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Bunk : the rise of hoaxes, humbug, plagiarists, phonies, post-facts, and fake news

Author: Kevin Young
Publisher: Minneapolis, Minnesota : Graywolf Press, [2017] ©2017
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Award-winning poet and critic Kevin Young traces the history of the hoax as a peculiarly American phenomenon--the legacy of P.T. Barnum's 'humbug' culminating with the currency of Donald J. Trump's 'fake news'. Disturbingly, Young finds that fakery is woven from stereotype and suspicion, with race being the most insidious American hoax of all. He chronicles how Barnum came to fame by displaying figures like Joice  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Kevin Young
ISBN: 9781555977917 155597791X
OCLC Number: 965739583
Description: 560 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Book one: A history of the hoax. The American museum: on the madness of crowds.The age of imposture. Humbug ; P.T. Barnum ; Matthias the prophet ; The moon hoax ; Poe ; Tales --
The freaks of Dame Fortune. Joice Heth ; The mummy ; The mammy ; What is it? ; The Circassian beauty--
Splitfoot. Spiritualism ; William H. Mumler ; The Fox sisters ; Spirit photography ; Heaven tourism ; The Cottingley fairy hoax ; Arthur Conan Doyle --
Bearded ladies. The Lincoln letters ; The "Dreadnought" hoax ; George Psalmanazar ; Girl wonders ; Opal Whiteley ; Joan Lowell ; Travel liars --
Neverland: on race & other popular delusions. Cowboys & aliens. Pornographies ; Imaginary Indians ; Grey Owl ; Nasdijj --
Blood nation. Memoir ; James Frey ; Margaret B. Jones ; Little Tree ; Captivity ; Poetic license --
Lost boys. Faction ; Forbidden love ; Three cups of tea ; Gay girl in Damascus ; Mutant message down under --
The time machine. Lost races ; Professor Agassiz ; Dr. Moreau ; Degeneration ; Miscegenation ; War of the worlds ; Piltdown man ; The Cardiff giant ; The Tasaday --
Mysteria: a sideshow. The heart is deceitful. JT LeRoy ; Lance Armstrong ; Laura Albert ; Sybil ; Anthony Godby Johnson ; Hysteria --
Eve Black. Eve White ; South Virginia ; Avatar ; Millennialism --
Book two: The hoaxing of history. The vampire's mirror: of imposture, forgery & monsters. Butterfly books. Frankensteins ; Frederic Prokosch ; Lily ; Thomas Wise ; Major Bryon ; Voices --
Spruce Goose. The Hitler diaries ; The autobiography of Howard Hughes ; Can you ever forgive me? ; Fake! ; Elmyr --
Bakelite. Han Van Meegeren ; The Hitler diaries ; Jerzy Kosinski --
The vampire's wife. The painted bird ; Binjamin Wilkomirski ; Laura Grabowski ; Autofiction --
Hack heaven: of the journalist & liar. Glass ceilings. The new narrative ; Ravi Desai ; The New Republic ; Ern Malley ; Ruth Shalit ; Stephen Glass ; The journalist & the murderer --
The gingerbread man. Taxis & the meaning of work ; Kae Bang --
In bad blood. Susan Smith ; Brutal imagination ; The Washington Post ; Jimmy's world ; Ben's world ; Volunteer slavery --
Burning down. The New York Times ; Jayson Blair ; Michael Finkel ; The truth --
Unoriginal sin: on plagiary, murder, bad poetry & other crimes. Blacker than thou. Rachel Dolezal --
Professor plum. Plagiary ; Clark Rockefeller ; Gatsby --
Ghostbusters. Kaavya Viswanathan ; Opal Mehta ; Adam Wheeler ; William-Henry Ireland --
Michael Brown's body. Trumpism ; The ecstasy influence ; Conceptual poetry ; Lynching ; Christian Ward ; Brad Vice --
Coda: The age of euphemism.
Other Titles: Rise of hoaxes, humbug, plagiarists, phonies, post-facts, and fake news
Responsibility: Kevin Young.

Abstract:

"Award-winning poet and critic Kevin Young traces the history of the hoax as a peculiarly American phenomenon--the legacy of P.T. Barnum's 'humbug' culminating with the currency of Donald J. Trump's 'fake news'. Disturbingly, Young finds that fakery is woven from stereotype and suspicion, with 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 like Nasdijj to the deadly imposture of Clark Rockefeller, from the made-up memoirs of James Frey to the identity theft of Rachel Dolezal. This brilliant and timely work 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."--Dust jacket flap.

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