The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History
On Sale: February 4, 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
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
insinuÂate 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
acaÂdemic 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 probabilÂity
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.
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