The Death of Truth by Michiko Kakutani

The Death of Truth

A stirring and incisive manifesto on America's slide away from truth and reason. Over the last three decades, Michiko Kakutani has been thinking and writing about the demise of objective truth in popular culture, academia, and contemporary politics. In The Death of Truth, she connects the dots to reveal the slow march of untruth up to our present moment, when Red State and Blue State America have little common ground, proven science is once more...

Details The Death of Truth

TitleThe Death of Truth
Release DateJul 17th, 2018
PublisherTim Duggan Books
GenreNonfiction, Politics, History, Social Issues, Philosophy, Political Science

Reviews The Death of Truth

  • Krista
    As the former chief book critic of The New York Times, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michiko Kakutani has apparently spent the past three decades noting and commenting on the decline of “objective truth” in American literature and public life – and while she approves of this postmodern paradigm as it relates to art, she has been horrified to watch as disestablishmentarianism has migrated from a necessary Leftist pushback against the mil...
  • Mark
    I broke my rule about not reading books with Trump in the title for the ARC of this very solid extended essay by Michiko Kakutani. I particularly liked the way she incorporated her extensive reading in fiction and non-fiction to provide examples and commentary on today's politics and how we got here. Also, good footnotes provide a guide to further reading. My big reservation is that the only people who are likely to read this book are very unlike...
  • Marks54
    “The Death of Truth” is a short book that reads like a long essay. The author, Michiko Kakutani, is a well known literary critic and former chief book review editor of the New York Times. She is (or should be) a legend to anyone interested in reading good books and being highly and critically discerning about the books that one reads. It is not necessary to agree with all that she writes, although that may well happen. It is difficult to be a...
  • Kyle
    Simply put, this is essential reading if you want to understand, at least in part, the political chaos caused by technology, and perpetuated by those who harness its power for authoritarian purposes.
  • Kent Winward
    There is a certain amount of hubris in Kakutani's take that the world and politics revolves around literary trends and theories. As much as I want to buy in whole hog, the hubris is the downfall of the book. Maybe I'm getting old and cynical, but it seems much more likely (and realistic) to me that literary trends are usually in response to changes in the political and social world, not the instigators of the change. Trump seems more a product of...
  • Gary Moreau
    The truth is this: If you like literature, this is the best book you’ve read this year. If you don’t like Trump, this will be the best book you’ve read since he descended the gilded escalator. And if you don’t like the tone of modern politics, it is the best book you’ve read in a couple of decades. It’s informative, extremely well written, and there is no personal mud slinging. It’s a book about literature and will tell you more abo...
  • Peter Mcloughlin
    Very deep reading of the current crisis which has roots that go back pretty far to elements of 20th-century movements like postmodernism and the totalitarian movements from the 1930s. Postmodernism and Nihilism were the tools to pry apart institutions and the idea of the truth and replace it with a nihilistic will to power that is at the center of the far right which holds the reigns of government in the US. The carefully written philosophical pi...
  • Jennifer Malinowski
    The Death of Truth by Kakutani is a fairly short read, coming in ~200 pages. But it is densely written and full of quotes and insights from a large number of sources. To get the most from it, I recommend reading only a chapter at a time and really mulling over the premise of each before moving on. (Do as I say, not as I did.) That said, Kakutani is merely one of the newest authors in a long line in the past several decades to call out the attack ...
  • JP
    This book scares the hell out of me. The current state of the world and Nationalist leaders scares the hell out me. This book does nothing to help put those fears to rest. This book fuels these fears further. This is the point of this book. I hope it works for you how it has worked for me. There was a one star detraction in the review from a perfect score as there is no breathing room. This book is unrelenting with facts and continues to hammer a...
  • John Muriango
    Worst book ever written! Trump Derangement Syndrome is real!
  • Marc Gerstein
    Halfway through but I feel I want to put some things out there right now (and by the way, although I’m early post publication, I’m reading a purchased — pre-ordered — ebook, not the holder of an ARC copy).I’m not a Trump lover at all (I voted for Hillary), but Chapter 1 is a Trump Derangement Syndrome disaster that leaves me embarrassed; i.e. that my disdain for Trump paints me as one who would associate with that mindless rant. I reall...
  • AC
    Good for college students. I may assign it to one of my classes. Certainly not ground breaking, or analytically deep. Surveyish...
  • Mrs. Danvers
    This slim volume is one of the most depressing books I've read in recent memory because it is so incisive and straightforward. Kakutani hits the nail squarely on the head and I don't have much faith that the truth will come out of hiding any time soon.
  • Geri Degruy
    This book should be essential reading for all Americans, (and actually all people in all countries.) Kakutani explains some of the history and seeds of untruth so we can see how this all began and how it has played out in the past. Her nine brief chapters plus Epilogue systematically investigate some of the major causes of our current state of confusion about what is true, from the distortion of language to social media to "fake news" and beyond....
