The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth in Bush's America

( 6 )


Demonstrating the candor and conviction that have made him one of our most trusted and incisive public voices, The New York Times columnist Frank Rich brilliantly and meticulously illuminates the Bush administration's disturbing love affair with 'truthiness.' Rich's step-by-step chronicle shows how, in the wake of 9/11, a propaganda president and his advisors misled a nation into war in Iraq and how the bungled aftermath, a Washington leak, and a devastating hurricane at long last revealed the lies in a story ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$12.02 price
(Save 19%)$15.00 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (125) from $1.99   
  • New (27) from $1.99   
  • Used (98) from $1.99   
The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth in Bush's America

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99 price


Demonstrating the candor and conviction that have made him one of our most trusted and incisive public voices, The New York Times columnist Frank Rich brilliantly and meticulously illuminates the Bush administration's disturbing love affair with 'truthiness.' Rich's step-by-step chronicle shows how, in the wake of 9/11, a propaganda president and his advisors misled a nation into war in Iraq and how the bungled aftermath, a Washington leak, and a devastating hurricane at long last revealed the lies in a story that had been so effectively sold to the nation as God-given patriotic fact.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
New York Times columnist Rich delivers a savaging sermon on the US government's "rampant cronyism, the empty sloganeering of 'compassionate conservativism,' the reckless lack of planning for all government operations except tax cuts"-and so much more. Anyone who knows his work will know that Rich is no fan of either George Bush, a man "not conversant with reality as most Americans had experienced it," or the Bush administration. In this blend of journalism and mentalites-style history-that is, the study of the mindsets that underlie and produce events-Rich looks closely and critically at the White House's greatest hits, from the 2001 defense of gas-guzzling as essential to the American way of life to "Heckuva job, Brownie" to the ongoing morass of Iraq. By Rich's account, of course, that parade of missteps is organic; Bush and company cannot help but err. In an effort to disguise that track record, the Republicans have exercised single-minded control of the grand narrative of the last five years, at least in part because they have exercised quasi-totalitarian control over the news media. (They are nearly forgotten already, but one needs to remember Judith Miller, Jeff Gannon, Karen Ryan and various columnists and commentators paid off to repeat the party line.) Not for nothing did a White House adviser reveal to one journalist that his bosses were set on creating their "own reality," one that all Americans were expected to share; not for nothing did that reality include spinning amazing lies about everything from the death of football- and war hero Pat Tillman to the kidnapping of Jessica Lynch to the government's preparedness for Katrina. And yet, and yet . . . Though theadministrationmay be remembered as the worst in American history, the people seem mostly silent. One wishes that Rich had explored that particular mentalite along with the others he so fluently discusses.
Library Journal
COMMJournalist Rich (New York Times; Ghost Light) also explores the Bush administration's sophisticated management of the media. His earlier career as a film and theater critic serves him well in his analysis of the staging of various presidential events such as Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech, delivered on the USS Abraham Lincoln after he landed a plane on its deck. Rich deconstructs the event, from the repainting of the plane, the timing at dusk--prized by cinematographers for its glow--and the echoing of popular movies like Top Gun. He sees the fabric of the Bush storytelling success now unraveling with the ongoing war in Iraq, the Valerie Plame CIA leak, and the Katrina disaster. The press and public are asking more questions about what's behind the curtain. Like Nunberg, Rich argues that truth has been replaced by the best story (what Stephen Colbert has coined "truthiness"). He is concerned about an American culture that embraces such "reality-remaking." The most engaging of these books; public and academic libraries will want to purchase. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
With a background in theater criticism, Rich easily spots the not-so-talented acting skills of Bush and his associates. Tracing the Bush administration through the last six years of subterfuge and spin, Rich succinctly articulates the numerous "fictional realities" that Bush has presented to his constituents. More importantly, he explains how the Bush machine so often and easily dupes the U.S. "infotainment culture." He theorizes that the ultimate goal of Bush and his cronies is to create a long-lasting Republican regime regardless of such annoyances as people, laws and democracy. Gardner perfectly executes the witty asides and tongue-in-cheek comments Rich sprinkles throughout. His edgy and distinct voice has a grip that keeps readers engaged in the text. He renders each word by starting softly and ending loudly with just a hint of nasal projection. His fluctuating pitch and decisive tone will grab seasoned listeners, but others might have to warm up to his distinct style. Aside from a few mispronunciations (including "yarmulke"), Gardner delivers the hard truths of this book in a performance that adds to its significance. Simultaneous release with the Penguin Press hardcover (Reviews, July 24). (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The New York Times
. . . the point of Rich's fine polemic is that the Bush administration has consistently lied about the reasons for going to war, about the way it was conducted and about the terrible consequences. Whatever the merits of removing a dictator, waging war under false pretenses is highly damaging to a democracy, especially when one of the ostensible aims is to spread democracy to others. If Rich is correct, which I think he is, the Bush administration has given hypocrisy a bad name.
—Ian Burma
The Washington Post
Many people who might have supported the Iraq war under different circumstances remained intractably opposed because they believed Bush hadn't proven that Baghdad was making nuclear weapons or working with al-Qaeda. They held this view because, among other reasons, in the months and years after 9/11, they were reading the smart, critical and blessedly spin-proof writings of Frank Rich.
&3151;David Greenberg
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143112341
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 406,918
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Frank Rich became a New York Times op-ed columnist in 1994 after serving for thirteen years as the newspaper's chief drama critic. He has written about culture and politics for many publications and was on the staff of Time, the New York Post, and New Times magazine after starting his career as a founding editor of The Richmond Mercury, a weekly newspaper, in the early 1970s. He is the author of Ghost Light, a childhood memoir; Hot Seat: Theater Criticism for The New York Times, 1980- 1993; and The Theatre Art of Boris Aronson, coauthored with Lisa Aronson. A native of Washington, D.C., he lives in Manhattan with his wife, the author Alex Witchel, who is a reporter for The New York Times.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction     1
Making the Sale
"Home to the Heartland"     7
"Dead or alive"     21
"I don't think anybody could have predicted..."     42
"You don't introduce new products in August"     56
"Mission Accomplished"     73
Buyer's Remorse
"We found the weapons of mass destruction"     95
"Slam dunk"     112
"Reporting for duty"     132
"When we act, we create our own reality"     153
"I don't think anybody anticipated..."     177
Epilogue: The Greatest Story Ever Sold     206
What the White House Knew and When It Knew It: Time Lines of the Selling of the War     227
Acknowledgments     311
Notes     313
Index     331
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2008

