Bunk: The True Story of Hoaxes, Hucksters, Humbug, Plagiarists, Forgeries, and Phonies

Bunk: The True Story of Hoaxes, Hucksters, Humbug, Plagiarists, Forgeries, and Phonies

Has the hoax now moved from the sideshow to take the center stage of American culture? Award-winning poet and critic Kevin Young tours us through a rogue s gallery of hoaxers, plagiarists, forgers, and fakers from the humbug of P. T. Barnum and Edgar Allan Poe to the unrepentant bunk of JT LeRoy and Donald J. Trump. Bunk traces the history of the hoax as a peculiarly Americ Has the hoax now moved from the sideshow to take the center stage of American culture? Award-winning poet and crit...

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Title:Bunk: The True Story of Hoaxes, Hucksters, Humbug, Plagiarists, Forgeries, and Phonies
Author:Kevin Young
Rating:
Genres:History
ISBN:155597791X
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:560 pages pages

Bunk: The True Story of Hoaxes, Hucksters, Humbug, Plagiarists, Forgeries, and Phonies Reviews

  • Dan
    Jan 22, 2018
    This is a dense read, but Young does excellent research throughout. He's a poet by nature so his prose and style of writing can be all over the place, but he finds ways to weave smaller examples and stories into his larger points. The chapters on Stephen Glass, Jayson Blair, and JT LeR...
  • Audacia Ray
    Dec 16, 2017
    Kevin Young?s book is an exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) chronicle of the American history of hoaxing. He details many, many hoaxes and highlights the racist dimensions embedded in many of them - because the history of American bad behavior is always a history of racism. The bo...
  • Kelley
    Jul 04, 2018
    Couldn?t make it past page 50. Compelling and interesting topic, but the writing style wasn?t for me. Took me almost a month to do those 50 pages. Kept picking it up then putting it down. Bummer. This was our July NF book club pick and almost everyone has voted to toss this one. ...
  • Rob
    Aug 14, 2018
    Yes, it's a bit blathery and repetitive and he's sometimes not as plainspoken as he ought to be ... but this book is still dynamite, loaded with fascinating analysis and insight. Bunk is what our society deserves for caring so little about the truth. ...
  • Mike
    Nov 23, 2017
    Our critical faculties seem neutralized by the lie we are ready to swallow. Bradlee said it: Beware of the lie you want to believe. The old ones are funny; the current ones are terrifying. ...
  • Peter Landau
    May 16, 2018
    America's fetish is having the wool pulled over its eyes. We love it. Kevin Young?s exhaustive study BUNK: THE TRUE STORY OF HOAXES, HUCKSTERS, HUMBUG, PLAGIARISTS, FORGERIES AND PHONIES begins with the more benign Barnum and ends with Trump, the real cancer on the presidency. In-bet...
  • Kathleen
    Sep 25, 2017
    My review for the Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifesty... Most people probably know that the word ?bunk? is short for ?bunkum,? meaning insincere talk, claptrap or humbug. Fewer people are likely familiar with the word?s etymology, coined out of racia...
  • SibylM
    Mar 05, 2018
    3.5 stars ...
  • Tony
    Dec 24, 2017
    BUNK: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News. (2017). Kevin Young. ***1/2. I have to admit up-front that I did a lot of skimming while reading this book. It was not that the book was poorly written or uninteresting, instead, it was caused by the d...
  • Simone
    Jul 09, 2018
    I realized (after renewing the book several times) that my best shot at finishing this was as an audiobook. Unfortunately, my library only had it available through Hoopla instead of Overdrive, and I did not really care for the narrator. Still, I pushed through all 20 hours of this,...
  • David
    Jan 26, 2018
    Required reading for anyone who reads critically, writes for publication and/or academic credit, or creates in any artistic genre and performs/exhibits her work for public audiences. ...
  • Jennifer
    Jan 14, 2018
    Kevin Young recounts a history of hoaxes in the United States from P. T. Barnum to the present day, delving deep to look at ways in which hoaxers have influenced events, ideas, and even society as a whole. It's a thoughtful, complex book, one that often points out hoaxes which reinforc...
  • Leo Walsh
    Jul 11, 2018
    A super-detailed and super interesting look into the history of bunk, confidence men, hoaxes and hokum. Young starts with P.T. Branum, who's famous quote sums up hoaxers at their best: "Every crowd has a silver lining." Get it? It's a clever, rhyming re-wording of an old wives tale...
  • Paul
    Jun 01, 2018
