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Posted June 19, 2004
When I bought this book I was hoping for either a historical or social psychology approach to understanding the current popularity of paranoid conspiracism and the breakdown in critical thinking which it heralds. I was disappointed. The author makes a good start in proposing and defending the idea that simplistically dismissing non-mainstream historical narratives as 'paranoid conspiracy theories' is superficial and less than honest. In the second chapter, he completely fumbles the ball. It should not require nearly 50 pages and countless quotes from Lacan to end up dancing around the tautology that circular reasoning is an infinitely prolonged process by virtue of its circularity. Fenster appears to be nearly phobic about doing anything akin to drawing a conclusion or making a judgement either of fact or of value, and the book is written in the utterly leaden, deliberately obfuscating style of the post-modern 'critical theory' academic. Normally a new book is something which I plow through at the first sitting and then re-read repeatedly in small portions until it's well-digested. I could not force myself to finish this book-the first time that has happened in years.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.