The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News
Kevin Young
Available for purchase on September 4, 2018

Finalist for the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism
Finalist for the 2017 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award
Winner of the 2018 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Nonfiction

“Enthralling and essential. . . . Bunk is a sort of book that comes along rarely: the encompassing survey of some vast realm of human activity, encyclopedic but also unapologetically subjective.”—Jonathan Lethem, The New York Times Book Review

About the Book

Now in paperback, Kevin Young’s acclaimed Bunk, longlisted for the National Book Award in Nonfiction
Award-winning poet and critic Kevin Young traces the history of the hoax as a peculiarly American phenomenon—the legacy of P. T. Barnum’s“humbug” culminating with the currency of Donald J. Trump’s “fake news.” Young then turns to the hoaxing of history and the ways that forgers, plagiarists, and frauds invent backstories and falsehoods to sell us lies about themselves and about the world in our own time, from pretend Native Americans Grey Owl and Nasdijj to the deadly imposture of Clark Rockefeller, from the made-up memoirs of James Frey to the identity theft of Rachel Dolezal. Disturbingly, Young finds that fakery is woven from stereotype and suspicion, with race being the most insidious American hoax of all. Brilliant and timely, Bunk asks what it means to live in a post-factual world of “truthiness” where everything is up for interpretation and everyone is subject to a contagious cynicism that damages our ideas of reality, fact, and art.

Additional Reviews

“There’s so much to enjoy and learn from in this encyclopedic anatomy of American imposture and chicanery.”The Washington Post

“Wild, incisive, exhilarating. . . . Young writes with unbridled enthusiasm, a showman’s conviction, and a carny’s canny, telling a story that at times defies belief. And every word of it is true.”Los Angeles Times

“[A] fascinating, dense, and hyper-referential look into the strange forms and contours of our indigenous cultural b.s.”O, The Oprah Magazine