The Lies They Tell

Tuvia Tenenbom. Gefen, $19.95 trade paper (406p) ISBN 978-9-65229-911-6
Israeli-German journalist Tenenbom (Catch the Jew!) employs his not-so-subtle sarcasm to expose the hypocrisy, contradictions, and delusions of average Americans. Following his assessment of Europeans in his previous books, he now endeavors to “meet as many people as possible and portray the character [of America] and its people.” He begins his journey in June 2015, the day of the Charleston, S.C., church shooting, and ends after the San Bernardino, Calif., shooting in December 2015. He encounters propaganda and denial, and exposes political corruption in Chicago, gun culture, megachurches, anti-Semitism, polarizing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, vanishing Native American culture, proud “rednecks” intimidating African-Americans and Muslims, and climate-change deniers denigrating intellectuals. He reveals the hypocrisy of a nation where international aid organizations are well funded and $30 million is raised for a Catholic shrine in Wisconsin, yet devastated neighborhoods in Detroit and Chicago get nothing. His outlook may be bleak, but it’s hard not to share his incredulity at the levels of laughable self-delusion. For instance, a guide at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit disavows Ford’s anti-Semitism, saying, “Here we talk only about positive stuff, not about problems.” Brutal, irreverent, and cutting, Tenenbom’s riveting book aims to disrupt American complacency. For those willing to look at America from an outsider’s perspective, Tenenbom is a sobering guide. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/2017
Release date: 03/01/2017
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