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Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern Historyby David Aaronovitch
Synopses & Reviews
An absorbing, probing look at the conspiracy theories that operate on the sidelines of history and the reasons they continue to play such a seditious role, from an award-winning journalist.
Our age is obsessed by the idea of conspiracy. We see it everywhere- from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, from the assassination of Kennedy to the death of Diana. In this age of terrorism we live in, the role of conspiracy is a serious one, one that can fuel radical or fringe elements to violence.
For David Aaronovitch, there came a time when he started to see a pattern among these inflammatory theories. these theories used similarly murky methods with which to insinu­ate their claims: they linked themselves to the supposed conspiracies of the past (it happened then so it can happen now); they carefully manipulated their evidence to hide its holes; they relied on the authority of dubious aca­demic sources. Most important, they elevated their believers to membership of an elite- a group of people able to see beyond lies to a higher reality. But why believe something that entails stretching the bounds of probabil­ity so far? Surely it is more likely that men did actually land on the moon in 1969 than that thousands of people were enlisted to fabricate an elaborate hoax.
In this entertaining and enlightening book -aimed at providing ammunition for those who have found themselves at the wrong end of a conversation about moon landings or the twin towers-Aaronovitch carefully probes and explodes a dozen of the major conspiracy theories. In doing so, he examines why people believe them, and makes an argument for a true skepticism: one based on a thorough knowledge of history and a strong dose of common sense.
Book News Annotation:
It is much easier to state a conspiracy theory than to refute it. British journalist Aaronovitch knows this well. He also believes that widely-believed fabrications can influence the actions of individuals and states. In this entertaining book, Aaronovitch looks at some of the most popular legends that continue to affect us. Some have destroyed lives such as the imaginary Protocols of Zion or Joseph McCarthy's list of communists in Hollywood and the State Department. Others have, so far, not had such drastic consequences, such as theories surrounding the deaths of John and Robert Kennedy, David Kelly, Princess Diana and Martin Luther King. The theories about the validity of the moon landing and the 9/11 bombings are also treated. Aaronovitch notes the paranoia associated with the Internet and the suspicion of many that some Big Brother is monitoring everything we do. He also takes on the source of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, Holy Blood, Holy Grail and its descendents. Along the way, he gives several excellent indicators of how one can sort baseless nonsense from fact. He offers this book to those who have been forced to listen to conspiracy theorists but not had the data at hand to argue. He does not expect his work to convince the theorists themselves. One of his indicators is that they are not swayed by logic or facts. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From an award-winning journalist comes an absorbing, probing look at the conspiracy theories that operate on the sidelines of history, and the reasons they continue to play such a seditious role.
A history so funny, so true, so scary, it's bound to be called a conspiracy.
"Meticulous in its research, forensic in its reasoning, robust in its argument, and often hilarious in its debunking, Voodoo Histories is a highly entertaining rumble with the century's major conspiracy theorists and their theories" (John Lahr).
From Pearl Harbor to 9/11 to the assassination of JFK to the Birther movement, David Aaronvitch probes and explores the major conspiracy theories (and theorists) of our time. This entertaining and enlightening conspiracy theory book-aimed to provide ammunition for those who have found themselves at the wrong end of a conversation about moon landings or the Twin Towers-examines why people believe these conspiracies, and makes an argument for a true skepticism: one based on a thorough knowledge of history and a strong dose of common sense.
About the Author
David Aaronovitch is an award-winning journalist, who has worked in radio, television and newspapers in the United Kingdom since the early 1980s. His first book, Paddling to Jerusalem, won the Madoc prize for travel literature in 2001. He is also the recipient of the George Orwell Prize for political journalism. He writes a regular column for The Times (UK). He lives in north London, with his wife and three daughters.
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