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Bunk

The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News
Narrated by: Mirron Willis
Length: 20 hrs and 24 mins
Categories: History, American
3.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

Bunk traces the history of the hoax as a peculiarly American phenomenon, examining what motivates hucksters and makes the rest of us so gullible. Disturbingly, Young finds that fakery is woven from stereotype and suspicion, race being the most insidious American hoax of all. He chronicles how Barnum came to fame by displaying figures like Joice Heth, a black woman whom he pretended was the 161-year-old nursemaid to George Washington, and What Is It?, an African-American man Barnum professed was a newly discovered missing link in evolution.

Bunk then turns to the hoaxing of history and the ways that forgers, plagiarists, and journalistic fakers invent backstories and falsehoods to sell us lies about themselves and about the world in our own time, from pretend Native Americans Grey Owl and Nasdijj to the deadly imposture of Clark Rockefeller, from the made-up memoirs of James Frey to the identity theft of Rachel Dolezal. In this brilliant and timely work, Young asks what it means to live in a post-factual world of "truthiness" where everything is up for interpretation and everyone is subject to a pervasive cynicism that damages our ideas of reality, fact, and art.

©2017 Kevin Young (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Carolinkus
  • Carolinkus
  • 28-11-17

Unlistenable

The subject matter Is one of great interest to me. However, the narration is very difficult to follow. The narration detracts from the book and subject. If I had to do this over I would read the book.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-11-17

Interesting subject awful narration

The subject matter is fascinating and well researched. Several interesting points and analogies are made.
However, and I truly can't tell if it's the narrator (who is awful) or the writing - but I'm finding it impossible to follow or stay focused when listening.
If you're interested in this subject by all means READ the book.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chynna Blue
  • Chynna Blue
  • 12-12-17

Interesting Content, Difficult Narration

I pre-ordered this book the day I heard Kevin Young speak at the Texas Book Festival. I should have waited to hear the sample, first. Young himself was engaging and interesting, but the reader here sounds dry and stuffy. It was a chore to listen to this one and I'm sorry I did not get the Kindle version instead. I think I would have rated this book more highly if it had had a different reader.

The content is interesting. I knew about many of the hoaxes Young examines in the book, but had never made the connections he makes here - that many hoaxes revolve around race or bigotry and stereotypes. Some hoaxes have obvious victims, but others are less obvious until examined in the lens of the harmful negative stereotypes hoaxes often push on society.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Christian R. Unger
  • Christian R. Unger
  • 25-02-18

Interesting instances and interpretations

Although I don't agree with a lot of the arguments about the parallels of some of the hoaxes story and the parties involved whereby the story (subject) of the hoaxes imitates the story of the hoaxer, especially with some of the case being made in the 'negative space', namely not what is said but what is not, that this parallel can be drawn is interesting. Further the analysis in places feels lengthy, and although all ways considered and insightful, the depth occasionally does seem excessive, and one looses track of all that is outlined. Clearly this is at least partially due to the 'audio' rather than book, for myself.

Great, interesting stories which give an interesting twist on Kurt Andersen's Fantasyland, not in that it gives a different perspective, but an in-depth analysis of the public fraud for fraud's sake rather than the deliberate deception and acceptance thereof.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chef Christian
  • 14-02-18

Horrible Narrator

What character would you cut from Bunk?

I could not bear to listen to this. The narrator was positively the worst I have encountered in years with Audible. I couldn't finish it. This has never happened before. What a waste of a credit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Samantha Edholm
  • Samantha Edholm
  • 04-11-19

Narration is completely ridiculous

If the subject matter interests you, consider reading the physical book. The narrator’s performance is truly strange and renders the book virtually unlistenable.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Barbara B. Hemmingsen
  • Barbara B. Hemmingsen
  • 12-12-18

wordy

This book has a lot of good points and ideas but it is extremely wordy. the words flow by and after a few minutes one wonders what the point was to the word salad.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Alexys Smith
  • Alexys Smith
  • 09-05-18

Horrible Narration

It's difficult to assess the content because the horrible narration makes it nearly impossible to listen to. Grating, repetitive, strangely sarcastic, with weirdly long, stilted pauses. Deeply irritating.

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Profile Image for Gavin Ferris
  • Gavin Ferris
  • 01-03-18

Not a Book

This is not a book. This is a 20 hour Racial Studies dissertation. It’s a good dissertation, with engaging narratives, colorful exposition, and strong analytical arguments, but it definitely reads more like a graduate school research paper run amuck than a piece of prose.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Owen M.
  • Owen M.
  • 23-02-18

stories are fairly interesting

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

This was a pretty good book... the stories are hit or miss. I enjoyed some immensely... others not as much.

Which character – as performed by Mirron Willis – was your favorite?

Characters were all done well... none in particular stand out. Competent narrator.