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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
An excellent book full of over two hundred yrears of hoaxes and fake stories from all the media from newspapers through radio to television. All the usual suspects are there, especially Orson Wells' War of the Worlds of 1930. There's the New York Sun's hoax of animals on the moon to the "video nasty" scares in England and New Zealand.
The chapters are short and...
Published 19 months ago by T. Walker

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars entertaining but major errors
Reading about these hoaxes and scares make for fun reading and give creedance to Shakespeare's "Lord, what fools these mortals be." You might wonder how people could fall for this stuff but some of these involve the 2005 Hurricane Katrina and the repeated Hallowe'en scare of poisoned candy (not a single actual report has ever turned up, by the way). The authors go back as...
Published on 14 Dec 2011 by Col William Russell


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars entertaining but major errors, 14 Dec 2011
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Col William Russell (Springfield, VA) - See all my reviews
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Reading about these hoaxes and scares make for fun reading and give creedance to Shakespeare's "Lord, what fools these mortals be." You might wonder how people could fall for this stuff but some of these involve the 2005 Hurricane Katrina and the repeated Hallowe'en scare of poisoned candy (not a single actual report has ever turned up, by the way). The authors go back as far as the entertaining 1835 moon people hoax started by one New York newspaper and spread by others.

But the authors should have checked their facts. In the chapter of the 1938 Orson Welles' broadcast they repeat stories of "a woman" running into a church and another "woman" caught trying to commit suicide. Both have long been dismissed as false reports from a NYT article the next day. Yet the authors cite them as legit. After all, if they were real why didn't they appear in local papers and why no names of the people or of the alleged church? Citations can be made of repetitions of this article but repat doesn't verify.

In their chapter on asteroid scares, they tell us the "United States government has contingency plans" to deal with asteroids. Really? This doesn't have a citation. So where did it come from? Have they been watching too many bad sci-fi films? Or if they have information about this, then why not cite it rather than leave just an unsubstantiated statement?

If they're going to examine hoxes, they need to do a better job than "well, he/she said" journalism.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!, 15 May 2013
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T. Walker (Bedfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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An excellent book full of over two hundred yrears of hoaxes and fake stories from all the media from newspapers through radio to television. All the usual suspects are there, especially Orson Wells' War of the Worlds of 1930. There's the New York Sun's hoax of animals on the moon to the "video nasty" scares in England and New Zealand.
The chapters are short and succinct and you can dip in and out of the book as you like. Recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gullible press, 15 Jun 2012
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The subject of this book by Bartholomew and others is the panics driven by the media for ever greater public attention. It is a timely work in the present when we are bombarded by science masquerading as fact, and hype over topics which have no basis in reality, an especially dangerous time when the means of communication have multiplied endlessly. It is not just the printed media (books, newspapers), the televisual (TV, film etc) but now the internet and social media such as Twitter which are fertile sources of bogus and invented stories. The authors focus on some well known public hoaxes of the past to introduce the subject, such as the famous Martian invasion of a radio play directed by Orson Welles just before the last world war. But there are other not-so-well-known incidents, such as the Moon hoax of 1835, when readers of the then new tabloid press were deluded into believing that an eminent astronomer, Herschel, had seen life forms on the Moon! The hoax continued for several months before the penny dropped, but the story had done its job in increasing sales of the paper multifold. The skies were also the source of another myth imposed on the public: the poison gas scare of 1910, when the earth passed through the tail of Halley's comet. Traces of a toxic gas had been detected in the tail, and the press spun the story into a looming global catastrophe (much like the current global warming hysteria whipped up by scientists and politicians). The book has a final chapter on the MMR vaccine scare, and based on apparently credible research by a single scientist that the vaccine caused autism in children. Of course we have to be sceptical of what we see in any media, and especially now with the official scare stories of climate doom: but why didn't the authors tackle this topic? Was it too big to run in their book, or would it offend the establishment? Another missing subject is the problem of financial panic brought about by collapsing banks, and currently, the collapsing euro currency. The book is a good start though, and we will hopefully see more of the same in the near future.
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