    I decided to give up on this after a few chapters. There are a few interesting tid-bits, but this primarily feels like a book that re-interprets all hoaxes through the lens of race relations, which was not really what I signed up for, and doesn't seem amazingly elegantly done, to be ho...
  • Jason Diamond
    Nov 20, 2017
    A masterpiece. How do you get this into the hands of every high school student? ...
  • Neil Griffin
    Jan 27, 2018
    This is one of my favorite non-fiction books I've read in the past few years. It advances an original thesis about hoaxes, one which had been sitting in front of my face my whole life but I'd never really thought of, and elucidates it through entertaining examples and very impressive p...
  • Russell Fox
    Jan 15, 2018
    Kevin Young's Bunk isn't, itself, "bunk," but there is a whole lot of posing and pretense in this long, ruminative, and ultimately unsatisfying study of "hoaxes, humbug, plagiarism, phonies, post-facts, and fake news." Young is a poet, and so very often he gets caught away in waxing cl...
  • Andre
    Jan 14, 2018
    I know it?s not a good way to start a new year, but I couldn?t maintain a consistent interest in reading this book. I was initially interested in learning about hoaxes, humbugs and such, but the dense ness of the material along with the bland presentation left me sapped Of energy a...
  • Stephanie
    Jun 04, 2017
    Fascinating (and possibly reassuring) look at the American history of faking it when it comes to information. Definitely not for the casual reader -- the book is dense, full of footnotes, and delves deep -- it is nevertheless quite a ride into the unbelievable. ...
  • Christopher Saunders
    Jan 31, 2018
    Kevin Young's Bunk is an engaging, exhaustive, if somewhat overdone look at the history of American hoaxes and frauds. The book's scope and breadth are commendable; rather than the expected catalog of deceit and misdeeds, Young manages to weave a narrative from incidents as disparate a...
  • Samantha
    Jan 25, 2018
    3.75 stars. A lot of mixed feelings here, but reading this was overall a very positive, thought-provoking experience. There is so much research here about the history of hoaxes, and the (not) surprising thing is how much all the fakery is steeped in race and racism. That this book look...
  • Peter Mcloughlin
    Jan 21, 2018
    Kaleidoscopic and wide-ranging but also rambling and unfocused. Young makes a myriad number of points and passing observations about hoaxes, race, history, otherness, conmen, hoaxing, default attitudes in America and elsewhere that play into hoaxers who tell us a story tailored to our ...
  • Nathan Dehoff
    Feb 25, 2018
    This was a Christmas present that I just finished reading, and it's a fascinating read, but kind of all over the place in what it covers. That's not really bad, but it makes it difficult to sum up the whole thing. Young comments on various hoaxes throughout history, starting in the tim...
  • Lance
    Mar 12, 2018
    I really wanted to like this book. It seemed like something George Carlin might write if he had the inclination to become a conventional scholar rather than a stand-up comedian. But the more I read the book, the more aggravated I became. The book is split between insightful commentary ...
  • Karin
    Jul 29, 2018
    While the writing can be meandering and confusing at first glance, stick with this and dig in. This is one of the more original books I've read in some time. "You could go so far as to say the hoax is racism's native tongue. They both are things that don't really exist but stay with ...
  • Greg
    Mar 14, 2018
    Hoaxes are "like porn: the goal of the hoax is to see just how long you can keep it up" writes Young. The author takes an encyclopedic approach (often long and dry passages) and gives us a catalogue of the biggest and best hoaxes ever: in other words, the ones we liked most. If you're ...
  • Grace Tenkay
    Nov 25, 2017
    History, written in a fairly entertaining way. ...
  • Jazz Fan
    Mar 12, 2018
    This was good, but too detailed. Exhaustive and thorough, I'll give it that. I give it four stars, could have been a five star with better editing. ...
  • Kathleen
    Apr 30, 2018
    National Book Award for Nonfiction Longlist (2017). I want a gold star for finishing this book! It is written in what the Washington Post calls a ?knotted, clotted style?. He seeks to include an almost encyclopedic litany of hoaxes starting with P.T. Barnum?s display of Joice Hea...
  • Jon Pentecost
    Dec 25, 2017
    This book is a hoax. Or more properly, a humbug. A humbug was one of those circus sideshows (like a Feejee Mermaid, a missing link that was actually a black man from Chicago with his hair done strangely, or alien remains that were actually a cow fetus). A humbug claimed to be somethin...