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True or False: A CIA Analyst's Guide to Spotting Fake News

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  42 reviews
"If I could pick one book to hand to every teen—and adult—on earth, this is the one. True or False is accessible, thorough, and searingly honest, and we desperately needed it." —Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

A former CIA analyst unveils the true history of fake news and gives readers tips on how to avoid falling victim to it in this highly de
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 28th 2020 by Feiwel & Friends
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Katherine Rothschild
This book belongs in every government class! As a writer and professor teaching protest, I was offered this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I’m thrilled to give it to you! Taking the reader through a history of fake news (starting with Jack the Ripper’s coverage but going back to the 1200s - propaganda, yellow journalism) through today’s online media frenzy—and offering ways to discern real from fake throughout, this book will be an essential for any secondary teacher. Written in a tight, ...more
Laura Rueckert
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book begins with the history of fake news, which was fascinating, and then went on with points to watch out for in everyday life – especially biases that most of us are guilty of. Very helpful! While reading this book, I played a game with my family, with me giving them “facts” that they had to look up and figure out if they were true. I think not only teens should read this book, but also adults.
Shannon Takaoka
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roaring20sdebut, ya
A few years back when one of my kids had to write a report on "science in the news," I remember having to explain the difference between an "advertorial" and an actual, credible source of information. This is just one example of how easy it is for people to get confused by information that isn't entirely accurate or that's biased. With the entirety of the internet at their fingertips -- and all the good and bad that this entails -- it can be tough for teens (as well as adults) to sort out facts ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fake news is a major problem in our world today, with very real consequences. It's insidious. It's invasive. It's corrosive.

How can we spot fake news? Where does fake news come from? How can we fight against it? Those are the questions that are addressed in this book.

Author Cindy L. Otis opens her book by sharing stories of fake news from the past, including the fake news generated by the Jack the Ripper case and fake news told during the reign of Ramses II in Egypt. It's comforting to know th
Jennifer Iacopelli
As a librarian, I cannot wait to put this book into the hands of my students.
JG (Introverted Reader)
Cindy L. Otis, whose literal job was filtering and verifying news and intelligence reports for the CIA, has written a guide to spotting fake news. She begins with a history of fake news, going all the way back to Ramses II in Ancient Egypt; discusses what fake news is and isn’t; then provides tips and exercises to make it easier for the average citizen to spot fake news him- or herself.

In this information age, we find ourselves bombarded with facts or “facts,” as the case may be. A fringe group
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This title caught my eye as I was teaching our Year 7 classes a unit on Fake News. It is a perfectly timed and titled novel and it works as a perfect resource for our unit. The author, Cindy L. Otis is a former CIA analyst and that gives credit and interest to the book. She brings an interesting perspective to this mix of fake news history and skills and tips for identifying and responding to fake news.

I was thoroughly impressed by the writing style of this book. I thought I might flick through
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Wow! I didn't know I had believed so many things that were actually fake news- I enjoyed the first 150 pages, from there I got a bit sick of the nonfiction (it's not you, it's me) but in the end I really enjoyed this book! ;)
Thom Disch
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
The author does a fine job discussing historical fake news situations. However when she moves into the current time frame she lets her personal biases affect her ability to describe topics. This bias ruined the author’s credibility. She does admit to her bias and she discusses that we as readers need to be careful of people with biases but she does not try to hide her bias. Very disappointing but it shows how difficult it must be to write about a topic that you have a passion for.
Emily Pickell
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I skimmed this book to see if it would be good addition to my high school library. I liked all of the examples, especially the last third of the book.
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an interesting, engaging, relevant YA non-fiction pick! While there were certainly things I knew, I still definitely learned something. Reading this book made me want to create a whole media literacy course for my students. And while it is a YA read, I would say any adult could pick this up and learn from it!
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Petition to make this required reading for everyone everywhere? Read my review at ...more
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is such an important book now more than ever especially as more people get their news from social media or headlines without reading the articles or checking the legitimacy of what they do read.
Lisa  Peruchini
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
EXCELLENT!!!!!!! Nonpartisan straight facts about Fake News. Turns out it isn't even remotely new. Many of the examples totally blew my mind! Very easy to read with lots of areas where you can test yourself on what is real and what is not. (I bombed). Lots of things revealed truly shocked me and I had to tell my husband! I highly recommend reading this great book!
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Interesting YA read. I will definitely cross reference anything I or my family reads online and in the papers as this was an eye opener! I have noticed articles in prominent papers and online where the headlines don’t really match the article title and haven’t really thought much of it, now I do! A very thought provoking book to say the least! It will make you question your news sources and look at them in a different light! Thank you to Fierce Reads and Goodreads for the opportunity to read thi ...more
Susan Hasler
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I would highly recommend this book to young people and teachers. Timely, useful, and entertaining.
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is definitely intended for younger readers. I would peg it at a high school level. However, with that being said, I do think it covers an extremely important topic: how to intelligently use information and media without falling prey to manipulation or disinformation. The author starts with the history of "fake news" and shows how it was used as far back as ancient Egypt and continues all the way through today. She discusses why fake information may be used - for financial gain, to cove ...more
Sep 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
I hated it. This book is written for AP Government students. As an adult with a STEM background I was NOT the intended audience, as a child this might have warranted 3-4 stars. I don't require definitions of facts vs. opinions. I learned nothing and wasted my time.

