cover image Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News

Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News

A. Brad Schwartz, read by Sean Runnette. HighBridge Audio, unabridged, 9 CDs, 1

Schwartz provides a definitive account of Orson Welles’s infamous radio docudrama The War of Worlds, performed on Oct. 30, 1938, by the Mercury Theater and broadcast over national radio. Reader Runnette, with his clear, deep voice, proves a fantastic narrator for this production. He chooses the right amount of emphasis in each section. Given that Schwartz’s text covers news reports, excerpts from many different people (both famous and unknown), and historical information, there is much to juggle in terms of tone and rhythm, but Runnette never misses a beat and keeps the listener wanting more, well after the book has ended. A Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover. (May)