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Hippo Eats Dwarf Paperback – Unabridged, 9 Feb 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Paperback, Unabridged, 9 Feb 2010
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (9 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330512919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330512916
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 372,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

`Alex Boese is a self-appointed arbiter of urban myths and media distortion. His amusing compendium runs from birth to death, taking in romance, the web, the news, advertising and politics.'
--Sunday Telegraph

`An interesting insight into today's global psyche.'
--Big Issue, Scotland

Book Description

The world’s greatest urban myths, fakes and hoaxes, from Bonsai kittens to human-flavoured tofu

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
From the title and the info supplied from the publisher this book seems to be about urban myths however it soon branches off to cover everything from frauds to advertising and this is the main weakness of the book as it covers so much ground that the author does not develop any of the themes. He also makes statements that are opinion and cannot be substantiated for example he states that none of Amazon reviews are worth reading as some are written by authors to publicise their books , whilst it is probably true that some authors do this the majority of reviews are not by authors (I hope no one thinks that an author would write this one). It could have been a far better book if less subject matter was covered but more depth and subject matter for example source material. He mentions the "Nigerian" scam but gives no real examples he also states much as fact with nothing to back it up. If this was written as a humorous book it may have worked but it was almost text book in style and a poorly researched one at that.
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If you want to be the guy at the party who reveals another party-goers story as an urban myth then this book is for you, very like Bad Science in this way but not quite as cerebral.

It is a very well researched book, with entertaining true or false stories at the end of each chapter, unfortunately I found myself skipping past pages to read these as opposed to focussing on the main text which isn't exactly a ringing endorsement. It ends up being a collection of urban myths, which would be good but they are spoilt by the fact that you find out without a doubt if they are true or not - which for me defeats the object.

I don't mean this in a bad way but this is perfect toilet reading, if you want low impact entertainment in small sections this is perfect.
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Format: Paperback
Do you know about the fake VW suicide bomber ad? The Nigerian bank scam? That JFK beat Nixon in 1960 because his makeup was better? That Disney supposedly started the lemmings suicide myth by chucking them off a cliff for a documentary? (not true anyway, according to QI) That some teenage girls in internet chatrooms are really men? That some internet pictures are faked with Photoshop? Of course you do! And if you're a reasonably well-informed person you'll already know 98% of the stuff in this book already. The examples aren't expanded on or explored - just listed one after the other. Neither enlightening or entertaining - this stuff might be ok for a 5 minute time-waste on the web, but as a book it's pathetic.
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Format: Paperback
We've all had them, those e-mails that come from your friend (who from the addressee list his clearly sent them to everyone else as well) warning us of the latest computer virus that is going to delete all the files on your hard drive, or how microwaving our food will give us cancer, telling us that drinking a gallon of spring water a day will cure that cancer, or asking us to admire this spectacular photograph or wince at this grotesque news report. And with social media such as Facebook old hoaxes have taken on a new lease of life while new ones have been invented.

These have several features in common. They're supposed to be true, and sometimes even have the name of a recognised newspaper or institution as the source (though never with precise reference details or a URL to check). They tell us we have to forward them to everyone we can. Text is often SHOUTING at us in capital letters, and multiple exclamation marks abound.. And they're virtually never true.Sometimes they even come, not from the friend you know suffers from Gullibility Virus (look it up), but from an otherwise sensible person who was taken in and decided that it was better to forward it, "just in case".

(And that's before we even start on friendly African generals who want to give us a cut of their 100,000,000 dollars, security notices from banks who don't even seem to know our names, and mailings advertising products that will make impossible enhancements to body parts we may or may not have.)

But there's more to hoaxing than e-mail tales and scams, as the enthusiastic printing of ridiculous planted stories by supposedly reliable newspapers shows. Not to mention axe-grinding, brand assassination, and other messages arising out of nasty motivations.
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Format: Paperback
Covering such diverse topics as the Turin Shroud and the 'death' of Elvis Presley, this is an extremely witty and informative guide to notorious hoaxes. It never fails to go into detail and often comes out with little-known facts. I had never before realised that the publication of Alan Sokal's spoof scientific-paper constituted treason, or that he was jailed for seven years (a portion of the sentence having been served in Al Capone's former cell at Alcatraz). Similarly, it was a shock to learn that John Major is a dedicated crop-circle maker, who regularly rose before 3am to create arable-mischief: while serving as Prime Minister! Amazon users may be interested to note the inclusion of Amazon.com's top 500 reviewer Henry Raddick, whose many spoof reviews are well-known across the internet. Boese spends a little time exploring the psychology of hoaxers but, despite his best efforts, he is unable to come up with an answer to the biggest question: What actually motivates these morally-bankrupt buffoons to waste everybody's time on such vapid, unfunny pranks?
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