Beyond my complaint about not being the target audience. The author clearly had her own biases and this was written to support those biases. She's pro women's rights and anti-Trump.

Also I didn't enjoy the narrator Erin Dion.

If I was
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good resource for all ages (it feels like it's targeted at teens, but is definitely accessible to adults) that provides a good historical grounding for Fake News as well as tangible advice for how to modify your social media process to be a better informed consumer and distributor. I appreciate that Cindy Otis recognizes how much effort the analysis will take, but also explains why it is so important. The book also provides quizzes and tests that provide good practical tests of th ...more
Rebecca Dartnall
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Written for an audience of 13-18 yr olds by a CIA analyst, and it couldn't be a more timely book. Part One provides historical examples of "fake news" or manipulated stories/reports (from ancient history onward), and explores the terminology in this field. Sec 3 of this Part One addresses what happens when the world "went digital" and includes ch 12: "Fake News Goes Viral" and ch 13: "Fake News Takes Over Elections". Part Two is entitled "How We Fight Back!" and explores facts vs opinions, bias, ...more
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
In this book we learn almost immediately that while Fake News as a term may be relatively new, as a concept it is centuries old. Otis goes on to walk us through the ages using well known newsworthy events and showing how the reporting was manipulated.

“Advances in technology and the creation of social media have allowed fake news to spread like never before, making social media like a megaphone for fake news. And that is where the real danger lies.”

The author gives examples, checklists, fact che
Arielle Sherriff
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great foundational resource in understanding fake news for readers of any age. Otis does a great job in providing select historical examples of fake news as well as explaining the difference between facts and opinions, exploring our own and other's biases, and giving concrete tips on how to spot fake news articles, statistics/polling, and videos/photos. The prose is clear and engaging throughout the entirety of the book; making it accessible to a wide range of readers. I'm already ...more
Lisa Kizer
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
The whole time I was reading this I kept wishing this was already set up as lesson plans I could do with my middle school students. The author looked at the history, the outcomes, and even current events. I believe she was fair in her assessment on past definitions of the term fake news as compared to how it is being defined nowadays. I will have to actually look for this as a text copy to see if I can somehow come up with actually up with those lesson plans I so want (I 'read' this as an audio) ...more
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a very useful read. Before, I had no idea that so many stories taught in history are actually fake news from the past. Clickady click click is easy to do on catchy titles. The book lists many ways to think about different news and how to check stuff. It got me thinking, could factually correct stuff be written in a way fake news are written and would they then get as viral as the fake stuff?
Staci Vought
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting overview of history under the lens of fake news & how to has affected us since the beginning of time. The stories were interesting and woven throughout the book to make it engaging. The actual information about spotting fake news was okay - it mirrors what we teach kids, but was rushed together in the last half of the book and makes it seem like a lot of work to spot fake than the average citizen or teenager would ever do. ...more
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you use social media YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK! I thought I was a pretty savvy researcher immune to the foibles of falling for fake news but was astonished that even I had fallen victim more than once! The book is engaging, entertaining, filled with interesting facts and very helpful information. A must read for sure.
Aug 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Otis, a CIA analyst, has written a book for presumably high school and college aged readers, who may be less informed about the state of fake news in the world today. And she has done an admirable job. However, for me personally, there were very few new revelations, especially having recently read David Shimer’s “Rigged.”
Sep 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Covering the history of fake news and disinformation, Otis also incorporates elements of being able to spot the true/false. It's a handily packaged nonfiction with organization and a pattern to the pages that flows easily.

While I didn't *love it* love it, I definitely know it's a valuable and important book to exist for teaching and learning.
Nov 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Although overall I found the book very informative and easy to read, it, like the fake news the author is examining, is biased. It seemed to me that the examples of fake news that she used were mostly political attacks by the conservatives against the left. Which makes sense since she did say one of her biases was being liberal.
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-know-stuff
A great book to send to the middle/high schoolers (or parents/grandparents) in your life. The style is lighthearted and fun, and even people who think they are already pretty savvy will learn something.
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Huntsville-Madiso...: Hoopla Pick - July 31 1 13 Jul 31, 2020 08:22AM  

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Cindy wanted to become a spy the first time she watched a James Bond film. Proving some dreams do come true, she worked at the CIA as an intelligence analyst and had a handful of other titles throughout her career.

But writing was her first love. She is thrilled that her debut book TRUE OR FALSE: A CIA ANALYST'S GUIDE TO SPOTTING FAKE NEWS comes out with Macmillan/Feiwel&Friends on July 28, 2020.


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“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
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“Jefferson, too, though a firm believer in the free press, did not always care for the consequences when they affected him personally. In 1807, he said, “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper” and that “the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them.” 0 likes
“Adams said Jefferson was an atheist and a coward. Newspapers run by Adams’s political party, the Federalists, claimed Jefferson was soft on crime. If he became president, they warned, “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood and the nation black with crimes.” 0 likes
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