From Library Journal
Jackson, a journalist who has written for the New York Times and Vanity Fair, has composed an inventive but confusing encyclopedic book of conspiracy theories. Jackson's main innovation is to group sub-theories into larger conspiracies, such as "The Master Plan." But since he uses icons to classify theories, readers will need to go back and forth between the table of contents and the chapters to track their interests. And although the text contains a vast number of historical dates and names, Jackson intentionally includes no footnotes. The book should please conspiranoiacs because everyone--from Bill Gates to the Pope--is a potential conspirator; but it's peppered with too many phrases like "insiders say...." There are other books that provide source citations, like Robert Anton Wilson's Everything Is Under Control (LJ 8/98) and Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen's The 60 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time (Citadel, 1996. rev. ed.) and The 70 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time (Citadel, 1998. rev. ed.). Both are easier to follow than this volume. Public libraries may want to consider.-Kimberly A. Bateman, Broward Cty. Lib., Deerfield Beach, FL
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
The Truth Is In Here: a dense handbook of contemporary conspiracy theory, obsessively cross-referenced, the ideal millennial index to all the terrors of the fin de sicle. Former Details editor Jackson has an impressively multidimensional understanding of the oft-obscured relationship between archaic, ancient underground bodies like Freemasonry, Cabalists, Illuminati, and the Knights of Malta and such disturbing modern phenomena as the military-industrial complex, Scientology, the Klan, J. Edgar Hoover, neo-Nazis, the Trilateral Commission, and George Bush. He extends this grid along cultural and political vectors, and in the process constructs a Pynchonesque web of conspiracies both familiar (the Kennedy and King assassinations) and obscure (secretive New World Order collectives like the Bohemian Club and Bilderbergers). His choice of a guidebook format (each chapter proposing an evanescent overall conspiracy, in which all relevant paragraphs are cross-referenced by pictogram to the other conspiracy chapters) makes the material easier to grasp than a narrative like Gravitys Rainbow, but strangely numbs the unease that much of it provokes. Jacksons buzz-friendly nature demonstrates how such conspiracy cultureonce personal, therefore unsettlinghas been vitiated by the public mode of entertainment, in which myth becomes inseparable from malfeasance, the vital nature of malign conspiracy arguably reduced to simulacra. Whats missing is any effort to perform a larger, graver task: to figure out which of these malicious netherworlds of corruption might still be brought to account by an increasingly fractious, distracted citizenry. All that said, Jacksons debut remains a page-turner. His entries are concise, detailed, and occasionally hilarious, and they shed necessary light on many shameful episodes of our recent history (such as the CIAs Operation Paperclip, in which top Nazis were smuggled out of Europe to aid in the Cold War). Even readers skeptical of these looming conspiratorial structures may find such material too compelling for comfort. A thoughtful gift for anybody you suspect is considering relocation to rural Montana, or a bomb shelter. (75 photos and line drawings, 21 maps) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.