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Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History Hardcover – February 4, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
First off, the book is very well written and in a fast-paced, easy to read styles. It's not boring (regardless of agreeing with the author or not), nor is it overly long.
That being said, it brings me to my main point: this is not a scholarly, historically exhaustive work of research; it is an investigative look into how conspiracies begin and the people who latch on to them. Does that mean that it's not researched? No, there is a fairly extensive bibliography, and he has clearly documented his sources. However, it is not done in the way a historical textbook would do so -- but there again, it's not written from that point of view.
The key to remember here -- and this is for those negative reviewers who so adamantly want to hold on to their theories -- is the theme of how these theories get started, and why they become popular. This is of special interest to me because it is clear that there has to be a motivation for believing in most conspiracy theories; one has to *want* them to be true at some level for them to get off the ground, otherwise they wouldn't due to the incredible lack of factual support.
But here we come to the famous rebuttal offered up (which I have seen in the reviews here): "We are just asking questions. That's why it's a 'theory' and it's not perfect. But you have to admit that ____ and ____ don't add up!" This statement -- or a similar form -- is offered up every time a conspiracy theorist is confronted with hard facts. And this book addresses that exact issue, rather than going down the road of saying "here's this reference, and this one, and this one, and this one...Read more ›
Conspiracy theories show staying power by defining some event as logically impossible -- for example the magic bullet that hit Kennedy and Connolly or the inability of Marilyn Monroe's body to absorb the amount of barbituates found in her or the lack of wreckage resembling an airplane by the Pentagon on 9/11. Such an impossible fact justifies conspiracy proponents to reject the conventional explantion and to propose all sorts of wild alternative theories. Such theories are resistant even to an attack on the core -- such as evidence showing that Oswald did not have to be a particularly great shot to hit Kennedy and that the path of the bullet does have a rational explanation. Such attacks involve too many details and complexities, thereby allowing the conspiracy proponent to refuse to see their truth.
This is interesting as far as it goes. But instead of exploring the reasons in human nature, politics, and history for such conspiracy theories, Aaronovitch just keeps jumping to new conspiracies and saying the same thing. Thus, the book does become a bit tiresome after a while.
The book is well-documented and the sources are of real writers, not, as in the case of the usual conspiracy-revealers, all referring to other "famous conspiracy experts".
My own view is that it is an extremely thoughtful explanation of why the gullible lock on to secret mysteries, conspiracies and insights and avoid any historical analysis, belying any familiarity with reality and current affairs or historical occurrences.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic read that comes in handy when dealing with nutters on the Internet.Published 5 months ago by Steveninn
While I find most of this information credible the delivery is labored at best. One interminable chapter about conspiracy theories in the Soviet Union never really seems to... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Old Enough to Know Better
A well-researched and well-written (albeit selective) documentation of human credibility/gullibility and blindness to recognize obvious truths when facts get in the way of beliefs. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Dr. S. Shapiro
a fast paced, exhaustive debunking of a list of common conspiracy theories, including 9/11 Truthers, JFK, Holy Grail and everything in between. Read morePublished 15 months ago by mike reider
This book was a disappointment. I saw the author on a program about 9/11/01 and he was interesting in person; however, this book was a michegoss of other conspiracies that were... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Kate Shaw
Mixed feelings about this review of recent conspiracy theories in modern history. Some chapters impressed me and some less so. Read morePublished 16 months ago by James C. Casterline