How to Win the War on Truth | Review
How to Win the War on Truth: An Illustrated Guide to How Mistruths Are Sold, Why They Stick, and How to Reclaim Reality
written by Samuel C. Spitale, illustrated by Allan Whincup
Quirk Books, $24.99
Older Teens and up
This copiously illustrated book covers propaganda—what it is, well-known examples, and how to understand and avoid it. Related topics, such as public relations, implicit biases, and underlying economic motivations, come into play as well.
There’s a lot of information here. It’s all about showing readers why people believe things that aren’t true, who benefits from that, and the importance of media literacy. Living in a post-truth society puts democracy in danger, thus the book’s mission is to educate readers to recognize and fight propaganda with plenty of political examples.
The spot illustrations clarify points and make them memorable. The examples of historical marketing and publicity stunts are fascinating and entertaining. Readers learn about topics ranging from branding to human psychology and how our brains process data, as well as techniques of emotional manipulation, including appeals to prejudice.
The anti-big business, pro-fact approach would be perfectly suited to older teen readers, who should love the thrill of learning more about the behind-the-scenes of how the world works. “Secret knowledge” has quite the appeal when someone’s learning to make their own opinions.
Filed under: Reviews, Young Adult
Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages ComicsWorthReading.com, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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