• The Death of Truth

  • Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump
  • By: Michiko Kakutani
  • Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
  • Length: 3 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (237 ratings)

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The Death of Truth

By: Michiko Kakutani
Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

New York Times Editors' Choice

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic comes an impassioned critique of America’s retreat from reason

We live in a time when the very idea of objective truth is mocked and discounted by the occupants of the White House. Discredited conspiracy theories and ideologies have resurfaced, proven science is once more up for debate, and Russian propaganda floods our screens. The wisdom of the crowd has usurped research and expertise, and we are each left clinging to the beliefs that best confirm our biases.   

How did truth become an endangered species in contemporary America? This decline began decades ago, and in The Death of Truth, former New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani takes a penetrating look at the cultural forces that contributed to this gathering storm. In social media and literature, television, academia, and politics, Kakutani identifies the trends - originating on both the right and the left - that have combined to elevate subjectivity over factuality, science, and common values. And she returns us to the words of the great critics of authoritarianism, writers like George Orwell and Hannah Arendt, whose work is newly and eerily relevant.   

With remarkable erudition and insight, Kakutani offers a provocative diagnosis of our current condition and points toward a new path for our truth-challenged times.

©2018 Michiko Kakutani (P)2018 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

“Kakutani has written the first great book of the Trump administration. The Death of Truth is a fiery polemic against the president and should go down as essential reading. In nine exquisitely crafted broadsides, the Pulitzer winner calls upon her vast knowledge of literature, philosophy, and politics to serve up a damning state of the union.”(Rolling Stone)

“Dazzling.... Kakutani’s slender, fiery new book...could have been written only by someone who reads more, and retains more, than most mere mortals.” (Time

“A pointed and penetrating book.... The Death of Truth offers a clear-eyed, eloquent assessment of the current predicament.... This book is essential for understanding the corrosive effects of an ongoing, relentless assault on truth.” (The San Francisco Chronicle)

What listeners say about The Death of Truth

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  • Overall
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Prescient Account of the Mechanics of Tyranny

The author organizes and presents the recent history of disinformation practiced by fascists and other autocracies. She shows clearly how Trump and his abettors are a development from that tradition, and makes clear why the nation has diverged into bitterly opposed camps.

8 people found this helpful

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important points to be aware of

the narrator was a bit more dramatic than I would have preferred for the reading of an essay. But I got over it.

Good discussion of just how serious it is that Trump and his allies are destroying the concept of objective truth. I liked the discussion of the roots of this in postmodernism, although the author also distinguishes early postmodernism from the misuse of its frameworks by the politicians who use relativism to manipulate the population for their own ends.

5 people found this helpful

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Opposite Day? or (more likely) Intentional Deception

This is the most in your face utterly and ridiculously wrong book I have ever read. Reading this is giving experience of following a blind leader. The damage that it can do is limited only by the blindness of the reader, and because it gives the impression of being written by an authority on truth, it is possibly believable to someone who is a novice at facing reality and discerning falsehood from truth. Anyone wishing to read this must be sure to pray for guidance from the spirit of truth in order to not be misled down a rosy path to destruction. .

The final punishment in THIS life of those who are obstinate in choosing evil is the perception of evil as good and good as evil. The author of this book is the best example I’ve seen in a long time besides the democratic party leaders, especially the Clintons and the Obamas and their lying and conniving minions.

The final punishment in the next life needs no introduction for people like this. They live only for what they can get in this life, with no regard for the next.

5 people found this helpful

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Biased and Hypocritical

There were good points mentioned but unfortunately the author is what she disparaged others about that oppose her views. The POTUS hatred and disdain for any and all Republicans is blanket discrimination in full bloom. It is sad this intellectual author is unable to separate her emotions from her work. Bottom line, Hate President Trump, Republicans bad and are mindless drones, and Democrats are good, perfect, have committed nothing wrong, and has never used the same political rhetoric and tactics presented.



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Very good but depressing and short.

very good read but the topic of how we are sliding into an authoritarian regime is depressing. it kinda reads like a college essay. I wish it would have addressed more about... what can be done? what steps would have stopped the historical fascists cited?

still a good and quick read.

2 people found this helpful

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Everything is possible, nothing is trustworthy

You thought you were fighting an opponent. But you are not. You are not fighting someone who is trying to win, but someone who thrives on chaos and cynicism.

2 people found this helpful

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Another confusion of truth, lies, and viewpoint

Another writer confuses the postmodern viewpoint approach for a difference of truth and lies. Interrogating history through the lens of multiculturalism did not lead us down the path of relative truth. Learn what propaganda truly means before blaming postmodernism for Fox News.

Three stars because there were things that made me think in the work once I got past the other's blind spots listed above. It's a credit to the performer that I made it all the way through this.

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an excellent analysis of the increasing

irrelevancy of objective facts in modern political discourse. a sad book, but it is accurate.

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Inspiring book

I liked the author’s examples of how truth has been in decline, citing specific failures. Would liked to have had a chapter about how to know what the truth is or what can be done so get us there since so many people say they believe the last presidential election has been stolen, though demonstrably false.

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scary honesty

wonderful book written with a lot of spot on Research and clarity about how truth has been replaced with hype