Wildfire has acquired the second book of Humans author Tom Phillips, looking at "the ingenious ways, throughout history, we've managed to avoid telling the truth".
In Truth: A Brief History of Lies, Deception and Total Bullsh*t, Philips - who is the editor of independent fact-checking organisation Full Fact - will tell "the hilarious and bonkers story of how humans have spent history lying to each other – and ourselves".
The book's aim is to debunk the myth that there ever was a golden age of truth-telling while asking readers how and if we can move towards "a truthier future". "It demolishes the idea that we’re living in a 'post-truth age'… because that assumes there was a 'truth age' in the first place," explains Philips.
Illustrating the point, covered in the book are anecdotes and episodes in history such as Benjamin Franklin’s deliberate dissemination of anti-British ‘fake news’ in 1782 and the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, as well as stories about an ancient Greek writer "who was so annoyed by bullsh*t he invented science fiction just to take the piss out of it" and "the quack doctor who ran for office based on his skill at transplanting goat testicles into humans".
Philips' new book follows his debut Humans: A Brief History of How We F*cked It All Up (Wildfire, July 2018), which has now sold in 29 territories across the globe, selling particularly well through WH Smiths Travel.
Ella Gordon acquired world rights from Antony Topping at Greene and Heaton. She said: "Tom Phillips has done it again with this timely and hilarious journey through the history of human lies, spin, delusion and utter boll*cks. This is the stranger-than-fiction material that readers of Humans loved, and with truth at the forefront of public consciousness, this book couldn’t be coming at a better time."
Last year, in wake of Brexit and Donald Trump's presidency, a number of authors chose to explore the idea that we may have come into a "post truth" age. Among these authors were BBC "Newsnight" presenter Evan Davis with Post Truth: Why We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It (Ebury), Matthew d'Ancona with Post-Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back (also Ebury), journalist James Ball with Post-Truth: How Bullsh*t Conquered the World (Biteback), and Philosophers' Magazine editor Julian Baggini with A Short History of Truth: Consolations for a Post-Truth World (Quercus).
Wildfire will publish Truth: A Brief History of Lies, Deception and Total Bullsh*t in trade paperback in July 2019, to be followed with a paperback publication in Spring 2020.