When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and Its Consequences

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Viking, 2004 - Political Science - 447 pages
5 Reviews
Lying has become pervasive in American life—but what happens when the falsehoods are perpetrated by the Oval Office? As the lies told by our government become more and more intricate, they begin to weave a tapestry of deception that creates problems far larger than those lied about in the first place.

Eric Alterman’s When Presidents Lieis a compelling historical examination of four specific post-World War II presidential lies whose consequences were greater than could ever have been predicted. FDR told the American people that peace was secure in Europe, setting the stage for McCarthyism and the cold war. John F. Kennedy’s unyielding stance during the Cuban missile crisis masked his secret deal with the Soviet Union. Misrepresented aggression at the Gulf of Tonkin by the North Vietnamese gave LBJ the power to start a war. Finally, Ronald Reagan’s Central American wars ended in the ignominy of the Iran-contra scandal.

In light of George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, which Alterman examines in the book’s conclusion, When Presidents Lieis a warning—one more relevant today than ever before—that the only way to prevent these lies is America’s collective demand for truth.

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Review: When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and Its Consequences

User Review  - Andrew Johnston - Goodreads

A dense read, but an interesting one. "All politicians lie" is just a joke to most people, but Alterman demonstrates how tragically true it really is. Definitely not for anyone who wants to maintain any degree of trust in our government. Read full review

Review: When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and Its Consequences

User Review  - Goodreads

A dense read, but an interesting one. "All politicians lie" is just a joke to most people, but Alterman demonstrates how tragically true it really is. Definitely not for anyone who wants to maintain any degree of trust in our government. Read full review

Contents

On Lies Personal and Presidential
1
Franklin D Roosevelt Harry S Truman
23
John F Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis
90
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Eric Alterman is the “Stop the Presses” columnist for The Nation, the “Altercation” Web logger for msnbc.com (www.altercation.msnbc.com), and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Called “the most honest and incisive media critic writing today” by the National Catholic Reporter, he holds a BA from Cornell, a master’s degree from Yale, and a doctorate from Stanford.

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