May 19, 2010

The Virtues of Mendacity- On Lying in Politics by Martin Jay

Allan Megill, of the University of Virginia, lauded The Virtues of Mendacity as a book that will, "surely become a primary reference point for anyone who wants to think seriously about lies and lying."

I agree. This book is well-organized, well-researched, and well-written. It is not, however, a book one reads for pleasure. It is a reference book.

The book is organized into three simple chapters: On Lying, On the Political, and On Lying In Politics. (As a side note, I would have enjoyed the book more if it had contained subsections within those three chapters simply because it would have given me more visual and mental breaks. )

In the end this is a sound piece of scholarly work that those in politics and academia will appreciate.


After having my husband read my review I have been thoroughly scolded for not being honest enough. Ironic, I know.

Okay, honestly...this book was boring. I made a commitment to read it. A hard working publicist took the time and money to send me a copy of this book. Had it not been for those factors I wouldn't have finished it. In retrospect even my review of this book was boring, for that I apologize.

The reason I hesitate to share those feelings is that this isn’t a bad book. I don’t believe it was written with the intent to entertain. It was written to inform and to ask people to think more about our culture in regards to political mendacity.

If I were still in college and preparing to write a paper on lies, lying, or politics this would be the first book cited in my paper. I guess what I am trying to say is that this book has a place. However, that place is not on my lap.


  1. Nom de Plume: Your review of Martin Jay's book isn't boring; it's too short to be boring. The problem is that you don't say anything about the book.

  2. she said plenty about the book. Namely, it's boring and stay away from it.

  3. Anonymous #1- I'm sorry that you don't feel my review was detailed enough. This book was difficult to review because it is pretty much a reference book. To give what I feel to be a straightforward, honest, and concise review I avoided quoting the book. Much like trying to review an encyclopedia all I can really tell you is the subject matter and my opinion of how it is presented.

    The subject matter: the nature of politics and how it lends itself to accepting lies as part of the territory.

    My opinion of the presentation: Verbose and not at all relatable for the average person. Unless you are preparing to write a dissertation on lying and it's place in the political arena you will not have a use for this book.

    If you have specific questions, please ask them here and I will be more than happy to answer them for you. I appreciate your feedback on my review and I will take it into consideration in the future. However, I pride myself on being concise so I can't promise my reviews will be long but I will try to be more detailed.


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