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They Knew: How a Culture of Conspiracy Keeps America Complacent

They Knew: How a Culture of Conspiracy Keeps America Complacent

by Sarah Kendzior
They Knew: How a Culture of Conspiracy Keeps America Complacent

They Knew: How a Culture of Conspiracy Keeps America Complacent

by Sarah Kendzior


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“Every sentence delivered. The pathos of truth-seeking left me thinking of Herman Melville."
—Timothy Snyder, #1 New York Times bestselling author of On Tyranny

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING author Sarah Kendzior delves into the difference between conspiracy and conspiracy theory, "deftly separat[ing] fact from fiction in a conspiracy-addled nation" (VANITY FAIR).

Conspiracy theories are on the rise because officials refuse to enforce accountability for real conspiracies. Uncritical faith in broken institutions is as dangerous as false narratives peddled by propagandists.

The truth may hurt—but the lies will kill us.

They Knew discusses conspiracy culture in a rapidly declining United States struggling with corruption, climate change, and other crises. As the actions of the powerful remain shrouded in mystery—“From Norman Baker to Jeffrey Epstein, Iran-Contra to January 6" (VF)—it is unsurprising that people turn to conspiracy theories to fill the informational void. They Knew exposes the tactics these powerful actors use to placate an inquisitive public.

Here, for the first time, Kendzior blends her signature whip-smart prose and eviscerating arguments with lyrical and intimate examinations of the times and places that haunt American history. "America is a ghost story," writes Kendzior, as she unearths decades of buried history, providing an essential and critical look at how to rebuild our democracy by confronting the political lies and crimes that have shaped us.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250210722
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication date: 09/13/2022
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 39,346
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Sarah Kendzior is the New York Times bestselling author of Hiding in Plain Sight and The View from Flyover Country. She has a PhD in anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis, where she researched propaganda and state crimes in authoritarian regimes. She is the co-host of the acclaimed podcast Gaslit Nation with Andrea Chalupa and was named by Foreign Policy as one of the “100 people you should be following on Twitter to make sense of global events.” Her reporting has been featured in many publications, including NBC News, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Fast Company, The Chicago Tribune, TeenVogue, The Globe and Mail, and The New York Times. She lives in St. Louis.

Table of Contents

1. Deaths of Deception
2. Theories of Conspiracy
3. Epstein Wasn’t the First
4. The Cult of the Criminal Elite
5. Savior Syndrome and Normalcy Bias
6. Memory-Holing a Coup
7. America Is Purple, Like a Bruise
8. The Octopus
9. Epilogue: An American Ghost

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