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The Invention of Russia: The Rise of Putin and the Age of Fake News Kindle Edition
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Mr. Ostrovsky's writing is elegantly dense and easy to read. The book imparts sobering lessons for all of us especially in today's burgeoning social media world. It's important to read this book in the era of President Donald J. Trump when truth, lies and misinformation are so disturbingly challenging to discern.
Mr. Ostrovsky observes:
"Television images work like drugs, creating a sense of elation, destroying judgment and intelligence, lowering moral barriers and suppressing inhibitions and fear. No enemy of Russia could have caused as much harm to the country as has been inflicted by those who have been pumping these images into the bloodstream of the nation.
Just like any drug, television propaganda exploits people's weaknesses and cravings."
Interestingly, Mr. Ostrovsky also notes:
"To anyone who grew up in the Soviet Union, [President Donald J.] Trump comes across as a Soviet caricature of the hateful American imperialist: boastful, ignorant, awash with gold. He is a perfect Mister Twister--a character from the 1933 satirical poem about an ugly American racist capitalist. Yet it is precisely this image that makes him so attractive to the Kremlin's propagandists. They present his election as an important step in an ongoing global fight against their new enemy, liberalism. This war continues in Europe."
One criticism I have of this book is that the subtitle "The Age of Fake News" is misleading because it conveys the misconception that the book discusses how the Russian meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Perhaps Mr. Ostrovsky can write about that in a future book.