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markk

markk

Currently reading

The History of the British Coal Industry Volume 1 Before 1700
John Hatcher
Progress: 59/656 pages
Martin Luther: His Road to Reformation 1483-1521
Martin Brecht
Progress: 236/543 pages
The Truth Machine: A Social History of the Lie Detector - G. C. Bunn

Though advertised as "a social history of the lie detector," Geoffrey Bunn's book might be more accurately described as a description of its origins and the contemporary reaction to its invention. Beginning with the changing views of what criminals were in the 19th century, he describes the origins of the lie detector in the growing recognition that anyone could potentially be a criminal, and the need to discover deception that came from such a revelation. Bunn goes on to recount the development of the machine, including the contesting claims of different inventors, before concluding abruptly with a consideration of some of the epistemological issues arising from such devices. While interesting and informative, it ultimately fails to deliver on the promise of its subtitle, one that hopefully will be met by other authors; if nothing else, Bunn demonstrates just how valuable such a work could be.