Hoax: Why Americans Are Suckered by White House Lies

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How is it that the majority of Americans believed the fabrications of the Bush administration in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq when people in other countries, even those who enlisted in "the coalition of the willing," didn't buy them? Something has happened here and nowhere else, argues provocateur and gadfly Nicholas von Hoffman. It is something that impels vast numbers of Americans to believe the unbelievable when served up by its war-loving government. Best-selling author von Hoffman reveals how the ...
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Overview


How is it that the majority of Americans believed the fabrications of the Bush administration in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq when people in other countries, even those who enlisted in "the coalition of the willing," didn't buy them? Something has happened here and nowhere else, argues provocateur and gadfly Nicholas von Hoffman. It is something that impels vast numbers of Americans to believe the unbelievable when served up by its war-loving government. Best-selling author von Hoffman reveals how the American people have been gulled into cheering for a gigantic hoax by the Bush administration. "It happened because America has manufactured its own reality. A dome has slipped over the country, turning the nation into a unique biosphere which causes Americans to see, hear, and interpret every event and each happenstance as no other people do. Poisoned by recycled, unrefreshed air, Americans think differently." Hoax is both an impassioned exploration of American propaganda and public opinion, and an urgent dissection of our culture and way of life.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the spate of post-Iraq War books, Von Hoffman's tirade is a smart, elegant standout. A columnist for the New York Observer (and author of several books, including Citizen Cohn), Von Hoffman argues that U.S. citizens have been willingly hoaxed into supporting America's foreign policies, most egregiously the recent invasion of Iraq. Von Hoffman employs the metaphor of a giant dome or biosphere that shields America and causes its people to interpret world events in uniquely American terms ("Nations are often imbued with the belief that they are special, but the American credo is that the US is special-special"). Instead of poll data and statistics, Von Hoffman relies on subtle, nuanced cultural analyses to examine the peculiarity of America's hermetic view of itself. A unique confluence of ideology, religion, culture, economics and history has, he says, settled Americans in a belief that its government does little wrong and certainly a lot more right than many other governments. Von Hoffman points to an array of factors for this belief, notably an almost secular faith in "manifest destiny" and the morality of democracy, media that act as a collective handmaiden to government action, and a smugness that hatred of the U.S. is simply born of envy of American wealth. While Von Hoffman's metaphors and histrionics are better suited to the polemical necessities of a newspaper column, this book is a worthy contribution to postwar annals. The author's informed, unblinking critique of America may not be palatable to the blindly patriotic, but it will resonate for those who question many of the Bush administration's decisions. Agent, Mary Evans. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A full charge of liberal birdshot, aimed and fired at the broad side of the barn-or, better, White House. George Bush's recent adventure in Iraq is, Washington Post columnist von Hoffman (Capitalist Fools, 1992, etc.) asserts, a classic con game: "There was the bait (terrorism), then the switch (weapons of mass destruction), then a switch again (kill the dictator), and yet again (regime change)." As with any con, the perpetrator has to be either damn good at the game or have a particularly stupid victim in tow; von Hoffman does not dwell unseemly long on the second possibility, though he does reckon that the US differs from the bygone USSR only by lagging behind 40 years: Americans, he writes, "may not drink vodka, but add up the drunks and the Americans stoned on prescription drugs and recreational substances, and what percentage of the USA's population is perpetually intoxicated? Thirty? Forty? But no Chernobyl, just blackouts." The side widens, the shot scatters: here von Hoffman likens American forces' arrival in Baghdad to "Adolf Hitler's waltz into the Rhineland in 1936," a woefully sloppy analogy; there he lampoons Bush's famous-or infamous, depending on your point of view-descent onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, "bowlegged from his oversized cod piece, proclaiming the end of a war which was never fought to seize a cache of weapons of mass destruction which didn't exist"; here he picks on poor George M. Cohan for supplying "pathological patriotism with a hymnal full of danceable, singable songs"; there he sneaks in a dig at modern America's allergy to facts or critical thinking. Occasionally the author hits a target: he's right in wondering why we went after Manuel Noriegaway back when, right in recalling that our long embargo on Iraq caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of blameless children, right in pointing out the US's infantile need to be loved and applauded by other nations. But the delivery, a careless sermon to the choir, will not convince those most in need of convincing. A shame: von Hoffman's done much better.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560255826
  • Publisher: Nation Books
  • Publication date: 6/9/2004
  • Series: Nation Books
  • Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
  • Pages: 195
  • Product dimensions: 5.08 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Table of Contents

1. The Big Lie 1
2. Desert Mirage 11
3. The American Biosphere 17
4. That City on That Hill 23
5. Flag Waving 33
6. Democracies Are Always in the Right 45
7. America Will Never Be the First to Use the Bomb 49
8. A Pax Americana on Us All 61
9. Hitler 69
10. Conversation Stiflers 73
11. Tassels on the Fringe 79
12. They Lie ... Sometimes 89
13. War Whores 99
14. Missionaries 109
15. Why Do They Hate Us? 123
16. Unconditional Surrender 129
17. Self Portrait 135
18. Terrorism 141
19. Conspiracy 151
20. Les Arabes 153
21. Mooslims 161
22. Hoax 175
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