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The Belief in a Just World: A Fundamental Delusion
Melvin Lerner

Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History

Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History - David Aaronovitch First, his publisher lets him down. The subtitle is misleading. He only discusses it in the conclusion and barely answers the question (someone answers it for him). The first tag line on the back concerns a conspiracy he doesn't even discuss. But these are advertising tools and hopefully people won't use them to dismiss what is an excellent book (if I lend this to my conspiracist friends I might have to black them out, both to keep them from judging it based on the stupidity of someone at the publishing house and to convince them that someone secretly edited the book!). This will not convince conspiracists, or I really doubt it will. Aaronovitch is more interested in the phenomenon and the similarities from the conspiracy to conspiracy than he is in debunking every single myth (and as we know from Kolakowski's law of infinite cornucopia, that task is impossible because there are infinite myths). His objections are common sensical and typical and so will probably satisfy absolutely no believers. For those of you on the line, not sure whether you believe in conspiracies or not, or for those of you true sceptics, this is one hilarious book. It's almost as if Aaronivitch wrote it in order and grew tired of the stupidity of the theories as it seems to get funnier and funnier as it goes along. There are some classic lines (my favourite: Nobody has been killed seeking the Priory of Sion, though one may live in hope). At bottom, this is journalism and not an academic treatise so there could be a little more explanation of the why (most of it is left for the conclusion) but Aaronovitch's matter of fact examinations of these silly theories and his endless hilarious barbs are well worth the read. I also applaud him for focusing more on his British conspiracies than the American ones, as I learned about conspiracy theories I never knew existed (no doubt because of some plot to keep me uninformed).