Sunday, August 07, 2011

the whole truth by David Baldacci .

The rear cover of this novel reads...

Nicolas Creel, a super-rich arms dealer, decides that the best way to boost his business is to start a new cold war - and he won't let anything or anyone get in his way.

...the whole truth has 545 pages and was written in 2008. This book is a conspiracy and it is one of the better ones. It is an enjoyable tale and is one of David's better novels. David Baldacci can write some very good novels but the last novel of his I read, Stone Cold , left me rather disappointed and I voted it a FAIL with only 2 stars on Good Reads . Thankfully the whole truth see's David back to his quality writing form!

The Author's Note at the end of this book explains this story which I think was inspired by the events leading up to the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003...

The term "perception management" has firmly entered the public lexicon. The Department of Defense even defines perception management in one of it's manuals, so the military folks obviously take it very seriously. Many public relations firms now offer perception management, or "PM" as one of their services. However, it seems that not many of them do it very well. Apparently, if you want to be exceptional at creating the Big Lie, you really need to specialize in it.

PM's are not spin doctors because they don't spin facts. They create facts and then sell them to the world as the truth. And that, to quote the venerable Mark Twain (who would've has a field day with the PM guys), is the difference between the lightning bug and lightning.

Many of the techniques outlined in the story are standard operating procedures for these folks, even if I give them a different rubric. And by using these methods, a major untruth can be established so quickly and overwhelmingly across the world that no digging by anyone after the fact can make a dent in the public consciousness that it actually isn't true at all.

And that's precisely what makes it so dangerous.

...This novel gives you a good walk through in how to make a false tale believable. It fully explains the techniques of perception management, for example on page 368...

By that evening, Pender had planted in several different but highly visible places on the Internet entries implying that a drastic turn of events regarding the London Massacre was about to be revealed.

"Startling new revelations," one fake blog entry proclaimed. "Insider's account to be revealed."

Another said that "global consequences are resting on the murders in England and what really happened there and why." and that it was connected to another recent murder in London. And that the story would be revealed in full any minute and the truth would be astonishing.

Pender had had these statements placed on sites that he knew most newspapers, including the scribe , trolled hour by hour for material.

...But our heroes are an intelligence agent called Shaw and a journalist called Katie James. Together Shaw and James spot some tiny errors in the detail of these lies and save the day. David's usual trademark of plenty of action that is quick and fast, moves this tale along at a fast pace. What is nice is the detail concerning perception management and our security services. This novel is not a local drama but a tale spread across a wide range of countries as they become a part of this conspiracy. The great attention to detail makes this story a joy to read and shows the huge amount of research David did to create such a realistic background. For example on page 363...

The cafe was near King's Cross Station. She sat outside and waited for him, watching the "bendy-buses," as Londoners had dubbed them. They had taken the place of double-deckers and were basically two buses joined together by a flex joint. They were not liked very much by Londoners because they often clogged the city's narrow intersections when making a turn.

That's my life, thought Katie. I've got a dozen bendy-buses blocking every possible direction I can take.

...All the main characters in the whole truth are not nice people, even our heroes are rather rough. The ending of this story was a little far fetched though. However, the whole truth is a good book and I will vote it 4 stars on Good Reads. After you finish this book you wonder just how much perception management is going on today. The obvious candidates are the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. The less obvious ones are the claims made by nationwide companies regarding their punctuality of service, concerns about safety and being customer focused.
I agree with your little "dig" at the nationwide company at the end Steve. It's very true and I agree wholeheartedly
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