September 28, 2016

“War of Worlds” Talk At Two Locations

A. Brad Schwartz, author of Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News, will visit Somerset County Library System of New Jersey to reexamine this landmark moment in media history, showing that the broadcast was history’s first viral media phenomenon — decades before the age of Twitter and 24-hour news.

Mr. Schwartz’s presentations will take place on October 5, 7-8 p.m. at Somerset’s Bridgewater Library branch, located at 1 Vogt Drive in Bridgewater and on October 6, 7-8 p.m. at the Hillsborough Library branch, located 379 South Branch Road in Hillsborough.

Broadcast Hysteria draws upon a trove of nearly 2,000 unpublished letters from people who heard the broadcast back in 1938, more than 200 of which came from New Jersey, giving readers a new view on this moment in media history by letting the people who experienced it speak for themselves.

“It’s a thrill and an honor to come tell the story of War of the Worlds so close to the site of the most famous invasion that never happened,” said Mr. Schwartz. “In the course of my research, I read hundreds of letters from New Jerseyites who heard the broadcast back in 1938, and their stories — sometimes funny, often opinionated, and always illuminating — that helped make this bygone event seem fresh and exciting even after more than seven decades. Welles’ broadcast and the reaction to it revealed the persuasive power of fake news, teaching lessons that remain just as timely today — especially in this unusual election season.”

Somerset County Library System of New Jersey will be giving away a signed copy of Mr. Schwartz’s book during an upcoming #FreeBookFriday promotion on the Library System’s Facebook page,

Registration is required to attend these programs. For more information or to register, visit or contact your local SCLSNJ library branch.