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Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies For Dummies 1st Edition

25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470184080
ISBN-10: 0470184086
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Editorial Reviews


"Whether it's organized crime,  Illuminati, or world domination, Chris and Alice take you down dark alleys of mystery and fear but keep a flashlight focused carefully so you won't get grabbed by hobgoblins." --Ed King, Maine Masonic College

From the Back Cover

What do Skull & Bones, the Kennedys, and UFOs all have in common?

Your guide to an undiscovered world of arcane rites and rituals

Whether you're a skeptic or a true believer, this fascinating guide, packed with the latest information, walks you through some of the most infamous conspiracy theories — such as Area 51 and the assassination of JFK — and introduces you to such mysterious organizations as the Freemasons, the Ninjas, the Mafia, and Rosicrucians. Sorting out fact from fiction, you'll be able to explore their global impact on society today.

Explanations in plain English
"Get in, get out " information
Icons and other navigational aids
Online cheat sheet
Top ten lists
A dash of humor and fun

Discover how to:
Test a conspiracy theory
Spot a sinister secret society
Assess the Internet's role in fueling conspiracy rumors
Explore world domination schemes
Evaluate 9/11 conspiracy theories

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (March 31, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470184086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470184080
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher L. Hodapp is the editor emeritus of the "Journal of The Masonic Society." He is the author of the best-selling "Freemasons For Dummies," and "Solomon's Builders: Freemasons, Founding Fathers and the Secrets of Washington D.C." His newest book, "Deciphering the Lost Symbol," about the symbols, rituals and locations in Dan Brown's newest novel, was released in December 2009.

He is also the co-author with Alice VonKannon of "The Templar Code For Dummies" and "Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies For Dummies."

He is a 33° Freemason and a Knight Templar. He has appeared on the History Channel on the subject of Freemasonry and its role in the founding of the United States and the building of Washington D.C., the Discovery Channel, and most recently in 2012 in the History Channel program, "America's Book of Secrets: The Freemasons." In 2010, he and Von Kannon developed episodes for the History Channel program, "Brad Meltzer's Decoded," and web content for TruTV.

Hodapp has spent more than twenty-five years editing, writing and directing as a commercial filmmaker. He has written for corporate and non-profit programs, and his voice has appeared in many television and radio commercials. He is a popular speaker and appears on radio and TV, and at Masonic lodges and schools across North America.

Chris lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By T. Williams on August 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've read loads of conspiracy books over the years, some for fun, some out of a serious desire to understand where and why conspiracy theories are so popular and persuasive to a broad cross section of the public.

I am dismayed at the negative reviews of this book. The authors in an overwhelming majority of cases are absolutely fair and balanced in their reporting of what the conspiracy or secret society being discussed is (or might be), where it came from, who was involved, etc.

I have a small shelf in the dark recesses of my bookshelf, out of the eyes of visitors to my home, with a row of "_______" For Dummies books. I usually buy them for a simple reason: they are an introduction to the subject, not the be-all-and-end-all of available knowledge on the topic. This book does just that. The negative reviews on Amazon seem to be from people whose personal favorite boogeyman got dissed. That's an unfair representation of the reality behind this book.

Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies For Dummies has an incredible range of topics. UFOs, Mafia, Ku Klux Klan, Illuminati, Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Nazi treasure hunters, Jewish Bankers, Irish revolutionaries, the Lincoln and JFK assassinations, apocalyptic doomsayers, 9/11 Truthers, occult groups, religious groups, business and creepy geopolitical committees--the sheer scope is broad, and yet, this is not like so many others in this genre. It's not just a running list of entries that get a few sentences. I also like the conversational and humorous tone.

An interesting personal side note. When I first read this book, I wasn't a Freemason, but my father and grandfather were. After I read this book cover to cover, I went back and re-read the Freemason chapter.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Templar Guy on March 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
I wanted to hate this book. It was one of those moments in the bookstore, like when I came across 'The Complete Idiot's Guide To The Kennedys,' when I said, 'You've got to be kidding' right out loud. Judging from the cover (yes, yes, I know better than that), I figured this book swallowed the whole New World Order / FEMA camps / 9-11 inside job / Zionists / Freemason / World Domination / Denver Airport line of Alex Jones style balderdash. Instead, what I got was a popcorn-like experience of standing in the bookstore for almost an hour reading, unable to put it down. (Yes I bought it.)

'Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies For Dummies' is a truly rare find in a shelf full of drivel. I was already a fan of Christopher Hodapp and Alice VonKannon's book 'The Templar Code For Dummies', and they bring the same evenhanded approach to this material. Face it - it's easy 'or I assume it's easy' to write a book that does nothing but heap contempt on what are fringy beliefs, like shooting fish in a barrel. But this book is frankly densely packed with a huge range of subjects, crammed into a small, easy to like package. They manage to cover most topics with humor, without venturing into scorn or snarkiness (with the possible exception of the 9/11 truthers movement, which IMHO deserves all of the scorn it can get).

This book avoids being a laundry list of subjects, and the chapters have a quirky logic that seems to work. I have probably 30 Dummies books on a vast assortment of subjects at home, and I always marvel at the way one author will totally get how to organize and write these books, while others seem clueless. Hodapp/Von Kannon are fast becoming favorite authors in this series of books. It makes me curious about how these books are created, but that's another topic.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Ed King on April 5, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read all three of Chris' prior books and being a pretty active conspiracy scoffer, I'd girded my loins for a disappointment this time around. Just more Freemason conspiracy (Solomon's Builders) and more Templars conspiracy (Templar Code for Dummies) with a little lettuce thrown around on the edges to make it look fancy and different....


Whether it's organized crime, the Illuminati, or world domination, Chris and Alice take you down the dark alleys of mystery and fear but always keep a flashlight focused carefully so you won't get grabbed by the hobgoblins. Trying to put a coherent order to the 'weird things of the world' would be a daunting task for anyone but the authors start with a very plausible premise: it all began with the French Revolution. They frequently reach back to that touchstone as the net grows wider in explaining the bizarre and while you might not accept it at face value, you soon realize that the premise has LOTS of merit.

In the basic areas of foolishness (such as the Hoaglund 'Face on Mars'), the authors are wryly dismissive but in the more controversial or confusing things there's a calm and deliberate presentation of facts and a laying out 'common knowledge' interspersed with 'the rest of the story' (i.e., the FACTS!). In few cases they do pull out the 'tin-foil hat' award but otherwise it's basic exposition with an admission that there's no answer when, in fact, there is none. There's no doe-like innocence to be found but neither is there overt criticism. It's reminiscent of Sergeant Friday: "Just the facts, ma'am." - but this time with some humor added.

It's clear that Chris and Alice have read from the major skeptics before beginning and they regularly refer to specific (and qualified) debunkers.
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