Defining lies as statements that are intended to deceive, this book considers the contexts in which people tell lies and explores the consequences. The author looks at societies with distinctive religious and ethical traditions where lying is the norm. He also shows how children acquire the capacity to lie at an early age, and learn when it is appropriate to do so. In conclusion, Professor Barnes argues that people are inclined to tell the truth, for apart from the question of morality, there are pragmatic reasons for doing so.
"Barnes composes a vision of lying that interlaces material from an impressive array of sources...The typology of lies expostulated in the book could possibly provide researchers with a foil for generating testable hypotheses." Mark L. Harvey, Comtemporary Psychology "...an impeccably scholarly survey..." Contemporary Sociology