    Excellent study of Bush's claims about Iraq

    Frank Rich, a New York Times columnist, shows how Bush sold the Iraq war to the American people, and then how reality hit back. He follows the media trail and the Bush administration¿s endless efforts to dominate the media. He shows how, for example, Bush personally authorised the leaking of classified information about pre-war intelligence. Also, twenty federal agencies made and distributed hundreds of fake news segments, complete with pretend independent reporters, like the fictional accounts of Pat Tillman¿s death and of Jessica Lynch¿s capture and release. This was covert propaganda, supposedly illegal in the USA. In Britain, we had similar fictions about the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station. Rich studies the USA¿s political culture, particularly its servile mass media. TV news programmes showed war without wounds and routinely assumed that opponents of the war were unpatriotic. The President¿s Daily Brief ten days after 9/11 told him that there was no evidence that Iraq had a role in the attacks, and `scant credible evidence¿ of Iraq-Al Qa¿ida links. Everyone but Blair told him that Iraq had no nuclear capabilities and had never tried to buy uranium from Niger. This didn¿t stop Bush lying the USA into an unnecessary war, lying that Iraq had links to Al Qa¿ida, lying that Iraq had nuclear capabilities and lying that it had tried to buy uranium from Niger. The Blair government echoed the lies. Further, Rich reveals that in a January 2003 meeting with Blair, Bush suggested faking an incident to provoke Iraq into firing on a U-2 plane painted in UN colours. Also, Blair agreed with Bush that during the future occupation of Iraq it was ¿unlikely there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups.¿ Now the US state lies that only Al Qa¿ida terrorists oppose the occupation, when a US National Intelligence Estimate concluded that the insurgency is home-grown and thrives on general resentment of the occupation.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 28, 2011

    Excellent reporting!

    Frank Rich gives a very detailed and insightful account of the Bush-Cheney Administration's shameless propaganda campaign to justify their invasion of Iraq. Additionally, his account of the illegal disclosure of Valerie Plame's role as a CIA operative was excellent, but with one shortcoming: Mr. Rich glossed over Plame's actual role in the decision to send her husband, Joe Wilson, to Africa to investigate the claim that Saddam attempted to purchase yellow cake uranium from Niger. Her only involvement in that trip was informing her bosses that Wilson had firsthand experience with the government in Niger.

    I also found it both curious and disappointing that in his discussion of Hurricane Katrina, Rich omitted inclusion of Bush's stopover in Arizona to attend a birthday party for Sen. John McCain en route to his return to DC to address the hurricane. That trip was further evidence of the President's lack of concern for the lives of the residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

    Perhaps the most valuable part of this book was the appendix which laid out the timeline regarding the invasion of Iraq. It proved that VP Cheney continued to lie to the media and the American people even after the statements concerning Saddam and the WMD's and the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda were exposed as lies.

    Thanks, Mr. Rich for a job well done!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2012

    Excellent book

    This book should be required reading before anyone is allowed to vote. This country should NEVER AGAIN let the cretins of the right wing into power. Bush and his puppet master Cheney almost destroyed this country with their evil lies and greed. NEVER AGAIN.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 9, 2011

    Left-Wing Lunacy, Paranoia & Lies

    Complete rubbish. If you're the sort of drooling imbecile who suffers from Bush Derangement Syndrome (the compulsive need to blame Bush for every bad thing that ever happened during his presidency), and if you think that putting lies into print makes them any less false, then perhaps you will enjoy having this two-bit hack echo your paranoid delusions for you. If, on the other hand, you actually have a functioning brain in your skull, then move along and leave this garbage for the 9-11 "Truthers" and their ilk.

    1 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)