The Truth Never Stands In The Way Of A Good StoryBook - 2000
Through voluminous correspondence from readers of his books and syndicated newspaper column, Jan Harold Brunvand has become something of a clearinghouse for evolving versions of urban legends. Here he looks in detail at a dozen rampant and long-lived examples of this vigorous category of contemporary folklore, tracing their histories, variations, sources, and meanings.
Brunvand tracks the various permutations of such legends as "The Red Velvet Cake", "The Brain Drain", and "The Baby Roast". He points out their common elements -- notably, their insistence on the truth of the story and their attribution to a "friend of a friend". His son Erik Brunvand, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Utah, contributes his own view of computer hacker legends traded across the Internet.
The Truth Never Stands in the Way of a Good Story pins down the qualities that give urban legends their air of authenticity and make them hard to believe yet impossible to dismiss. For those interested in popular culture and current events as well as those wary of being taken in by false information, Brunvand's book reinforces his most basic piece of advice: "Don't believe everything you hear".