They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions

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9780195064698: They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions

Abraham Lincoln never said, "You cannot fool all the people all the time." Thomas Jefferson never said, "That government is best which governs least." And Horace Greeley never said, "Go west, young man." In They Never Said It, Paul F. Boller, Jr. and John George examine hundreds of misquotations, incorrect attributions, and blatant fabrications, outlining the origins of the quotes and revealing why we should consign them to the historical trashcan.
Many of the misquotes are quite harmless. Some are inadvertent misquotes that have become popular (Shakespeare actually said, "The best part of valor is discretion"), others, the inventions of reporters embellishing a story (Franklin Roosevelt never opened a speech to a DAR group with the salutation, "My fellow immigrants"). But some of the quotes, such as Charles Darwin's supposed deathbed recantation of evolution, falsify the historical record with their blatant dishonesty. And other chillingly vicious ones, filled with virulent racial and religious prejudices, completely distort the views of the person supposedly quoted and spread distrust and hatred among the gullible. These include the forged remarks attributed to Benjamin Franklin that Jews should be excluded from America and the fabricated condemnation of Catholics attributed to Lincoln.
An entertaining and thought-provoking book, They Never Said It covers a great deal of history and sets it right. Going beyond a mere catalog of popular misconceptions, Boller and George reveal how rightists and leftists, and atheists and evangelists all have at times twisted and even invented the words of eminent figures to promote their own ends. The ultimate debunking reference, it perfectly complements handbooks of quotations.

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About the Author:


Paul F. Boller, Jr. is Professor of History Emeritus at Texas Christian University. His many books include the bestselling Presidential Anecdotes, Presidential Campaigns, and Presidential Wives.

John George is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Central State University in Oklahoma. He is the author of Public Opinion: Coalitions, Elites and Masses (with Harry Holloway).

Review:


"[H]ighly amusing romp through the history of spurious quote-mongering...Boller and George not only perform a valuable scholarly service, they also give us a first-rate detective story."--George E. Hopkins, International Social Science Review


"This book full of spurious quotes and deliberate misattributions has a lesson for anyone who has ever nodded admiringly at a well-turned quotation that makes a partisan point with stunning effect. The lesson is to be wary of just such marvelous distillations of political wisdom. They're probably fakes...This is...a serious book, written with high good humor and solid research."--The Washington Times


"An infectiously browsable book."--Booklist


"One of the most pleasant surprises of the year...Not only informative but great fun."--The Newark Star-Ledger


"A mother lode for writers, journalists, teachers, and others who depend on classic quotes to make their point...Not only painstakingly accurate but a joy to read."--The Oklahoma Observer


"Fascinating reading. The authors have done their research well. This book is a must for political writers who want to avoid an embarrassing predicament, and it makes a great book for browsers."--The Kansas City Star


"Entertaining"--The Plain Dealer


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