  • Michael Jantz
    A bit of a "preaching to the choir" situation, but if the choir is "people who read books", well of course the rest won't be able to get this message (not that they would be receptive anyways). But my point (and Kakutani's) is that that non-choir is a group of quasi-literate half-baked Postmodernists devoid of not only reason but also the usual array of qualities one might associate with decent neighborly folks (empathy, for example). The book do...
  • Joe M
    Brilliantly researched and assembled by an author who is undeniably, a legend. Sure, I could knock off a star for being a bit scattershot and slightly overwhelming, but the importance of this book in 2018 can't be understated.
  • Paul
    For my money, the most important book on politics, culture and the phenomenon of "fake news" over the past two years. Brilliantly written and argued.
  • Chris Gaither
    Like all autocrats, President Trump weaponizes language to gain and consolidate power -- to assert power over the truth itself. "The Death of Truth" tries to make sense of the Trump era by examining the cultural forces that enabled it. I had hoped for some original reporting, but instead it's a slim book of polemic. Michiko Kukutani puts to good use her three decades as chief book critic for the New York Times: She combs through academic and lite...
  • Regina Lemoine
    In clear and intelligent prose, Kakutani explains how we got from 1960's counterculture to our current, post-truth, era of Trump. Many of us were left reeling after the election, wondering how this could happen. As Kakutani points out, it happened because the conditions were ripe for it. She writes about the roles that the internet, Russians, the GOP and Democrats, news organizations, the white working class, Brietbart and Bannon, and most every ...
  • Philip Cohen
    This is an excellent book. Kakutani takes Trump seriously and considers him literally, in the context of the history of authoritarianism and America's descent, and concludes we have underestimated the risk of a 1984 scenario. Short, very readable, lots of great references to the intellectual history. Highly recommend.
  • Joan
    Amazing book, describing how the country arrived at this point of "fake news", lies, etc. Discouraging but informative.
  • Joy Korones
    Finished in four hours. Terrifying: do not read before bed! I wish I could use this in my AP classroom...
  • Steve Wilson
    Timely read in these strange political times. Well researched and annotated. While the book will not help you differentiate between fact and fiction it does provide context and background as to how truth and transparency has seemingly eroded over time. At times the book may be overly academic but overall is highly readable. Should be a must read for all who have an interest in politics but unfortunately those who most need to read this book will ...
  • Charles
    “We live in a time when the very idea of objective truth is mocked and discounted by the occupants of the White House,” Michiko Kakutani tells us in this brilliant, penetrating treatise into the rise of Trumpism, the valuation of ignorance over knowledge, emotion over reason, how racist ideologies have risen from what one might have mistakenly supposed the grave. And how Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World threaten to become, in ma...
  • Brian
    It appears they give the Pulitzer Prize to anyone now. With more than thirty years of experience in matters of Truth, Ms. Kakutani should have been able to come up with a well researched Encyclopedia on one of the most important words in the English language, for which she received a degree in at Yale University, a recipe for cliche communist tendencies (see Naked Communist). Because of this, I don't know what's more sad: her politics poisoning e...
  • Meredith
    Audiobook. Read with fierce conviction by the narrator. I don’t know what to say about this. If this book had focused its undoubted intelligence on the western trends in how information is absorbed, shared and disseminated, and on how over the past fifty years the West has started to collapse under the weight of its own bullshit, it would have been quite good. There were some decent comments on the nonsense of post-modernism. But alas, it’s a...
  • Christopher Collins
    When I heard Michiko Kakutani would no longer be reviewing books for the Times, I was initially disappointed. While I didn’t necessarily agree with her reviews, I found her reviews helpful for me in terms of raising my awareness of notable books being published. When I hard she would no longer be reviewing books to instead concentrate on politics, I was completely disappointed. In 2018, I feel like I am up to my ears in politics, whether I like...
  • Mia
    I have been avoiding any of the books about Trump since the election. Why torture myself? But I made an exception with this slender book. While Michiko Kakutani addresses his participation in the “truth decay,” the thesis of the book is more about the postmodernist dissolution of rational thought and our deconstructed perception of what is real and what is not. Anti-intellectualism, our addiction to hyper-reality and infotainment, our retreat...
  • Jennifer
    To echo many of the other reviews, the language used in this book, particularly in the beginning, is inflammatory and unlikely to hold the attention of anyone other than those most firmly on the left, the supremely open-minded, and those somewhere in between. Having said that, the chapters that follow are a fascinating (if somewhat harrowing) exploration of how we ended up where we are today - particularly in terms of political propaganda and inf...