When Presidents Lie: A new arrival History of popular Official Deception and Its Consequences outlet sale

When Presidents Lie: A new arrival History of popular Official Deception and Its Consequences outlet sale

When Presidents Lie: A new arrival History of popular Official Deception and Its Consequences outlet sale
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A distinguished journalist assesses the profound impact of governmental and presidential lies on American culture, revealing how such lies become ever more complex and how such deception creates problems far more serious than those lied about in the beginning, and focuses on four specific instances involving FDR, Kennedy, LBJ, and Ronald Reagan. 60,000 first printing.

From Publishers Weekly

Mendacity has increasingly become a journalistic touchstone for analyzing America''s international relations. Alterman, best known as a columnist for the Nation and author of What Liberal Media?, presents his case for what he calls four key lies U.S. presidents told world citizens during the 20th century. Franklin Roosevelt lied, he says, about the nature of the Yalta accords, creating the matrix for a half-century of anti-Soviet paranoia. John F. Kennedy lied about the compromise that settled the Cuban missile crisis, and kept the Cold War alive by humiliating the U.S.S.R. Lyndon Johnson lied about the second Tonkin Gulf incident, and moved the U.S. down a slippery slope that destroyed his hopes of creating a Great Society. Ronald Reagan lied about his policies in Central America, creating a secret and illegal foreign policy that resulted in "the murder of tens of thousands of innocents." Alterman interprets this pattern as a consequence of mistaken American beliefs: belief in providence watching over the U.S., belief in American moral superiority abroad and belief, unfulfilled, in unyielding commitment to democracy at home—all of these things are easy to stump on, but impossible, Alterman argues, to demonstrate. These "delusions" in turn create an unrealistic picture of the world, one immune to education regarding reality. All of this, predictably enough, leads to George W. Bush, whose administration is dismissed as a "post-truth presidency." The American-centered perspective of Alterman''s case studies overlooks the many times when the U.S. was outmaneuvered (or deceived) by other players to a point where truth became obscured by means other than executive mendacity. Alterman also allows little room for mistakes or plain incompetence on the part of the administrations in question. But his conceit is otherwise carefully and compellingly executed, and sets the stage for debate.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

In 1964, as Congress prepared to vote on the Gulf of Tonkin resolution authorizing the use of force in Vietnam, Senator William Fulbright said that he simply did not "normally assume" that "a President lies to you." That was a mistake, according to Alterman''s compendious history of Presidential lying. Alterman, a columnist for The Nation, refers to the Bush Administration as a "post-truth Presidency," but in general he is hardest on Democrats. He writes of Roosevelt''s "deliberate mendacity" at Yalta and Kennedy''s "nasty double game" during the Cuban missile crisis—tactics that, respectively, he claims, started and deepened the Cold War. Alterman argues that such behavior, whatever its justification, invariably exacts a price—L.B.J.''s lies about the Tonkin incident consumed his Presidency—and that the greatest dangers come when an Administration starts to believe its own lies.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker

From Booklist

Although we are occasionally shocked upon learning that a president has lied, Alterman maintains that presidents routinely lie, often with consequences that shape and reverberate through our history. Alterman focuses on four key presidential lies: Franklin Roosevelt and the Yalta accords, John F. Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis, Lyndon Johnson and the second Gulf of Tonkin incident, and Ronald Reagan and Central America in the 1980s. Looking beyond the moral aspects of the deceptions, Alterman examines the destructive consequences: Yalta, for example, led to 40 years of cold war. For each lie, he offers details of the particular deception and the long-term effects for the president, his party, and the nation. "Without exception, each of the presidencies (or successor presidencies) paid an extremely high price for its lies," he notes. The nation, of course, has paid a price as well. He concludes with a chapter that examines President Bush''s posture on the war in Iraq in the broader context of presidential deception. A timely and insightful book. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

Crack political journalist Alterman ... throws bones worth chewing on long and hard. -- Kirkus

About the Author

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.

Eric Alterman is Professor of English at Brooklyn College of City University of New York.

