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Publisher's Summary

New York Times correspondent Frank Rich examines the trail of fictions manufactured by the Bush administration from 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina, exposing the most brilliant spin campaign ever waged.

When America was attacked on 9/11, its citizens almost unanimously rallied behind its new, untested president as he went to war. What they didn't know at the time was that the Bush administration's highest priority was not to vanquish Al Qaeda, but to consolidate its own power at any cost. It was a mission that could be accomplished only by a propaganda presidency in which reality was steadily replaced by a scenario of the White House's own invention; and such was that scenario's devious brilliance that it fashioned a second war against an enemy that did not attack America on 9/11, intimidated the Democrats into incoherence and impotence, and turned a presidential election into an irrelevant referendum on macho imagery and same-sex marriage.

As only he can, acclaimed New York Times columnist Frank Rich delivers a step-by-step chronicle of how skillfully the White House built its house of cards and how the institutions that should have exposed these fictions, the mainstream news media, were too often left powerless by the administration's relentless attack machine, their own post-9/11 timidity, and an unending parade of self-inflicted scandals (typified by those at The New York Times).

Demonstrating the candor and conviction that have made him one of our most trusted and incisive public voices, Rich brilliantly and meticulously illuminates the White House's disturbing love affair with "truthiness", and the ways in which a bungled war, a seemingly obscure Washington leak, and a devastating hurricane at long last revealed the man-behind-the-curtain and the story that had so effectively been sold to the nation, as god-given patriotic fact.

©2006 Frank Rich; (P)2006 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A scathing rebuke of the current administration's definition of truth." (Kirkus Reviews)
"A caustic, hard-hitting indictment of the Bush administration." (Publishers Weekly)

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  • Overall

Listen to the facts, forgive the edge

Frank Rich has begun a process that will be repeated by many in years to come - reconstructing the process by which the Bush 43 Administration led the country to war in Iraq. The painstaking process that Rich has used to produce his work is undeniable. Unfortunately, his anger drives a tone (perhaps justified) that can distract from the facts themselves. However if one puts aside Rich's edgey tone, it becomes hard to avoid the intensity of emotion that the book elicits by its nature. In the future, Congressional Hearings will do their job, and historians will do theirs. In that context, Rich's book will stand as an effort of distinct importance to those who want to know how things started in the words of those who spoke, with all the citations for easy reference. For now, you simply won't believe your ears.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


This book offers a quite candid look at the policy of double-speak, the insincerity of this administration and the many sound-bytes that inflamed and called-to-arms a hell-storm that America will be dealing with for years to come. This is a compilation of all the greatest hits of the Bush Admin. talking points and the elaboration of its content from the Admin's highest ranking officials. The summation of this story is great..When some one tells you how hard he/she is working, he/she is probably pulling your leg. If this administration has achieved one thing, it is making sure the public will never trust its gov't again.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John S.
  • Seattle, WA United States
  • 10-15-06

Great narration!

I firmly believe that I would not have enjoyed this book nearly as much in print. Mr. Gardner does an outstanding job conveying the author's sarcasm, without sounding shrill.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


This is one of the most riveting books I have ever heard! Frank Rich puts you right in the middle of the decision, you feel as if you are a part of the process. Once you start listening, you will never find a good place to stop until it is done!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Robert
  • San Antonio, TX, United States
  • 11-06-13

No-Holds-Barred, just call it like it is

What did you love best about The Greatest Story Ever Sold?

The detailed descriptions of events were clear and concise with a slight amount of humour. The writer took time to consider alternate viewpoints with appropriate comment but zeroed in for the kill with inescapable logic.

What did you like best about this story?

The storyline is scary, real scary. This is our government engaging in a full out assault to cover the agenda of the powerful few. While it did a masterful job of painting the who did what, it leaves the reader hanging on who was pulling the strings. Was this just Cheney's manipulation for the sake of Halliburton ? The story seems much larger than that. I hope the writer will follow up with his analysis of the behind-the-scenes picture.

Have you listened to any of Grover Gardner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Have not listened to any others, but will.

If you could give The Greatest Story Ever Sold a new subtitle, what would it be?

Believe us ! We are your rulers ! We know what is best for you !

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Style without content

This is a subject matter for which people in the know have published a shelf full of books jam-packed with content. "Greatest Story" is a stylistic REVIEW from the famed Times Critic. You can hear chapters about how "Chicago" won the Oscar during the war, and what similarities that films plot has to the the image selling of the war by the administration.
Rich knows about as much as a media critic would know about the Iraq war. If you have read three or four other books on the subject, you know more than that.
If you are reading the recent Fiasco, Against all Enemies, and Woodward's offerings on the subject, style without content seemed to be unnecessary within the Iraq War Genre.

5 of 22 people found this review helpful