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In Truth: A History of Lies from Ancient Rome to Modern America

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From ancient Rome to the current Internet age, this sweeping history of ideas explores how different epochs wrestled with the issue of truth and lies.From the ancient Greeks and Romans to the modern era, how have people determined what is true? How have those with power and influence sought to control the narrative? Are we living in a post-truth era, or is that notion simply the latest attempt to control the narrative? The relationship between truth and power is the key theme.Moving through major historical periods, the author focuses on notable people and events, from well-known leaders like Julius Caesar and Adolf Hitler to lesser-known individuals like Procopius and Savonarola. He notes distinct parallels in history to current events. Julius Caesar's publication of his Gallic Wars and Civil Wars was an early exercise in political spin not unlike what we see today. During the English Civil War and the Enlightenment, pamphleteering coupled with the new power of the printing press challenged the status quo, as online and social media does in our time. And "fake news" was already being used by German chancellor Otto von Bismarck in nineteenth-century Europe and by the "yellow journalism" of American newspaper magnates William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer near the turn of the twentieth century.The author concludes optimistically, noting that we are debating and discussing truth more fiercely today than in any previous era. The determination to arrive at the truth, despite the manipulations of the powerful, bodes well for the future of democracy.

Author: Fraser Matthew
Publisher: PROMETHEUS BOOKS
Pages: 437
ISBN: 9781633886247
Cover: Hardback
Edition Number: 1
Release Year: 2020

Matthew Fraser is a professor of communications and international politics at the American University of Paris. Formerly, he was a senior research fellow for INSEAD, editor in chief and a columnist for Canada's National Post, host of CBC's primetime TV show Inside Media, professor of communications at Ryerson University in Toronto, and a reporter for the Montreal Gazette and the Globe and Mail. He is the author of Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom: How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World (with Soumitra Dutta); Weapons of Mass Distraction: Soft Power and American Empire; and Free-for-All: The Struggle for Dominance on the Digital Frontier. He was educated at Oxford University, the London School of Economics, and La Sorbonne-Panthéon, and holds a PhD in political science from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.

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