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Hippo Eats Dwarf: A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S. Paperback – April 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1st edition (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156030837
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156030830
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hoaxes are but one tile in the vast mosaic of mis- and disinformation detailed in this delicious compendium of fakery. The ones that Boese offers are a far cry from the classic deceptions spotlighted in his previous The Museum of Hoaxes; they're mainly smirky Internet pranks, like a fake CNN.com news report that fellatio protects against breast cancer. But Boese finds inexhaustible fodder for his theme of the ubiquitous fakery of modern life, including Enron-style business scams, lip-synching scandals, artificial flavors, mislabeled meats, doctored photos, covert marketing campaigns, celebrity plastic surgery and denials of surgery, breast implants, and that oldest of ruses, the fake orgasm. He also covers a smattering of conspiracy theories—from perennials like subliminal advertising and the "Paul is dead" rumor, to a recent Sudanese panic he dubs the "penis-melting Zionist robot comb"—proving that we are at our most gullible when we are most suspicious. Boese wittily tracks down the leads to establish the truth or—usually—falsehood behind the facade, and sprinkles in handy "Reality Rules" to bolster readers' defenses against nonsense, the most pertinent of which is, "[j]ust because you read it on the Internet doesn't mean it's true." Photos. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

From the author of the entertaining Museum of Hoaxes (2002) comes an even more entertaining follow-up. The book is a reasonably thorough, not to mention playful, guide to fakery. Advertising posing as legitimate news stories, nonexistent movie reviewers, fraudulent sales pitches, reality television, imaginary Internet bloggers, phony celebrities--they're all here, and plenty more, too. The book also features a series of "reality rules" (#5.2: should a suitably dramatic picture of a major event not exist, one will be created) and several "case files" that use real stories to illustrate various kinds of fakery (like the professor who fell for the Nigerian bank scam). Boese, a self--described "hoaxpert," keeps us on our toes by slipping in real-but-improbable events among the fakes and challenging us to see if we can tell the difference. All too often it's impossible to know whether something he describes is bona fide or bogus, and that's Boese's point: we need to stay on our toes, if we want to avoid getting fooled. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Born in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Grew up in London and Washington DC. Graduated from Amherst College, and gained a Master's Degree in the History of Science from the University of California, San Diego.

Customer Reviews

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The book is well paced, and very entertaining.
Craig Maloney
I know that this book will help bring about a change in anyone who reads it.
If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In "Hippo Eats Dwarf" Alex Boese takes on a variety of hoaxes, frauds, distortions, and misconceptions that are to a large degree enabled by the Internet. I liked the book, but found it wandered off track on occasion. Most annoying, I found it physically difficult to read. In addition to standard black on white type, there is an abundance of brown and green which are distracting at best but when brown type appears on green background, which is quite common, it's fairly tedious to read.

That is likely not a decision Boese made, but the content is, and it's mostly good though some of the text is less hoax-debunking and more straight humor. My favorite example is the personal ad from the "Dublin News" reading "Optimistic Mayo man, 35, seeks a blonde 20-year-old double-jointed supermodel, who owns her own brewery, and has an open-minded sister." I was highly amused, although most people are sly enough not to need the questionable nature of the ad pointed out. I was also entertained by the prank product found online called the "Real Sheep" that it involves silicone and is listed as a romance product. That is all that need be said.

The real value of the book (besides entertainment, obviously) is in showing how easy it is to deceive people using fake Internet sites, elaborate schemes (and some fairly obvious ones, such as the famous Nigerian banking scam,) and digital photograph alteration. On that basis alone I found the book worth the purchase price. Frequently Boese punctuates points with outlandish true tales, my favorite of which involves the Klingon translation of "Hamlet." Really.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Charybdis on March 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
Honestly, this book is far and away the worst book I've ever had the misfortune to kill someone with. It's construction is amatuerish in the extreme, for instance after only two blows the spine cracked and the pages started falling out. Honestly, I actually had to resort to using a bat to finish the bastard off, which tells me there are much better uses for trees than printing books such as this. Save yourself some money and purchase something by Robert Jordan instead. Those are some hefty, well crafted books that will endure hours of family violence. Hell, even if the repeated blows don't finish them off you can always resort to reading the damn thing to them, but that's a bit inhumane.
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25 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Hippo on March 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
While I admit that the recipes in this volume can be daring, absolutely no guidance is provided as to the initial preparation of the dwarf, or any hints as to where to procure one in the first place.

Also, would it kill the author (or authors - really, how obvious a suedo... psuden... soodoen... fake name is "Alex Boese"?) to provide some suggestions for side dishes? "Herbed Roast Dwarf With Spiced Applesauce" is all well and good, but what sort of vegetable should I serve with the dish? What bread? Not even a wine suggestion!

Not recommended.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty on April 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
Sometimes it's necessary to just read for the sheer fun of it. And that often means to read something funny. While I spend most of my waking hours in serious pursuits (thinking within the realms of philosophy, science, religion, history, et al), it becomes imperative, now and then, to loosen up and simply enjoy immersing oneself in a book which has absolutely no social-redeeming value but offers lighter fare (not to mention "enlightening" fare) and lots of things "off the wall." And that is exactly what Alex Boese's book "Hippo Eats Dwarf" does (subtitled "A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S."). It is not earth-shattering. It is not about cosmic matters. It is not going to change the world. It is just pure entertainment; a combination of trivia and humor, providing some interesting "facts" about and insights into the wide world of misinformation which challenges all of us today.

The above really means I do recommend this book for everyone's personal library, if for no other reason that, once read and/or consulted, you'll be in the "know." And, believe me, in our culture today, that's important. Or, on the other hand, I could just recommend it because it's a fun read. It's easy for me to do this because I'm a trivia addict and "news junkie" -- always have been from my tender years. As a "news junkie" I've been in 12-step programs and psychotherapy for years, but so far it's not working (if I don't get my daily dose of news, I go into withdrawal -- there is no "cure" -- and I'm seriously considering asking "The New York Times" to allow me to set up a hospital bed in its newsroom).

As to "trivia," my library is full of books about that sort of thing. I recently purchased a copy of "The Encyclopedia of American Radio." I love it!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Downs on March 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Translated from the original German, this testament has a few inaccuracies which lead to some confusion (and thus the title), but for the most part it can be followed by the faithful as a devotional and spiritual guide (which is it's true purpose after all).

Alex Boese has transformed his knowledge of hoax and deception into an inspirational message of peace and love through the very vehicle which he so eloquently debunks in one paragraph and utilizes for his missive within that very same paragraph. An adept wordsmith, interlacing scripture with text in a seamless series of lessons meant to raise awareness and spark enlightened to what shall surely become comme il faut.

I found myself becoming morbidly fascinated by the number of subtly prophetic insights Alex injected into this manuscript. The numerous animal references obviously point out that we should all be more open minded about our relationships with animals and the expression of our feelings in a more romantic fashion without fear of ridicule or judgement by the less enlightened masses, and yet there are certain prohibitions which are to be observed in order to preserve the decorum of this most sacred act. A less astute writer would have missed this fine point and mislead his readers. There is also the interjection of the need for the reader to proclaim their allegiance to this religion and modify their behavior in such a way as to lead the masses into a new age of enlightenment. This IS truly a field guide to hoaxes, BUT what is written between the lines is that which we must all follow: The prescription laid out in this tome to create a new utopia, through guile and deception, as the "ends justify the means".
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