Voodoo Histories

Voodoo Histories

The Role Of The Conspiracy Theory In Shaping Modern History

Book - 2010
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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.

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, c2010.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9781594488955
Characteristics: 388 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.


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May 08, 2013

"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." Hmmmm....before bothering with this claptrap, a sound recommendation would be to familiarize yourself with the background of David Aaronovitch, and the financing behind this book! Next, the very first step in understanding why there are so many critics is blatantly simple: read the unmitigated balderdash they call a report: the Warren Commission Report (on the murder of President Kennedy); filled with hundreds to thousands of variances, obviously never followed through questions (e.g., an associate counsel asks Dallas Mayor Earl Cabell (the brother of one of the CIA seniors fired by President Kennedy, Gen. Cabell, if he recognized Jack Ruby at the hospital on the day of JFK's murder in Dallas - - Cabell replies that he's known Jack Ruby closely for years, yet the questioning counsel never follows up?????), and the constant muliple choice "factoids": Lee Oswald was EITHER trained in the military in Aviation Electronics, OR Air Traffic Control, OR as a linguist at Defense Language Institute at Monterey? Regarding Diana: she was on a world tour protesting the use of land mines, the product of the munitions industry with the greatest Return-On-Investment (ROI); and after her death, the plummeting sales of land mines quickly reversed? Again, please research Aaronovitch's background prior to wasting any time on this! Execrable Rating.

CorwinK Apr 26, 2011

This is a really great account of how conspiracy stories take root and grow. Probably the most interesting finding for me were the similarities between these many supposedly disparate conspiracies. Aaronovitch goes over why these similarities emerge and how they're actually part of the very nature of conspiracy theories. The book can be at times funny and every chapter has great ah-ha moments about conspiracies, their believers or promoters. Reading about conspiracies that you may not have heard about before can sometimes drag a bit but also illustrates how preposterous these stories often are once you're removed from them and in turn the element of re-enforcing mass psychology these theories often create.

Feb 27, 2010

Well researched book on some of the more widespread and weird ideas floating in the public sphere. Of course those who think Bush planned the attacks of Sept.11, 2001 or the Protocols of the Elders are true will not change their minds by the facts presented in the book (they'll likely state Aaronovitch is part of the New World Order). But for those with a reasonably open mind and not inclined to the woo view of the world will find a lot of good information in this book. I also liked the fact Aaronovitch included conspiracy theories prevalent in England, how they started, by whom and for what purposes. The final chapter sums up why such views are so common and how powerful those ideas can be.

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