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4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
25 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Newton Ooi
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The buck stops here, but not the truth...
Reviewed in the United States on January 21, 2007
Since the Watergate scandal, the assumption among the American press and people that the president always tells the truth has been destroyed. The first Bush''s promise of "No New Taxes" and Clinton''s wrangling over the Lewinski affair have only served to reinforce the image... See more
Since the Watergate scandal, the assumption among the American press and people that the president always tells the truth has been destroyed. The first Bush''s promise of "No New Taxes" and Clinton''s wrangling over the Lewinski affair have only served to reinforce the image of presidents lying over various matters in order to win re-elections and settle political scores with other politicians. This book, so aptly titled, ignores these three well-known cases of presidential lying, and instead focuses on four specific cases where a president lied regarding an area of government where the president really does not need to lie; foreign policy. All four cases are unique in that in each one, the president knowingly told what he knew was wrong, even when there many who would have supported the truth, and in doing so, committed the US to go down a road more costly in terms of money, prestige, blood, and respect. The four cases are FDR''s public comments on the Yalta agreement, JFK''s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, LBJ''s play on the Tonkin Gulf incidents, and Reagan''s handling of the various proxy wars in Central America. In all these cases, all part of the Cold War, the president in charge chose a course of action knowing that it was the wrong course, but trusted their own ability to juggle and evade the consequences in the future. All were wrong, and either their administration, or the following one, paid the consequences.

The book presents its cases in chronological order, and is quite good at showing how one case eventually helped spawn the other, thus providing great transitions. The book is also written quite objectively, and takes into accounts sources both public and private, from both sides of the Cold War. The text flows easily and quickly and always provides enough background information to give proper context. All in all, a great book and a great addition to anyone''s reading list for Cold War literature, foreign policy, presidential misdeeds, and political science.
3 people found this helpful
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Lee Brown
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Veryb Riviting Things are as they seem and the truth is best served by telling it.
Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2013
Riviting tale of the lies and deceit of those you may have voted for. Things are as they seem and the truth is best served by telling it.
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Vincent P.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United States on September 18, 2015
Must read for every American to learn what unethical acts American President''s do while in office.
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Joseph R. Spinozzi
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Four Stars
Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2015
great read
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MICHAEL WHELAN
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
" A must Read "
Reviewed in the United States on September 19, 2015
American Politics is fascinating, refreshing to read a book of this quality.
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Ronnie Schenkein
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A valuable resource as well as an eye-opener
Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2016
I read this book when it came out in 2004 and have referred to it many times since. We need this clarity now more than ever.
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Marco
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Case Studi s.
Reviewed in the United States on December 7, 2016
Excellent case studies.
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Seoigheach
4.0 out of 5 stars
Some Great Case Studies of Political Science
Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2012
I highly recommend this book for its studies of several recent (post WWII) situations in which circumstances caused the US executive power to lie or to let itself be deluded. Mr. Alterman selected and probed a number of fascinating examples in which presidents or their... See more
I highly recommend this book for its studies of several recent (post WWII) situations in which circumstances caused the US executive power to lie or to let itself be deluded. Mr. Alterman selected and probed a number of fascinating examples in which presidents or their advisors found themselves in scenarios where less than the whole truth or, in some cases, outright lies became the official US government interpretation of events (the US presentation of the Soviet position at Yalta; the resolution of the Cuban missile crisis; the Gulf of Tonkin incident(s); and Iran/Contra). The tragedy is not only the unintended consequences of some of these errors but the ways in which in retrospect the actions of the participants still seem reasonable. I learned a great deal from Mr. Alterman''s research and analysis, even though I lived through several of these crises. This book has left a more lasting impression on me than a number of volumes I have read in the last, say, 10 years.

I withheld a fifth star because, first, the end notes were much too detailed. I believe this book originated in the author''s Ph.D. thesis and I had the impression, perhaps unfairly, that the sumptuous lists of references in the end notes were holdovers from the necessity of establishing the thoroughness of his academic work. Unfortunately, while I usually enjoy seeing where an author gets his information or otherwise comments on sources, I thought that section of the book needed a good hard editing.

The other reason I did not give this book the highest rating was that I didn''t think the author sufficiently explored the causes or larger cultural mechanisms underlying executive untruth-telling. I concede that such an analysis might have taken the author far afield and consumed years of work, but his choice of topic was otherwise so insightful and timely that I wish he had had the opportunity to extend and, to my mind, complete his work. Is public lying, as John Mearsheimer suggests in "Why Leaders Lie?", endemic in democratic societies? Is it aggravated in the US by mass media and their institutionalization? Is this a fixable problem?

I suppose one could occasionally fault the author for letting his liberal sympathies and his moralism show but I really don''t think his overall effort suffered from the fact that he felt strongly about some of the events he described.
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B. A. Parker
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Perfect.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 31, 2016
Excellent book in great condition, very happy.
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When Presidents Lie: A new arrival History of popular Official Deception and Its Consequences outlet sale

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When Presidents Lie: A new arrival History of popular Official Deception and Its Consequences outlet sale

When Presidents Lie: A new arrival History of popular Official Deception and Its Consequences outlet sale

When Presidents Lie: A new arrival History of popular Official Deception and Its Consequences outlet sale

When Presidents Lie: A new arrival History of popular Official Deception and Its Consequences outlet sale