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Everything You Know Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Secrets and Lies Paperback – June 1, 2002
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From Library Journal
From the people who brought us You Are Being Lied To, here is another engrossing and infuriating compilation of muckraking articles, expos s, and provocative claims. Some of the pieces in the book are very timely: an assertion that the government had advance warning of the September 11 terrorist attacks, reports of additional gunmen at Columbine High School, and additional details on Senator Bob Kerrey's actions in Vietnam. Most of the articles were written for this volume, though some appeared previously in reputable magazines and journals (e.g., the Village Voice, Toronto Globe & Mail, and Journal of Medical Ethics). Not all the pieces deal with political issues; readers will find a wide range of social ("Mad Cow Disease"), financial ("World Bank and the WTO"), and cultural topics. A few familiar names appear among the contributors (Howard Zinn, Paul Krassner), but most are investigative reporters not well known to the public. This contrarian collection will attract a diverse readership from conspiracy nuts to academics and is recommended for most public libraries. Thomas A. Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, PA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Even if you just check it out from the library, you owe it to yourself to read it." -- Movement (Jacksonville, FL), May 2002
"It's a great read." -- Jane Magazine, August 2002
"Much of it will shock your sensibilities. It's mindboggling stuff. But read it you should." -- Discourse & Disclosure, Summer 2002
"The kind of book you want to buy and give to everyone you know" -- Rain Taxi Summer 2002
"These stories can be scary" -- Seven Magazine, July 2002
"This book could change the way you process information. This book could actually make you smarter." -- Tacoma Reporter, July 25, 2002
"[A] fun and compelling read" -- Enter Stage Right, June 2002
"[A]nother engrossing and infuriating compilation of muckraking articles, exposes, and provocative claims ... recommended for most public libraries." -- Library Journal
"a bracing collection of contrarian articles covering a broad spectrum of subjects" -- The Guardian, October 5, 2002
"bold and brash and just a little bit frightening, irregardless of which side of the political center readers find themselves" -- The Boox Review, July 10, 2002
Top customer reviews
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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.
Other reviewers (for both books) have already made note of some of the more severe errors contained within. Articles about human psychology and medicine, in particular, are at fault; for the most part, the authors of the articles do not cite any scholarly texts or actual scientific studies. Sure, you could be a paranoid nut and claim that they are refusing to cite credible sources because "those sources are evil, man, and they're giving us the wrong information!" But you'd be a paranoid nut, and that's usually not a good thing. The way it works in the real world is this: if you want to prove something, such as the effectiveness of an herbal treatment for cancer, then you need to test your hypothesis many times and show to us that your success can be replicated by anybody. You can't just make wild claims and then pretend they're true just because you're being rebellious and sticking it to The Man. I tried that game in high school and it didn't work---that's why I have to calm down and prove my points in rational, correct ways.
What is so offensive to me about these books is that they go to such a great effort to make themselves seem important and credible. They assert themselves as being the one voice in our world that you can trust. This is a dangerous thing to read---particularly when many of the articles are based on speculation, anecdotal evidence (always a terrible sign), and simple opinion.
This book, and its partner, are an example of why the first amendment does need some limits. Simply put, everything about these two titles is full of false advertising and empty promises. You are trying to read them to find out the truth about the world, and instead you just get a bunch of disorganized half-truths, lies, and ramblings that end up doing more damage than they do good.
I would go so far as to say that this book is dangerous. Believing certain things can be detrimental to one's physical and mental health---or even deadly. Do yourself a favor and avoid this title, no matter how delightfully controversial it may appear to be.
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.