Trim: 6½ x 9½
978-1-4985-9483-7 • Hardback • July 2020 • $126.00 • (£97.00)
978-1-4985-9485-1 • Paperback • February 2022 • $42.99 • (£33.00)
978-1-4985-9484-4 • eBook • July 2020 • $40.50 • (£31.00)
Bernd Kaussler is professor of political science at James Madison University.
Lars J. Kristiansen is assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies at James Madison University.
Jeffrey Delbert is associate professor in the College of Fine Arts and Communication at Lenoir-Rhyne University.
Chapter 1: Trump, Bullshit, and the Pictures in Our Heads
Chapter 2: “I think I know it better than they do”: Presidential Rhetoric and Evidence Use
Chapter 3: “Very Fine People on Both Sides:” Kategoria, Apologia, and Trump’s Response to Charlottesville
Chapter 4: “Time to start looking at the other side” : The Rhetoric of Bullshit and Polarization
Chapter 5: “American Carnage”: Governance under Trump
Chapter 6: “Great and Unmatched Wisdom”: Foreign Policy under Trump
Chapter 7: Conclusion
About the Authors
The title, and especially the subtitle, of this book by political scientist Kaussler (James Madison Univ.) and two communications professors, Kristiansen (also James Madison Univ.) and Delbert (Lenoir-Rhyne Univ.), pretty much says it all. Building on Harry G. Frankfurt's best-selling treatise On Bullshit (2005), these authors identify the genre in question with "inflated" and "hyperbolic" rhetoric, "akin to 'humbug' and lacking in substance." They further link it to a president whom they describe as overconfident, uninformed, and uninterested in truth. They illustrate with specific chapters involving Trump's response to racist actions in Charlottesville, Virginia; his attempts to polarize rather than unify the electorate; his populist attacks on the media; his contradictory defenses during his impeachment hearings; and his erratic foreign policies. This book provides an insightful, sobering account of the corrosive effects of a completely transactional view of truth that, as Mettler and Lieberman have documented in Four Threats (2020), is steadily undermining democracy in the US. . . The authors conclude that if we remain "without better crap detection," other politicians will adopt similar rhetorical forms. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals. General readers.— Choice Reviews