Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News - Kevin Young

Staff Pick

As Kevin Young says in Bunk (Graywolf, $30), and as everyone is now all too aware, we are living in a “golden age of the hoax: the supposed age of information.” But this book is much more than a treatise on the “fake news” in the subtitle. It covers centuries of fakery, cataloged with a sense for detail and implication that showcases Young’s literary gifts—he’s a poet and critic who currently serves as poetry editor for The New Yorker. His stylistic flair only adds to the meaning of the book: thorough historical treatments on the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, P. T. Barnum’s freak shows, and “caught on film” fairies all forecast some very evidently personal treatments of contemporary hoaxers like Lance Armstrong, JT LeRoy, and Rachel Dolezal. This is a maximalist approach that takes on some deeply provocative recurring threads: namely, how racial hierarchies creep up as the unspoken root of so many hoaxes, and what separates artifice that’s presented as fiction or satire from something that’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes, no matter how benign and inventive it might seem. This is the kind of mammoth book you might never get to the bottom of, and that’s why it already feels like a landmark that will be studied for years. 

Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781555977917
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - November 14th, 2017

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