Hippo Eats Dwarf : A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S. , by Alex Boese -- Book Review

Book Classification : Current Events - Popular Culture - Humor - Curiosities - - Hoaxes - Frauds - Practical Jokes - Urban Myths - Parodies

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Hippo Eats Dwarf : A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S. , by Alex Boese
Paperback - 288 pages
First Edition, April 1, 2006
Published by Harvest Books - a division of Harcourt

ISBN 0156030837
ISBN-10: 0-15-603083-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-15-603083-0

Book Review

Hippo Eats Dwarf by Alex Boese combines humor with facts that a conscientious person needs to know.

Just as Al Franken and other writers mix humor and serious social commentary, here we have a book that looks at hoaxes, pranks, frauds and urban legends, while taking the liberty to segue from that which will make us giggle to that which should make us scream about the injustice. Buy the book
Alex Boese
Hippo Eats Dwarf : A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S.

To read the truth about Michael Jackson's nose, or the real organization dedicated to saving that (nonexistent) endangered species called the tree octopus, is simply entertaining. On the other hand, the purview of the uses of political propaganda, which range from those of "dirty tricks" campaigns to those of totalitarian governments, can be genuinely disturbing.

"A delicious compendium of fakery."

-- Publishers Weekly

The fact that a group of people have organized the Society for the Protection and Preservation of the Fruitcake is funny, but knowledge of the various kinds of deception used by the "objective" news media to manipulate our thinking is less funny than it is useful knowledge. The wacky facts and rumors about certain celebrities are amusing, but the "irregularities" in the process of electing our public representatives are facts we ought to know, and anything but amusing. The web site selling dehydrated water is intended to be a joke, but there are many retail scams intended to steal your money. In this way, Alex Boese, founder of curator of the Museum of Hoaxes in San Diego, California, established in 1997, debunks them all, whether that makes you laugh or groan.

Unlike the author's previous book, The Museum of Hoaxes , which contained many historical accounts, such as the 1909 Piltdown Man hoax that falsified the record of the evolution of the human species, the newer book considers only the hoaxes of today and recent years.

From subliminal advertising, to surgical look-alikes, to the counterfeit $200 bill with Bush's picture on it, historian of hoaxes Alex Boese guides us on a fascinating tour through the wide world of bunk.

If I were you, I'd check here before buying the software which is supposed to make your computer emit a sound that repels mosquitos. And if someone offers you a bet about whether Cher really had one of her ribs removed to make her waist thinner, I'd definitely want to check here first. Finally, don't judge Bill Clinton too harshly until you have read his side of the story in the matter of the true meaning of "sex". As Mr. Clinton clarified for us, "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

This may not save you any money, but you'll even learn the latest tricks for when you're on a blind date and you want to dump your partner. (On the other hand, maybe it will save you some money :-)

The title of the book comes from a 1999 headline in the Sydney Daily Telegraph. The newspaper mistook a joke about a circus catastrophe for real news, and reported it faithfully. I guess, as Boese says in the introduction, "We live in a hippo-eats-dwarf world."

Occasionally featured on CNN and in the New York Times, "hoaxpert" Alex Boese has a master's degree in the history of science from the University of California, San Diego.

Book review by Mike Lepore for crimsonbird.com

Many illustrations; 5-page 3-column index

Table of Contents
1. Birth5
2. Bodies21
3. Romance39
4. Food63
5. Photography84
6. The World Wide Web96
7. Email114
8. eBay128
9. Technology135
10. The News147
11. Entertainment166
12. Advertising184
13. Business207
14. Politics228
15. War250
16. Death259

From the publisher's press release

Meat harvested from genetically engineered trees!

Huge mutant cats roam the land!

Haunted kitchen appliances auction on eBay!

Cell phones implanted in teeth!

Interstate 69 renamed the more "moral sounding" Interstate 63!

Bonsai kittens grown in jars!

Human-flavored tofu makes a tasty snack!

Or is it all just b.s.? Don't be a victim of today's Misinformation Age! Read Hippo Eats Dwarf , the essential guide to navigating reality -- from birth to death to eBay and beyond.

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Hippo Eats Dwarf : A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S.
by Alex Boese