied To, and gave it a rave review. I didn't really think that book could be beaten, but I was wrong. Everything You Know Is Wrong is so compelling that I sat down and read it non-stop for a whole (3 day) weekend. That's many, many hours of reading.
Return names are Howard Bloom, Howard Zinn, Richard Metzger and several others. There's more variety this time though, with contributions from Naomi Klein, Arianna Huffington, Noreena ("Silent Takeover") Hertz, John Taylor Gatto and several other notable authors.
Standouts for me were Russ Kick's "more than two shooters" expose on Coulmbine, Peter Breggin MD's outing of the real effects of antidepressants, David Lochbaum's unveiling of US nuclear accident secrets and John ("NY Teacher of the Year")Taylor Gatto's riveting spin on the purpose of the education system (it's not about educating!).
It's worth mentioning too that the book is a beautiful thing in itself, coffee table worthy, huge, and a tremendous value when you see how much is in it. Buy it - you won't regret it!
This book from the folks at Disinformation is generally stronger than its predecessor, "You Are Being Lied To." That book was a similar collection of nonconformist articles but attempted to tie them all together under the theme of media manipulation and corporate conspiracies to control public information. That theme didn't work out too well as the book was damaged by whiny conspiracy theorists and bleeding heart crybabies. "Everything You Know Is Wrong" manages to avoid that problem, which could potentially damage any book with this kind of philosophy, and that's because it doesn't try to make any type of overarching point this time. Therefore this book becomes a more enjoyable and believable collection of articles on subjects that you are unlikely to hear about in the mainstream media.
Another strength of this book is its differing viewpoints, as many political persuasions are represented and some of the essays even contradict each other. In a book like this that reacts against mainstream power, you will naturally get a lot of leftism, and that's true in at least four-fifths of this book. However, the right will find representation here too, especially in the essay "Watchdog Nation" which criticizes anti-racism groups that are mostly acting only in their own self-interest, plus endorsements of books that criticize gun control concepts and the Clinton/Gore administration. Readers of this book who take every single essay at face value, regardless of the reader or writer's political leanings, will find themselves with new well-rounded viewpoints.
Regardless, the best essays here are far beyond mere left vs. right politics. Most notably "The Whole Truth About Domestic Violence," which proves that more men are abused than women; "Some Lessons from the Underground History of American Education," a truly terrifying expose on the real ideology of public schools (e.g. conformity and indoctrination rather than critical thinking); and "Postcards from the Planet of the Freaks," a realistic view on disabilities from the disabled themselves, which you are highly unlikely to see elsewhere. There are a few clunkers though, especially "Fear of a Vegan Planet," which starts out well with many well-considered reasons to avoid meat, but in the end states that meat eating is inherently illogical, as is "renting oneself out eight hours a day." If this author thinks that making a living is illogical, does it matter if you're a vegan when you can't afford to eat? Fortunately, inanities like this aren't numerous enough to damage the overall success of this book.
on March 21, 2005
This book has 46 articles whose purpose is to educate you about some story that has been ignored, or is in error, by the Corporate Media. Its human nature to listen to gossip that pretends to give you secrets. Sometimes these facts can't be corroborated easily. So when you read these articles, consider that they may be one-sided. But you have to be one-sided to correct a widespread error. Anyone who's had years of experience with events in the news has figured out "you are being lied to".
The 'Introduction' mentions the censorship about various events. The contributors of these articles do not necessarily agree with each other. That is a sign of "objectivity", not printing to fit. The articles will challenge or educate you, they shouldn't bore you. You can decide which you like better. You are not likely to find them in your local newspaper or national magazines.
The first article "Burn the Olive Tree, Sell the Lexus" is a good overview on the disastrous policies of globalization. Arianna Huffington writes a good report on "Drug Companies". Is this why her column is no longer printed in NJ? Jonathan Levy's article will not be found in your local newspaper; stories like this are too hot to handle. Dominick Armentano's essay is an example of sophistry; don't believe him. It denies the history of the late 19th and early 20th century. Lucy Komisar explains how corporations and the rich avoid taxes by using secret offshore bank accounts. Taxes are for the middle-classes. Noreena Hertz tells how globalization has impoverished more people than before.
