Synopses & Reviews
"Tracing the beliefs in various conspiracies and mega-conspiracies in literature, apocalyptic and political writing, and popular culture, Barkun creates an exceptional and invaluable genealogy of the extraordinary permutations that these ideas have undergone since WWII and, of course, as a result of the Internet. Barkun dives into the religious and political matrix of what some call the "lunatic fringe," forcing us to look at the revival and spread of conspiracist thinking on an even grander scale into broad reaches of American culture. For those who think conspiracy thinking is a fading phenomenon, or a cultural phenomenon of little significance or creativity, think again. Welcome to the third millennium."and#151;Richard Landes, Director, Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University; editor of The Encyclopedia of Millennial Movements
and author of Relics, Apocalypse, and the Deceits of History
"Millennial dreams, apocalyptic nightmares populated by agents of the Antichrist, space aliens, and acolytes of the New World Order-With a calm approach and scrupulous academic bearings, Barkun navigates through the reefs of conspiracist allegation from the cosmic to the comic, from Biblical prophecy to Internet alerts."and#151;Chip Berlet, co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America
"This is a gripping, and at times scary, book. Michael Barkun, one of our most respected political scientists, has produced a meticulously researched and highly perceptive account of those who find credible an incredible assortment of nefarious conspiracies emanating not only from the Jews, Masons, Catholics and politicians in our midst, but also from ' out there.and#8217; This book should be read by everyone who believes that there are some ways of checking the differences between truths and fantasies - and by everyone who doesn' t."and#151;Eileen Barker, Professor of Sociology, the London School of Economics
What do UFO believers, Christian millennialists, and right-wing conspiracy theorists have in common? According to Michael Barkun in this fascinating yet disturbing book, quite a lot. It is well known that some Americans are obsessed with conspiracies. The Kennedy assassination, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the 2001 terrorist attacks have all generated elaborate stories of hidden plots. What is far less known is the extent to which conspiracist worldviews have recently become linked in strange and unpredictable ways with other "fringe" notions such as a belief in UFOs, Nostradamus, and the Illuminati. Unraveling the extraordinary genealogies and permutations of these increasingly widespread ideas, Barkun shows how this web of urban legends has spread among subcultures on the Internet and through mass media, how a new style of conspiracy thinking has recently arisen, and how this phenomenon relates to larger changes in American culture. This book, written by a leading expert on the subject, is the most comprehensive and authoritative examination of contemporary American conspiracism to date.
Barkun discusses a range of materialand#151;involving inner-earth caves, government black helicopters, alien abductions, secret New World Order cabals, and much moreand#151;that few realize exists in our culture. Looking closely at the manifestions of these ideas in a wide range of literature and source material from religious and political literature, to New Age and UFO publications, to popular culture phenomena such as The X-Files, and to websites, radio programs, and more, Barkun finds that America is in the throes of an unrivaled period of millennarian activity. His book underscores the importance of understanding why this phenomenon is now spreading into more mainstream segments of American culture.
About the Author
Michael Barkun, Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School, Syracuse University, is author of Religion and the Racist Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement (revised edition 1997) and Disaster and the Millennium (1986), among other books.
Table of Contents
1. The Nature of Conspiracy Belief
2. Millennialism, Conspiracy, and Stigmatized Knowledge
3. New World Order Conspiracies I: The New World Order and the Illuminati
4. New World Order Conspiracies II: A World of Black Helicopters
5. UFO Conspiracy Theories, 1975and#150;1990
6. UFOs Meet the New World Order: Jim Keith and David Icke
7. Armageddon Below
8. UFOs and the Search for Scapegoats I: Anti-Catholicism and Anti-Masonry
9. UFOs and the Search for Scapegoats II: Anti-Semitism among the Aliens
10. September 11: The Aftermath
11. Conclusion: Millennialists from Outer Space