They Never Said It
A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading AttributionsBook - 1989
Abraham Lincoln never said, "You cannot fool all the people all the time." Thomas Jefferson never said, "That government is best which governs least." And Horace Greeley never said, "Go west, young man." In They Never Said It, Paul Boller, Jr., and John George examine hundreds ofmisquotations, incorrect attributions, and blatant fabrications, outlining the origins of the quotes and revealing why they should be consigned to the historical trashcan. Many of the misquotes are quite harmless. Some are inadvertent misquotes that have become popular (Shakespeare actually said, "The best part of valor is discretion"), others, the inventions of reporters embellishing a story (Franklin Roosevelt never opened a speech to a DAR group with thesalutation, "My fellow immigrants"). But some of the quotes, such as Charles Darwin's supposed deathbed recantation of evolution, are blatantly dishonest and falsify the historical record. And others are chillingly vicious, filled with virulent racial and religious prejudices that completelydistort the views of the person supposedly quoted and spread distrust and hatred among the gullible. These include the forged remarks attributed to Benjamin Franklin that Jews should be excluded from America, and the fabricated condemnation of Catholics attributed to Lincoln. An entertaining and yet thought-provoking book, They Never Said It sorts out a great deal of history and sets it right, going beyond a mere catalog of popular misconceptions to reveal how conservatives and liberals, atheists and evangelists, all have at times twisted and even invented the words ofeminent figures to promote their own ends. It is the ultimate debunking reference, a perfect complement to handbooks of quotations.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 1989.
Characteristics: xxv, 159 pages