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Post-Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  660 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Welcome to the Post-Truth era— a time in which the art of the lie is shaking the very foundations of democracy and the world as we know it. The Brexit vote; Donald Trump’s victory; the rejection of climate change science; the vilification of immigrants; all have been based on the power to evoke feelings and not facts. So what does it all mean and how can we champion truth ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published May 11th 2017 by Ebury Press
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Lucy Banks
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

A vital read if you're concerned about the way the world is going...

For a while now, I (like many people), have been worried about this notion of post-truth, or as Kellyanne Conway so succinctly put it - alternative facts. It all sounded horribly 'double-speak' to me - this notion that politicians and the media were no longer constrained by the obligation to be truthful - they could simply repackage 'facts' to suit t
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it
This concise and straightforward primer on post-truth politics and culture is basically an essay organised into five chapters (the paperback is a pleasingly compact, pocket-sized book). Inevitably, d'Ancona talks a lot about 2016, the year post-truth exploded, and its two political juggernauts – Trump and Brexit – but the main thrust of his argument, frequently reinforced, is that while it may be tempting to believe the post-truth/'fake news' era will die whenever Trump leaves office, such an as ...more
I received this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review

As we find ourselves knee-deep in the troubling reality of the post truth era d’Ancona’s book clearly and concisely relates how we came from the rationalism of the Enlightenment to our present parlous state of affairs.
He explains how Trump and Brexit have brought the phenomenon into focus but that they are the symptoms not the cause.

He shows how, as with so many disasters, it started with good intention, the attempt to include
Girl with her Head in a Book
For my full review:

Fake news. Alternative facts. Post truth. Three terms to strike a chill into the heart. Despite the concept of 'post truth' having only really burst into our cultural consciousness within the past year or so, over the scant 176 pages of his book, Matthew D'Ancona makes it clear that we have been headed this way for a while. Former editor of The Spectator, D'Ancona is a journalist with a formidable CV. Unusually for me, I had mixed feeli
Rachel Louise Atkin
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
This had me shook. The opening prologue was haunting enough when it discussed the way that the whole of history is basically filtered through a lens depending on the course it has taken.
D'Ancona's book looked at the term Post-Truth in light of Trump's presidency and the tidal wave of fake news and alternative facts. He discusses how feeling has begun to override fact in a disturbing 180-degree turn from the rationalism of the Enlightenment era. Almost every sentence in this book made me uncomfo
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A clarion call to open our eyes and minds, not merely to document and tut in irritated annoyance at the way truth and reality are continuously being distorted as politics has become reduced to mere entertainment, but to become actively engaged in sifting the truth from the lies and propaganda and insisting that this matters. In a world where sometimes it seems that we are all more interested in what goes on on our little phone screens that in the real world around us and in the sensations and th ...more
The Wordsworm
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I have gone back and forth for the last week thinking about what rating I would give this book. On the one hand, a four because it is a book flagging an important issue of the moment that we should all be vividly aware of, no matter which end of the political spectrum we identify with; but a three because the title and the publisher’s description led me to think that the book would be more instructive in ‘the ways to fight back’ than it actually is.

The book is well-written, clearly explaining it
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Your political viewpoint will absolutely effect how you feel about this book.

Personally, I have always found it shocking that so many people expect politicians to lie. Every conversation I have had at work about the upcoming UK general election has revolved around 'well they all tell lies anyway' and it makes me really sad that politics has come into this horrific era of 'fake news' and 'alternative facts'.

This is a well wri
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This short book explained the post-truth world we are in right now. It used to be that we all have our opinions, but only 1 truth. Now, there are only opinions. Fake news, denials, conspiracy theories and the death of expertise (all experts are tainted) are the gist of modern post truth world.

However, the author offered hopeful ways for us to fight back. Social media giants are now developing tools to detect fake news and click-baits. In the end, the buck stops with us. We must resist the same
May 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
After three books were published on our post-truth world in the same week, I picked this one. Written by a political commentator I have a lot of time for, it was also the shortest. d'Ancona gives a well-written survey of post-truth, using Trump and Brexit as its dystopian consequences, before pointing the finger at its progenitors: conspiracy theorists, climate and vaccine sceptics, holocaust deniers, and then weirdly, post-modern philosophers.

Elsewhere, he describes the philosophers' purpose a
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
originally posted on HellyReads

Oh my goodness. This was so depressing yet so interesting all at the same time. It goes into great detail about how facts and the truth no longer matter in the court of public opinion and politics, and how interpretations are way more important.

Points are made that although the election of Donald Trump, and the Brexit vote have happened, they aren't the cause of the post-truth era, merely a symptom.

It is extremely well researched, written and explained. It is also
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very good summary. I felt like there were some strands I'd like to see developed further, such as the use of "political correctness" as a crowbar to pry open any attempt to work towards a more progressive notion of , and it was a little fuzzy on the diference between ordinary, bogstandard lies and the more Trumpian hostility to the idea that there's an objective truth that can be discovered, that matters, that can challenge the exercise of power. It was stated but didn't always seem to be i vi ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
A pretty fascinating study into why so many people no longer care about truth. The book leans heavily on the catastrophic decisions made by British and American people in 2016 to vote for Brexit and elect Donald Trump, but digs well beyond that to the psychology of why we prefer hollow phrases that inspire emotion rather than actual truth.
João Martins
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-my-bookshelf
A succinct, yet excellent overview of one the biggest threats to modern democracy.

