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September 14, 1990 - Image 109

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-09-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I FICTION

THE ART OF

Author Hirsh Goldberg has chronicled
man's penchant for falsehoods in
The Book of Lies.

ALAN H. FEILER

Special to The Jewish News

S

ince he wrote The
Book of Lies, M. Hirsh
Goldberg says it's
hard to get anyone to believe
him.
But the author and public
relations man — who doesn't
resemble Joe Isuzu or Jon
Lovitz's "Liar" from
"Saturday Night Live,"
—calls himself a fairly hon-
est guy.
"I'm a very poor liar," says
Goldberg, who quotes psy-
chologist Dr. Joyce Brothers
in his latest book as saying
people tell about 200 lies
daily. "I try to keep my lying
down to about 10 or 15 times
a day."
The Book of Lies, publish-
ed by William Morrow and
Co., serves as a testimony to
humanity's penchant for
falsehoods, fibs, trickery and
deceit. Written in the same
haimish, breezy style as his
three previous books, most
notably The Jewish Connec-
tion, Goldberg's Lies offers
amusing but factual anec-
dotes about deception's role
in world history.
"People need to be made
more aware of the lies
perpetrated against them,"
Goldberg says. "There are a
lot of dishonest people out
there, and a lot of people who
fall prey to the scam artists.

We tend to think there are
groups protecting us. And
that's not always true. Peo-
ple are being victimized
right and left."
Diet gimmicks, credit
repair scams, medical frauds
and advertising schemes are
a few examples of dishonesty
and subterfuge illustrated by
Goldberg in The Book of
Lies.
The 270-page book also
analyzes how lying largely
contributed to the rise of
Hitler and the fall of Euro-
pean Jewry, as well as other
historic episodes of political
chicanery. In addition,
Goldberg takes a look at
lying within the corporate
and entertainment fields,
offering concise anecdotes on
deception involving the
famous and the not-so-
famous.
Despite the cynical nature
of the book's subject matter,
Lies never falls into traps of
advocating misanthropy and
universal distrust. Rather,
says Goldberg, the book
serves as a tribute to hon-
esty and fairness while
observing the deceptive
tendencies of human nature.
Goldberg's book also ad-
vises readers on how to spot
a liar.
"People should be skep-
tical rather than cynical of
all the lying going on around
them," says Goldberg, who
is president of a Baltimore

public relations agency.
"Because I'm in the com-
munication business, I've
seen how my field can be
abused. One walks a fine
line when one tries to be in-
formational and per-
suasive."
A former press secretary to
some leading Maryland poli-
ticians, Goldberg says his
sources for Lies included
newspapers, magazines, en-
cyclopedias and books that
he's collected throughout his
career. Describing himself
as a creative writer who uses
facts, Goldberg says he's col-
lected ironic stories, bizarre
tales and facts from publica-
tions since he was a child.
"I was fascinated with
Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not as
a kid," he says.
Although the book is not
overloaded with lengthy
footnotes, Goldberg says
every claim in the book is
documented by at least one
source — usually worked
into the text.
"Calling people liars is one
of the strongest things you
can call someone, so I tried
to make sure all of my
sources were credible," he
says.
Upon finishing The Jewish
Connection and his second
book, Just Because They're
Jewish (1979), Goldberg says
he decided to work on a book
on lying.
"After gathering informa-

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

109

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