Hoax: Why Americans are Suckered by White House Lies (Nation Books)

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9781560255826: Hoax: Why Americans are Suckered by White House Lies (Nation Books)

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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From 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

American gullibility for the images painted by our presidents made us vulnerable to the Bush administration's campaign to invade Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction and to bring down Saddam Hussein, despite the fact that neither were related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to acclaimed columnist von Hoffman. Furthermore, the "big lie" and the general duping of America have isolated us from the rest of the world, reinforcing the notion that we live in our own private biosphere. While Europe, Asia, Africa, and the remainder of the American continent question our actions and motives, we act with the strongest of convictions and military might, which make us a danger to ourselves and other nations, according to von Hoffman. The U.S. longs for Pax Americana, or world supervision by the U.S., "under which mankind thrives in amity and free trade." Some readers may find von Hoffman's scathing observations of American foreign policy harsh, others will see them as exactly on target, but all will find them provocative. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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