The Penguin Book of Lies

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9780140116908: The Penguin Book of Lies

In this anthology of "terminological inexactitudes", "economies with the truth" and whopping untruths, Philip Kerr has come up with examples of the art of lying from the era of the Bible and Plato through to slippery government spokesmen in modern Britain and America. Intriguing quotations reveal how non-existent islands were "discovered", how the Pope helped Lucretia Borgia regain her virginity, and how Richard III was given his hump. Casanova's and Napoleon's versions of their conquests and adventures should both be taken with a pinch of salt, whilst Nero, Baron Corvo, Rousseau and Richard Nixon all spread equally one-sided accounts of their actions. Throughout history, Kerr shows, atrocities have been invented, statistics rigged, enemies smeared and orgasms faked. Many of these lies make entertaining reading. Less comfortable are the accounts of Churchill's D-day deceptions, of journalists who covered up Stalin's Ukrainian famines, and of countries so consumed by public mendacity that the only truth is the graffiti on the toilet walls.

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Philip Kerr
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