The Lies They Tell Reviewed By Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.
He has been reviewing books for the past fifteen years when he retired from the legal profession.
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Author: Tuvia Tenenbom
Publisher: Gefen Publishing House
Following his success with Spiegel Bestsellers Catch the Jew, which was about Israel and I Sleep in Hitler's Room, which was about Germany, Tuvia Tenenbom is at it again with The Lies They Tell: A Journey though America.
Traveling across the US of A for six months Tenenbom encounters dozens of people as he endeavors to understand the character of the country and its inhabitants. The result is not exactly a pretty picture of the Land of the Free where, as he discovers, a quarter of the world's prison population is safely behind bars.
It is an America that he did not wish to find or envision but one where racism as well as hatefulness is everywhere and unfortunately where citizens are bound to destroy themselves. As pointed out, its society may be diverse but this does not mean the absence of segregation. We are informed that when we refer to the American “melting pot” we have to admit that it succeeded in forcing individuals to forsake their ancestor's culture, but it has, according to Tenenbom given them nothing worthwhile in return. “America's democracy succeeded in instilling fear in the minds of its citizens and effectively created a stench of segregation that reaches the highest heavens.”
Scraping the surface a little, Tenenbom discovers that many Americans are afraid to speak up when first approached, even the homeless. In fact, as Tenenbom states, as strange as it might sound, Americans would sooner drop missiles on a foreign country than tell you who they voted for in the last election. They refuse to discuss politics and religion with him “because they are afraid that the artificial glue that binds them together will dissolve the moment they start talking and reveal what they really think. Who are they? Not one society, but many-competing societies, each one afraid of the other.” Another revelation, and as Tenenbom remarks, there is a high degree of patriotism found in the country and by some strange psychological coincidence many Americans convince themselves that they are the only true guardians of culture and morality. This in turn gives them the right to invade foreign countries that do not abide by their sense of morality and ethics. “Knowingly or not, they rush to commit and undertake every failed deed ever committed by the Europeans.”
One recurring question Tenenbom throws in concerns climate change and the Israel-Palestine question and it surprising the number of people that know very little about either or both of these subjects yet are eager to voice their uneducated opinions and sometimes antisemitic feelings.
The Lies They Tell: A Journey though America is quite timely in view of the recent election of Donald Trump and perhaps explains why a good percentage of the American population voted for him. In a country fraught with strong divisive opinions, it is welcome to hear an outsider's perspective who tells it like it is without sugar-coating and no doubt will inspire readers to reflect on just what is going on in the US of A. It should be mentioned, that Tenenbom does provide a qualification to his observations when he asserts that they are based on his own personal experiences and apply to the majority of Americans, but not to all of them. “Not 'all' Americans, just like any other grouping of people, are the same.”