From a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic comes an impassioned critique of the West’s retreat from reason.
We live in a time when the very idea of objective truth is mocked and discounted by the US President. 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? 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 political campaigns, 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 presents a path forward for our truth-challenged times.
"The Death of Truth is destined to become the defining treatise of our age. Not only does it brilliantly and incisively diagnose the roots of our decaying social and political order; it also shows why we must rescue the truth before it is buried under a regime of lies. Everyone should read this book." (David Grann)
"Without the truth we will be neither prosperous nor virtuous nor free. This book begins the self-defence of American culture. May it reach a generation that will make narcissism passé and factuality sexy." (Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny)
"Kakutani's The Death of Truth is politically urgent and intellectually dazzling. She deftly goes behind the daily headlines to reveal the larger forces threatening democracy at home in America, and elsewhere around the globe. The result is a brilliant and fascinating call-to-arms that anyone who cares about democracy ought to read immediately." (Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money)