​Kevin Young’s Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News is certainly timely: we live in an era in which alternative facts cruise alongthe misinformation superhighway at such a rate of speed that many of us are unsurprised to see that the President of the United States spewed over 2140 false or misleading statementsin his first year of office. Young’s research is careful and exhaustive, and he’s at his best at discussing the racism that underlies many of the most prominent hoaxes of the last two centuries, from P.T. Barnum’s “Feejee mermaid,” to the fraudulent memoirs of James Frey (of A Million Little Piecesinfamy) and Arraf, the Syrian-American lesbian who turned out to be a straight, white, male graduate student. At the same time, Bunk is an enormously and fundamentally flawed book.

In wake of the big media falling all over itself in slavish acclaim of New Yorker Poetry Editor Kevin Young’s recent book Bunk, a leading expert on “hoax literature” more or less takes the inept tome to the cleaners.

Bunk’s Bunk—Bill Freind Reviews Kevin Young’s Bunk