Mike Males' discusses the "Myths About Youth". They are not more violent, homicidal, criminal, suicidal, or smoking and drinking more. They are in general more responsibly behaved than their Baby Boom parents (p.115)! Special interest groups, like the Carnegie Corporation, are pushing an agenda to convince people that more repression is needed. Many of their claims are false and deliberately misleading, like "injury and violence have now replaced illness as the leading cause of death for adolescents". Many fewer teens die from the infectious diseases common before the mid 1950s! The truth is that poverty correlates to the problems of teens, but this fact is banned by the politics of those spreading fears. It would require changes that they don't want to discuss (p.118). "Toxic TV Syndrome" by Kalle Lasn explains why watching TV makes you sick: the more you watch, the more depressed you become (p.142).
David T. Hardy reports the truth about the Waco Incident, when the ATF raided a communal church (p.183). It debunks the story in the Corporate Media. William Blum presents the censored facts about the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, "a mass of conflicting evidence" (p.190). Peter Gorman tells of the secret coup that overthrew the President of Peru, and how this relates to another secret war to seize control of the coca fields of Colombia. Are there hidden oil fields there?
Russ Kick explains why 9-11-2001 was not a surprise: there were many warnings that something was going to happen (pp.241-257). In Manila 1995 they found plans to hijack a commercial plan and crash it into CIA headquarters, the Pentagon, the White House, the Sears Tower, the Transamerica Tower, or the World Trade Center (p.246). Crashing a plane into a Tower was attempted in December 1994 (p.247). Were telephone calls being intercepted (p.249)? [But some of these stories sound like "urban legends" (p.253).] Was this attack as big a surprise as Pearl Harbor?
Howard Bloom's article on the Chinese Century is must reading! J. T. Gatto's hidden history of American education is very important for your understanding on how the system works. Before WW I "the Education Trust" was created to attack the middle-class of owner-operated businesses (p.274). Future generations were to be trained as economic serfs for the big corporations. Children would be deprived of the traditional education learned in farms and villages, and be told of what to think. Schools were like factories that took in raw materials and shaped them into finished products (p.275). The hidden policies created a rise in school violence and chaos due to the process of restricting the ability of teachers to control and discipline children. This created a market for drugs for kids. Big corporations would control schools and children, not the family and church (p.277). The literacy rate for soldiers in WW II, Korea, and Vietnam kept dropping; this measured the "dumbing down" in the education system (p.278). This was due to the "whole-word method" (p.279). Was the schooling of the masses aimed at destroying democracy (p.285)? Were today's high-cost, low-value schools created for big corporations (p.286)? What will be the effect of well-educated people who can't find work (p.287)? Can the perverse education philosophy of the last century be cured and corrected? Can we afford anything else? If illiteracy causes crime and violence, doesn't that make our schooling system responsible (p.279)?
on February 3, 2004
There are a lot of claims made in this book. China could wipe out the U.S. carrier fleet with the flick of a switch. David Koresh wasn't all that bad. Polyamory is the wave of the future. Cops are on the make, and so is the Vatican.
Are these claims for real? I don't know. Some of them, or all of them, may be. But all of that is lost in the weight of the self-righteous presentation that dominates about two-thirds of this book.
The further you read, the more you realize the interest of the article writers and the editor is not in bringing out the truth. Their real goal is to be contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. The scribes write with the smugness of somebody scribbling For A Good Time Call in a bathroom stall, and the editor just dumps it all in your lap with the ideological equivalent of "Here you go, and it's up to you to figure out why any of it matters."
