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Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground Hardcover – May 17, 2011
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From the Back Cover
From left-wing 9/11 conspiracy theorists to right-wing Obama-hating "birthers"—a sobering, eyewitness look at how America's marketplace of ideas is fracturing into a multitude of tiny, radicalized boutiques—each peddling its own brand of paranoia
Throughout most of our nation's history, the United States has been bound together by a shared worldview. But the 9/11 terrorist attacks opened a rift in the collective national psyche: Increasingly, Americans are abandoning reality and retreating to Internet-based fantasy worlds conjured into existence out of our own fears and prejudices.
The most disturbing symptom of this trend is the 9/11 Truth movement, whose members believe that Bush administration officials engineered the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a pretext to launch wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But these "Truthers" are merely one segment of a vast conspiracist subculture that includes many other groups: anti-Obama extremists who believe their president is actually a foreign-born Manchurian Candidate seeking to destroy the United States from within; radical alternative-medicine advocates who claim that vaccine makers and mainstream doctors are conspiring to kill large swathes of humanity; financial neo-populists who have adapted the angry message of their nineteenth-century forebears to the age of Twitter; Holocaust deniers; fluoride phobics; obsessive Islamophobes; and more.
For two years journalist Jonathan Kay immersed himself in this dark subculture, attending conventions of conspiracy theorists, surfing their discussion boards, reading their websites, joining their Facebook groups, and interviewing them in their homes and offices. He discovered that while many of their theories may seem harmlessly bizarre, their proliferation has done real damage to the sense of shared reality that we rely on as a society. Kay also offers concrete steps that intelligent, culturally engaged Americans can take to reject conspiracism and help regain control of the intellectual landscape.
Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, between his expose and his prescription for a cure, Kay takes a curious detour to denounce (with varying degrees of force) academia, leftists, political correctness, civil rights movements, atheists and -- most curious of all -- opponents of Israeli occupation of Palestine. He is able to tie these targets of his rebuke only incidentally - if at all - to conspriacism. But, most shocking of all: not only do some of Kay's criticisms and assertions lack any evidence, citation or even rationalization whatsoever, he actually veers precipitously close to conspiracism itself to sustain some of his assaults. Kay somehow manages to do this without the slightest hint of self-awareness or irony.
The fact that Kay leaves his plan to combat conspiracism underdeveloped is sad, because his ideas seem at least partially sound and should be given a more thorough address. This makes Kay's prolonged dressing down of left-wing politics all the more frustrating.
Conspiracy theories undoubtedly undermine democracy and are helping to poison the current domestic and global political environment. The fact that they have become so pervasive in the Internet age makes books that confront them invaluable.Read more ›
I have read the whole book. Besides the conservative bias, it spends very little time on real facts about Truthers. He says he spent hours interviewing some of them. It does not seem like I read an hour on all of them together, but spent days reading about Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites. Maybe 20% or less of the book is spent on Truthers and much of that innuendo and characterization (Much of the 80% is also innuendo and characterization as well).
If what he says about the few Truthers he characterizes is true then he has picked the most extreme and done an almost Glen Beckish job in linking them all together with genuinely crazy theories going back many years in history. Many paragraphs are just gobbledygook.
It is a long distance from recognizing that the 911 report was not thorough to presuming one knows what actually happened and that it is a conspiracy committed by specific individuals - yet he tars all Truthers together.
We get proof over and over that "Governments Lie", so it is legitimate to question what is going on when investigations are not thorough, are difficult to get initiated, and the President tries to avoid or compromise them. When there is smoke we need reasonable proof that there is no fire.
Unfortunately, Kay doesn't take readers to any useful findings or conclusions; readers are left wondering why they wasted their time and money on this book.
Jonathan Kay also makes a very serious error in including John's "Revelation" in with the mishmash of confused theories and so-called spiritual "teachings" all too abundant on the internet and in published books nowadays. He throws into this batch of unsightly flotsam one of the greatest spiritual documents ever written, totally unable to comprehend a word of it, unwilling even to study and consider it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting read. Well written and informative as a first lesson.Published 2 months ago by Bob Hannan
I would like to say something about myself first just to show I.m a well educated and a person who is not easily influenced or fooled. I.m a retired Chemist with an avg. 136 I.Q. Read morePublished 4 months ago by DON TOWNSEND
the Obamanation destroying America from within thing....uh hu, no doubt about that. Other than that 'author denial' , ok book, decent points.Published 10 months ago by MakeAmericagreatagain
Jonathan Kay provides insights into the recent increase in conspiracy movements. According to Kay, the watershed event was the assassination of JFK which gave birth to all sorts... Read morePublished 17 months ago by bronx book nerd
Scary in so many ways. He explains how we got to where we are and why fanatics are around every corner. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Rich
Viewed negatively, "Among the truthers" is a screed against Truthers and other
conspiracists. Read more
This is a most disturbing book. It's a little dry, but I've read it twice and find it's arguments convincing. I think the author is right. Read morePublished on July 19, 2014 by Roger Clark