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Pub Date: June 13th, 1980
Publisher: Lippincott & Crowell

If you think this skeptical age fathered the art of debunkery, list that notion under the rubric of ""misinformation."" Fallacies and delusions have long been demolished--by Charles Mackay and Bergen Evans, by Sir James Frazer and Dr. Robert Benchley--to the edification of eager, smarty-pants readers. Burnam, who recently presented us with The Dictionary of Misinformation, now supplies more antidotes to gullibility--arranged in a mock-utilitarian alphabetic fashion, maybe for later review of a favorite item. Included, with genial impartiality, are the already well-established (in Brazil the folks speak Portuguese, not Spanish), the pedantic (hoi polloi doesn't take the definite article; but ""there are probably more important things in the world to worry about,"" admits the author), and a gaggle of good reading (featuring such modern folk tales as the Dead Grandma in the Station Wagon and The Vanishing Hotel Room). Marco Polo, says the happy spoilsport, didn't discover pasta in old Cathay after all, and, you should know, there's no such place as New York City. (Benchley could have told us that.) Eponymics and biology, etiology and etymology, history and golf (a particular Burnam favorite)--there's some hot new nonsense for every taste. A learned fellow, indeed. ""Excessive reading does not harm the eyes,"" he says, ""nor does reading in bed."" Believe him and snuggle down with Burnham's latest wrap-up.