There is material more threatening to the status quo, and more revolutionary, to be found in the daily paper, if you know how to read critically. This book belongs in among pompous college bull sessions. It just has nothing to offer a good thinking adult.
on November 11, 2002
If you are looking for some sort of cohesive theme througout the book, it is to question everything. This is a habit many of us have passively chosen to break once we left college and were forced to deal with the daily practicalities brought by information overload. This book may be just the ticket to get the habit back--if it is indeed a habit you want, that is. This, if nothing else, is why I recommend the book.
As for those looking for a consistent theme throughout, you may be disappointed--as you should be! This is a compilation of investigative articles covering unrelated topics. The only relation they may have is the editor who brought them together, of course. Readers may be tempted to slap labels such as, "Left-wing," or "Liberalism," and even "Paranoid Fanaticism" on the bood (i.e., editor), but these are just the vices we use to discredit the material instead of doing our own homework on it. This is something I am doing now on a few of the articles. Any book that can inspire an action like that deserves a second look. And that, I believe, was the editor's intent.
This is a group of articles, some previously published, that give a very different interpretation of many contemporary issues. This isn't a "liberal" or "conservative" book, since the authors come from all over the political spectrum.
The Vatican Bank, with the Pope as sole shareholder, has been involved in financial scams, tax evasion and money laundering of Nazi gold. Some groups have an interest (usually financial) in taking the tiny number of Americans who belong to hate groups and making them into a tidal wave about to engulf the whole country. Conventional wisdom says that Henry Lee Lucas was one of the biggest serial killers in American history. On more than one occasion, he confessed to any murder put in front of him, even if he wasn't in the same state at the time (the police usually didn't care about that part), to increase his chances of going to the electric chair. Many witnesses say that there was a third, older, shooter that day at Columbine High School.
Mad cow disease is spreading virtually unchecked in America. There is a very graphic look at what a meat-based diet is all about, for animals and for humans. Another piece is titled, "Psychiatric Drugging of Children for Behavioral Control." It is a mistake to assume that all disabled people want to be "cured." Despite their high-sounding words in public, in private, all major religions subjugate women and treat them as inferior to men. Press coverage of the Branch Davidian siege at Waco, Texas, consisted of little more than FBI press conferences, and bore little relation to the truth. In many large cities and smaller towns, seeing the money to be made from crime, police have become the crooks. A piece by the editor detailing the large number of warnings received by the US government before the September 11 attacks, is, by itself, worth the price of the book.
I loved this book. Like its prequel "You Are Being Lied To", this book is full of information that will never be covered in the American news media. There is something here to upset or offend everyone. This book is extremely highly recommended.
This compilation of "Disinfo" challenging articles is varied and not directed toward any specific consensus other than the notion that various special interests manipulate information presented to the public for self-serving agendas. Some of the articles that challenge conventional views about social phenomena were very insightful, as was the section on the authoritarian socialist agenda guiding the educational system. The articles about political issues like 9-11 seemed rather short and could have dug deeper into these topics. Whether or not you agree with the various ideas expressed in this book you will find some things that challenge you to expand your views and understandings on some issues. Perhaps you will even take the time to research and explore some of the topics in greater depth in other sources. After all, if people made the effort to educate themselves and not rely on "experts" and "authorities" to tell them what to think then there might not be a need for a book that tells us "Everything You Know Is Wrong."
on June 9, 2003
Everything You Know Is Wrong is a blockbuster of a book which points up the glossing over, disinforming and secretizing of so much that is vital to the good life in America we all yearn for! As a woman of 83, I still remember times when this kind of power-over process was cruder and even more devastating to the body politic and to our dedication to the principles of genuine democracy.
Because the paradox is that BOTH the all-inclusiveness of disinformation AND our ability to see beyond it to its origin in special interests - as well as the general idiocy of the people who believe in our gullibility - have grown exponentially! I'm hoping to live long enough to see how the war on real democracy - and our own ability to win it! - comes out!
In the meanwhile, the article by my own favorite caped crusader, John Taylor Gatto, has the most amazingly compelling explanation of why and how we got to be this way - in terms of our public school system - that you'll ever run across! Get the book. And invite your kids' teachers to read it.