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Conspiracy Theory in America (Discovering America) Hardcover – April 15, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Discovering America (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (April 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292743793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292743793
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,103,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

An intriguing take on the origins and implications of conspiracy theories and the paranoid mindset itself. . . . Confronted with these compelling arguments, even the most incredulous readers will find themselves questioning their own preconceived notions of paranoia, governmental transparency, and conspiracy theorists. (Publishers Weekly)

About the Author

LANCE DEHAVEN-SMITH Tallahassee, Florida DeHaven-Smith is Professor in the Reubin O’D. Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University. A former President of the Florida Political Science Association, deHaven-Smith is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Battle for Florida, which analyzes the disputed 2000 presidential election. DeHaven-Smith has appeared on Good Morning America, the Today Show, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, CBS Nightly News with Dan Rather, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and other national TV and radio shows.

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Customer Reviews

If you're going to only read one book about conspiracy theory, this is the one to read.
Ed Rankin
Now more unbridled than ever, capitalism's most destructive tendencies warrant constant, refurbished and refreshed examination.
matthew witt
Excellent work that effectively counters the popular academic attempts to discredit all conspiracy theories, in general.
derrell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Jurgis on April 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a trip through recent history in which pictures of recent high-impact events have been excised and replaced by blank pages in which you are now free to connect your own dots. It posits that the term "conspiracy theory" had its genesis in a CIA sponsored conspiracy of its own. It works hard at removing the stigma of insanity that is associated with the term. It rewards the inquiring minds of those who seek truth and justifies reconciling hard science with unseen and unarticulated, perhaps sinister objectives.
For those who become incredulous and weary of the way others connect the dots of world events, this book is balm for your troubled, skeptical soul. Your feelings of shame and inadequacy at being called a "conspiracy theorist" will evaporate and the term will become a source of pride.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Dissident Scholar on June 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Written in an entertaining and accessible style by a highly respected public administration scholar, Conspiracy Theory in America demystifies the nonsensical 'conspiracy theory' meme in American culture. For anyone with a remotely accurate sense of US history, it is not difficult to grasp the criminality within the 'political class' (DeHaven-Smith's term) that governs this country. So how is it that the bad guys are never held to account?

Conspiracy Theory in America focuses on the methods and institutions that legitimate the prevailing political order. Specifically, deHaven-Smith looks at the `conspiracy theory' meme which is routinely used to marginalize and quarantine those reasonable suspicions that have the potential to delegitimize the prevailing order. 'Conspiracy theory' is a weaponized term. Its current form was created and deployed with the express intention of preempting suspicion of what the Founders called 'high crimes.' DeHaven-Smith discusses at length the CIA document that explicitly details this plan as a response to critics of the Warren Commission. The purpose was and is to take the focus off of the suspected crime and place it onto the accuser: "What are you, some kind of conspiracy theorist?" Undoubtedly, we are all familiar with this technique. In addition to outlining the history of proven and suspected high crimes, deHaven-Smith lays out some steps that should be taken by lawmakers and public administrators to make our system less susceptible to this most dangerous type of criminality.

Once you read this book, it is impossible to think about the government and the media in the same way.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Charlene Olson on June 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is some of the best writing i have seen ever. I wonder how I have doubted the possibility that governments will do anything necessary to achieve their ends. If it is another country's governmnet doing the "dirty work", we have no trouble believing it, but when it is our government, we just cannot believe we could fall so low. Well just look at how we got into our present wars.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By matthew witt on June 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
We know real and substantial, high crime conspiracies have been committed in the United States, including Watergate, Iran-Contra and Plamegate. What we don't have is a systematic means for understanding the place of these high crimes within a broader context of institutional and cultural vulnerabilities indicating these are not isolated events.

Lance deHaven-Smith provides a long awaited scholarly assimilation of the ideas--not the hype, innuendo, and slipshod hysteria--that makes coherent sense out of the enduring place in American culture for conspiracy theorizing and conspiracies, real and imagined. DeHaven-Smith doesn't just sort out the confusion around the simplistic dismissal of informed criticism of official claims of truth and fact; he dissects the pertinence of conspiracies in American history and how intellectual formalisms have determined how we are told and how we otherwise ought to think about elite dominance in public affairs and how and why the demos portion of democracy needs to adopt a measured concern with these realities. This is essential reading for public affairs, public administration, political science, and history academics and intellectuals.

While it is easy for western academics and intellectuals to dismiss the obvious intellectual blinders of soviet scholars who once incessantly measured the labor theory of value with no real challenge of that received reality, our western blinders to received shibboleths about real and meaningful access by the demos to political influence under capitalism go largely unexamined.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Andrew C. Mills on June 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Lance deHaven-Smith has done a great service to this country by revealing the ways in which valid questioning about the activities of the power elites in the US has been squashed merely by applying the term 'conspiracy theory.' He traces the pejorative use of the term back to a CIA memorandum in 1967 that covertly was presented to the media and political figures. Thereafter, particularly after the 9/11 attacks, the mere application of the term would in effect belittle, if not ridicule, any argument being put forth that questioned the official story. The author reminds the reader that the idea of suspecting conspiracies in high places was not at all foreign to those who fought in the Revolutionary War and to those who drafted the Constitution. In fact, he stresses, the US Constitution was designed with the expectation that public officials are likely to conspire to abuse their powers and thereby undermine popular control of government. Many if not most colonists brought with them to the new world a deep fear of official conspiracies, treason and constitutional corruption. DeHaven-Smith also does an excellent job in pointing out the importance of discerning patterns of likely conspiracies, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the murder of his brother Robert five years later.
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