The set begins with "Conspiracy Theories in America: A Historical Overview" and "Making Sense of Conspiracy Theories," two excellent articles that provide background and understanding of the subject. This material is followed by more than 300 entries for both actual and imagined conspiracies. Examples of theories include the extremely well known as well as the somewhat obscure. As might be expected, the entry on the John F. Kennedy assassination is the longest, covering 15 pages. Among other entries are AIDS, Cattle mutilations, Oklahoma City bombing, Pearl Harbor, Tobacco industry, UFOs, and whitewater. The theories are arranged alphabetically and include see also references and brief bibliographies of related works. Appropriate Web sites are also listed for some.
Section 3 contains approximately 100 extracts from primary source documents, arranged chronologically from Cotton Mather's Wonders of the Invisible World (1692) to Lawton et al. v. Republic of Iraq (2003). A headnote explains the context of each.
This is a fascinating reference set that presents intriguing (albeit sometimes far-fetched) theories. Examining these theories, one can see how almost any event or idea can be viewed as a conspiracy, actual or imagined. This would be an excellent addition to academic and large public libraries. RBB
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"This is a fascinating reference . . . [A]n excellent addition to academic and large public libraries." - Booklist
"The encyclopedia admirably accomplishes its goals . . . Articles are generally engaging and first rate in their scholarship. . . . Unique in both format and content, this is a serious and worthwhile effort, and will surely become one of the more popular reference titles in many library collections." - American Reference Books Annual