Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History

Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History

by David Aaronovitch
3.4 28

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Overview

Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History by David Aaronovitch

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101185216
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/04/2010
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 625,434
File size: 578 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

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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Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
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dogWY More than 1 year ago
makes for enteresting reading.
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Placitus More than 1 year ago
If belief, faith, impressions, and wishful thinking inspire warm-fuzzy-feelings inside your body, this book will knock your socks off and leave you with very cold feet. Aaronovitch has written an explanation and catalogue of the ancient proposition that, if the premisses are true and the argument is in a valid construction, then you are committed to the conclusion. Unless, of course, you believe the premisses are false. In a context of famous conspiracy theories Aaronovitch illustrates persuasively what it means to claim a false premiss is true. It's worth previewing three sections in the event of hesitation to throw yourself on a potential to fall head over heals for a conspiracy theory. Try "Lone Assassins" pp.133-36, "The Magic Bullet" pp. 136-37, and "Conclusion: Bedtime Story" pp.332-56. If the reader is convinced to look at reality a little more closely, he will have done himself a grand favor. After starting off with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, he takes up some luminous transformations of history into spirit-consuming lunacy: the Moscow Trials of the late 1930s, FDR and the destruction at Pearl Harbor, the lethal worms said to be within the New Deal, Senator McCarthy and the great scare, Marilyn Monroe's death, Princess Diana's death, and a barrelful of episodes in between. Motivations come up against plain exposure, occasionally falling on the knife of bitter criticism so sharp it's comic. Feelings of something wrong, desire to believe, the unknown authority, sudden choice blotting out recognition of improbability, conspiracy by accident, incentives offered by money, a need to disclaim responsibility, risk of failure are some of the motivations Aaronovitch sets forth. And if you have lost you're heart (and mind) to The Da Vinci Code, read on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JameJ More than 1 year ago
I really cant stand the loud people busy revising current events, seeing the hand of government/liberals/conservatives/Muslims/Jews/pick-your-oppressor everywhere, pushing their narrow, self contradictory, anti-intellectual points of view. I didnt realise how common this was throughout recent history. Though the author spends way too much ink on Jewish/Zionist conspiracy theories (are there no other examples he could have spent all those pages on?) he does raise valid and interesting points. I think the book could have been shorted by 1/3 and be more compelling. Still a good read.
Bluestatepatriot More than 1 year ago
This book is well written, well researched, and an entertaining read. It serves as an important corrective to the ignorance that prevails on the internet. The author effectively demolishes the arguments of 9/11 "truthers," of right wing "birthers," and of those whose believe in the second gunman on the grassy knoll. If you are truly devoted to history, as opposed to "learning" your history on the internet or on radio talk shows, this book is for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago