July 13th, 2004

mepublicenemy

A Liar's Tale

is a book by Jeremy Campbell, subtitled A History of Falsehood. But it's not really a history of falsehood at all. Rather, it is a history of the idea that Falsehood is somehow good, acceptable, or inevitable. As for the book category to which this tome belongs, the backjacket says it: Philosophy.

I'm reading it for the monthly book club to which I belong. I'm about two-thirds in, and I already read the last few pages as a sneak preview of his final view.

Campbell writes in a lively but none too careful style. The author is a journalist for a British newspaper. Too often I felt like I was reading a Newsweek summary of 2500 years of philosophy and culture.

His philosophical history is okay. But I have to be irked by a book that attacks the idea of truth.

By the way... can a claim that truth is impossible... possibly be true? (Short answer: no.)

The publisher trumpeted the following quotation: "A book too disturbing to be ignored." That's a funny way to sell a book. I wonder if they would try to sell grisly photographs that way?

You can see the cover and a publisher's blurb about it here:

http://www.wwnorton.com/catalog/fall02/032361.htm

Rhyme of the day:

Liars' tales
Mostly fail.