Lies that kill book cover


Lies that Kill

A Citizen's Guide to Disinformation

Elaine Kamarck, Darrell M. West
Release Date: August 27, 2024

Elaine Kamarck and Darrell West show how our political, social, and economic environment makes disinformation not only believable to large numbers of people, but also quickly disseminated.

Disinformation thrives in the toxic political environment that exists today both in the United States and around the world. These falsehoods are made possible by rapid advances in cheap, digital technology and are promoted by often-nefarious organized networks. These networks, which exist across the political spectrum, can make people rich through subscription fees, advertising revenue, and merchandise sales. This is a book for concerned citizens who want to recognize disinformation, understand it, and protect themselves and others from lies that can kill.

Using case studies in the areas of election integrity, climate change, public health, race, war, and governance, authors Elaine Kamarck and Darrell West show how our political, social, and economic environment makes disinformation not only believable to large numbers of people but also quickly disseminated.

But the authors also argue that we are not doomed to live in an apocalyptic, post-truth world but instead can take actions that are consistent with our long-held and cherished free speech values. Citizen education can go a long way toward making us more discerning consumers of online materials, and Kamarck and West show how we can reduce disinformation risks through digital literacy programs, regulation, legislation, and negotiations with countries that often harbor disseminators of disinformation.


Citizens who want to know how to get at the truth should read this timely and important book. It describes the new landscape of disinformation in America today across a wide range of issues–from climate change to public health and elections, to race and to war. It explains where disinformation comes from, the networks that spread it and the large sums of money that are made from pushing it. Nothing is more important in this day and age than citizens armed with the ability to tell truth from fiction.
Al Gore, former vice president of the United States
Elaine C. Kamarck and Darrell M. West have written an essential citizen’s guide to disinformation, and when it is most needed going into an election that may well determine the future of American democracy. Perhaps what is most valuable about 'Lies That Kill' is its deep understanding of the motives and organizational roots of disinformation. Its production often involved complex organizational networks fueled by greed. This is a timely and important book.
Steven Livingston, George Washington University
Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, but we are seeing how disinformation can be used to deceive voters and undermine trust in the electoral process. Elaine Kamarck and Darrell West offer an important and critical analysis about what is at stake for Americans across the political spectrum as disinformation spreads and evolves, especially with emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, underscoring the urgent need to take action.
Senator Amy Klobuchar