The Death of Truth by Michiko Kakutani: Review

Title: The Death of Truth

Author: Michiko Kakutani

Publishing House: William Collins

Pages: 173

Price: Rs 599

“Truth goes to the gallows In our times, so shallow” – William Cowper, A dirge on Truth

Is Truth the monopoly of a select few?’ asked J F Kennedy. No, it belongs to all and is no one’s prerogative. Michiko Kakutani has emphasised this in her slim, but substantially sumptuous book, The Death of Truth.

It is a brilliant book and must be read by those who demand only the unalloyed truth and nothing else. Even those people, who are happy with partial or compromised truth, will find the tone and tenor of Kakutani quite appealing. But is this Truth only confined to the West? Though the erudite journalist has written it in the western context, the Truth of it applies to the whole world and the entire mankind.

Aren’t we seeing the strangulation of Truth in this country? Isn’t Truth being strangled and stymied in our neighbouring countries? As we say in Urdu, ‘Haq ka sar humesha daar par’ (The Truth is forever on the scaffold). Truth everywhere has become a rare entity.

The writer has analysed as to why and how Truth has become so endangered a species. This book requires a greater orbit and ambit for the culmination of Truth. The journalist author has contextualised it more from the US angle and Trump’s volatile regime and shown how values and Truth have crumbled.

Here one must pause and rethink as to what makes Truth. Truth is the cumulative result of values put together. Kakutani rues the erosion of values and the subsequent death of Truth. A dubious political facade, a false social edifice and a flawed governmental ruse have undermined Truth so seriously and severely that it’s now breathing it’s last and is almost moribund, if not completely dead and buried.

The writer has penetratingly diagnosed the roots of our social and political order. Her book has expostulated certain established regimental Truths. The author is surgical in her assessment of the geopolitical scenario and clinical in providing remedies to it.

She doesn’t claim to give a panacea but paves the way for the ensuing generations to find one such solution that can put an end to the socio-political ills, myths and systematically structured state lies. This book is for those, who value Truth and want to see it re-established on our troubled horizons and greying firmament.

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