Voodoo Histories by David Aaronovitch
The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History

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Synopsis

An absorbing, probing look at the conspiracy theories that operate on the sidelines of history and the reasons they continue to play such a seditious role, from an award-winning journalist.

Our age is obsessed by the idea of conspiracy. We see it everywhere- from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, from the assassination of Kennedy to the death of Diana. In this age of terrorism we live in, the role of conspiracy is a serious one, one that can fuel radical or fringe elements to violence.

For David Aaronovitch, there came a time when he started to see a pattern among these inflammatory theories. these theories used similarly murky methods with which to insinu­ate their claims: they linked themselves to the supposed conspiracies of the past (it happened then so it can happen now); they carefully manipulated their evidence to hide its holes; they relied on the authority of dubious aca­demic sources. Most important, they elevated their believers to membership of an elite- a group of people able to see beyond lies to a higher reality. But why believe something that entails stretching the bounds of probabil­ity so far? Surely it is more likely that men did actually land on the moon in 1969 than that thousands of people were enlisted to fabricate an elaborate hoax.

In this entertaining and enlightening book -aimed at providing ammunition for those who have found themselves at the wrong end of a conversation about moon landings or the twin towers-Aaronovitch carefully probes and explodes a dozen of the major conspiracy theories. In doing so, he examines why people believe them, and makes an argument for a true skepticism: one based on a thorough knowledge of history and a strong dose of common sense.
 

About David Aaronovitch

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David Aaronovitch is an award-winning journalist who has worked in radio, television, and for newspapers in the U.K. since the early 1980s. A recipient for the Orwell Prize for political journalism, Aaronovitch writes a regular column for The Times (U.K.). He lives in North London with his wife and daughters. Author website: davidaaronovitch.com
 
Published January 4, 2011 by Riverhead Trade. 416 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Voodoo Histories

The New York Times

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Paranoia strikes deep in this journalist’s survey of conspiracy theories in Western politics.

Mar 21 2010 | Read Full Review of Voodoo Histories: The Role of...

The New York Times

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In “Voodoo Histories,” the journalist David Aaronovitch deconstructs a dizzying array of conspiracy theories with logic, common sense and at times exasperated wit.

Feb 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Voodoo Histories: The Role of...

The Guardian

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For all that, he makes a very good case for a general theory of conspiracy theories.

May 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Voodoo Histories: The Role of...

AV Club

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Need to debunk a Birther, a Da Vinci Code fan, or someone who thinks the Kennedys killed Marilyn Monroe? This dissection of conspiracy theories is the book for you.

Mar 11 2010 | Read Full Review of Voodoo Histories: The Role of...

The Independent

He defines a conspiracy theory – as opposed to a real conspiracy – neatly.

May 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Voodoo Histories: The Role of...

Scotsman.com

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May 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Voodoo Histories: The Role of...

The New American

The past should enlighten us on the future: knowledge of history is no more than an anticipated experience.” While Aaronovitch assumes that his knowledge of history sharpens his vision and enables him thus to distinguish fact from fancy, Duclos rightly asserts that one’s familiarity of history sh...

Feb 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Voodoo Histories: The Role of...

Reason Magazine

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Feb 19 2010 | Read Full Review of Voodoo Histories: The Role of...

California Literary Review

At the beginning of his book Voodoo Histories, David Aaronovitch recounts the event which sparked off his research into conspiracy theories.

Mar 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Voodoo Histories: The Role of...

London School of Economics

Aaronovitch takes us through, in great detail, conspiracy theories of the past from the Protocols of Zion through the Stalinist Purges onto the Kennedy Assasination and up to date with Diana’s death, 9/11, 7/7 and, of course, the death of David Kelly.

Apr 29 2009 | Read Full Review of Voodoo Histories: The Role of...

The Jewish Chronicle

Consider this extract from The Messianic Legacy by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln — the authors of Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, which helped inspire The Da Vinci Code — about the Priory of Sion, the mythical gathering that they believe really runs the world.

Feb 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Voodoo Histories: The Role of...

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