Saturday, February 26, 2011

BC2011: Voodoo Histories

I'm not sure whether David Aaronovitch's book satisfies its subtitle "The Role of Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History," but the author sets about examining and debunking a broad range of conspiracy theories from the anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion to the anti-Obama Birther movement. While by no means comprehensive, the book covers a good representative sample of the "alternative histories" concocted over the last century. In addition to providing ammunition for arguing with conspiracists, the book is very entertaining.

I bought this book for my wife last year because she enjoys reading about conspiracy theories even though she doesn't believe most of them. I thought she read it, but this week she grabbed it away from me to read about the death of Vince Foster. Taking books away from me while I'm reading them -- especially a book that passed the last six months in a stack beside her chair -- is not one of her more endearing qualities.

Anyway, I enjoyed Voodoo Histories, but naturally Aaronovitch has his detractors at Amazon.com where he gets about the same number of 5-star and 1-star reviews. Unsurprisingly, conspiracy theorists insist that the author has been duped.

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