Joely Black's Reviews > Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History

Voodoo Histories by David Aaronovitch
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Jul 02, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: skepticism
Read from July 02 to 03, 2011

A great introduction to the business of debunking conspiracy theories. Having attended David Aaronovitch's talk on the subject at GMSS, I was curious to read the book behind it. Aaronovitch has created a useful synthesis of major conspiracy theories of the twentieth and 21st centuries, from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to 9/11. He finishes with an interesting discussion on the reasons why conspiracy theories have become so prevalent recently, who and why we believe in them.

The work is thoroughly researched and I would recommend it to anybody who'd like an introduction to the theories, as well as what the evidence really shows about what happened. Of course, I'd recommend that anybody wanting to get a thorough grounding in specific cases follow up and do more detailed reading, but Aaronovitch's aim isn't entirely to debunk every single theory that has popped up since the late 1800s. It is more to present the concept of the conspiracy theory, how they work and who tends to develop them.

What emerges is a discussion, through specific examples, of the conspiracy theory as a social concept, including the people who propagate them and why we often fall for them.
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