"a system free of the distorting forces that lead inexorably to tyranny [...] is only as strong as those who protect it"
Emma Wallace
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
This is an astonishing, and necessary, book. Matthew d'Ancona deploys his brilliant journalistic skills in researching and examining the current "post-truth" phenomenon that has been identified within such political rumblings as the recent Brexit vote in the UK as well as the election of President Trump in the U.S. It is a frank, and wide-ranging analysis of all the many ways this rejection of the truth and facts manifests beyond such political occurrences, building up a case study for how such ...more
John Plowright
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
In November 2012, Mark Thompson, the former Director General of the BBC, delivered, as part of his Humanitas Visiting Professorship in Rhetoric and the Art of Public Persuasion at Oxford University, a series of three lectures there entitled ‘The Cloud of Unknowing’.

The theme of Thompson’s lectures was the degeneration of public discourse and particularly of political language in contemporary democratic politics, with the latter becoming more effective as an instrument of political persuasion but
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is both eye-opening and slightly terrifying. Matthew d'Ancona brings to the forefront the issue of post-truth and explains it in such a way that makes it impossible to ignore. We live in the post-truth era. Read this book and find out why.

In 2016 the Oxford English Dictionary picked Post-Truth as its word of the year, which is defined as 'circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief'.

In the same week a
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
Review on my blog tomorrow.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Matthew D’Ancona’s Post-Truth is a brilliant assessment of our world today. He analyses the concept of post-truth and the circumstances through which it came to dominate – arguing that Trump is a symptom of post-truth not a cause of it. He looks at how post-truth affects our society today in the form of fake news, conspiracy theories, and the devaluation of science and truth. He explains how people can be presented with incontrovertible proof that something is untrue but the conspiracy theories ...more
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it
In his text on the post-truth era, Matthew d’Ancona sums up post-truth politics as “the triumph of the visceral over the rational, the deceptively simple over the honestly complex”. It’s a sage and timely piece, reflecting primarily on Brexit and the rise of Trump, but also the movement’s historical background, psychology, and how we can combat it.

Throughout the well-researched and compelling text were little tidbits that really tickled me, such as the fact that George Washington never actually
Keith Hamilton
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fascinating and clever little book that throws light on the murky Post Truth world in which we live, from Trump's victory to Brexit, climate change deniers, anti vaxxers, advisers who bend lies and falsehoods into " alternative truths", this book has a powerful message that complacency on our part and maintaining the status quo leads to the political vacuum and lack of integrity and intellectual dishonesty that the political classes demonstrate every day. Some wonderful quotes from Orwell, Mar ...more
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
As with all abstract notions, the answer to the question posed above could bring forth as many variants as there are offers: each to his own. A quick look on the web will tell you that ‘truth’ is ‘that which is commonly accepted as being true’, or ‘in accordance with fact or reality’: not much help there then! And herein lies the problem: based on those definitions there is no way that my truth is the same as your truth. Our experience of the world is filtered through our own unique experience o ...more
Colin Marks
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-book, netgalley
Book supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.

Trump, for all his faults, is gold dust for the entertainment industry. He's petrol on the flames of satire, and the butt of countless books and articles that discuss every aspect of his erratic behaviour, from his handshake, to his wife's every flinch, and the subject of this book, the fact that his supporters don't care that he and his cohorts blatantly lie at every opportunity.

The preface of Matthew D'Ancona's Post-Truth sets the tone, patiently
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First of all, thankyou so much to NetGalley for letting me have an ARC of Post-Truth by Matthew d'Ancona. It isn´t normally the type of book that I would read, and at times I struggled with finishing the chapters. Though it isn´t a large read, for me it was quite a difficult read, not because of complex language, but with the alarming information. In this modern age, where anyone has the means and opportunity to post their opinions on the internet, Post-Truth made me fear and wonder what will ha ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
** I received a free arc in exchange for an honest review **

‘Post-Truth feeds upon alienation, dislocation and stultified silence. The greatest civic task that lies ahead is to empty the trough.’

This was an interesting look at the emergence of the recent uses of "accepted" untruths in the current political climate, resulting in the successes of Trump and brexit. D'Aconda explores the methods they use and argues that these techniques have always been used, citing movements of the past such as the
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
As 24-hour rolling news might put it, post-truth is a developing story, so we can't expect a definitive account of it just yet. This is, however, a great start, with Matthew d'Ancona's Post-Truth offering a brief exploration of the shift away from evidence-based argument and facts towards feelings and emotional resonance.

As part of his investigation, d'Ancona asks how our politics has been infected by 'the art of the lie,' with a particular focus on climate change rejection, anti-vaccination mo
Dave Wheeler
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well this is a insightful book of the present age. I should start by stating I have 2 big differences with the author Matthew, first I voted for Briexit and my views on faith. But to allow these to hinder my reading and agreement with the book would be a great shame. I think that Matthews take and writing on our present age is spot on in so many ways and the fact that we follow that which fits our ideas rather than the truth is there far all to see. The truth becomes what we believe rather than ...more
toria (vikz writes)
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book looks at the rise of fake news in modern society and seeks to analyse the rise of this phenomena The book explores the ways how the concept of truth and truth telling have been belittled in modern society. The author bemoans the ways in which scientific knowledge and expertise have been discredited by powerful political and business interests. He uses; the Brexit campaign, the Trump campaign, Global warming sc ...more
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I do try and take more interest in politics, hence upon my decision to read 'Post-Truth'. Especially so since the Brexit referendum and to which I did vote to leave.

Whether I agreed with all what was written in the book or not, this was a very interesting book. It did give me things to think about. I have always known about fake news, half truths and spin and therefore I stopped trusting any Politician, Advisors and the Media a long time ago.

I do recommend this well written and informative boo
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great and relatively short (sometimes more academic than accessable) read which explains the truth about Post Truth very well.

Although I do feel D'ancona has glossed over his own profession's complicity in encouraging the growth of fake news.

He still feels that his profession is the only one able to wield the sword of truth, when in fact many (not all) journalists have been the ones instumental in diluting the values of veracity, honesty and accountability.
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