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Conspiracy Theory in America

(Discovering America)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Ever since the Warren Commission concluded that a lone gunman assassinated President John F. Kennedy, people who doubt that finding have been widely dismissed as conspiracy theorists, despite credible evidence that right-wing elements in the CIA, FBI, and Secret Service--and possibly even senior government officials--were also involved. Why has suspicion of criminal wrongd ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 15th 2013 by University of Texas Press (first published April 2nd 2013)
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Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
In this important book Prof. deHaven-Smith lucidly explains how the powerful have deflected attention from their crimes by encouraging the public to distrust "conspiracy theories". He describes how distrust of power was of fundamental importance in creating the structures of American government, and how Cold War efforts to lull the suspicion with which Americans had historically regarded their leaders has led to a breakdown in democracy.

deHaven-Smith traces the ideological underpinnings of this
Lauren Brown
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I got this book for free at my university's library. I'm currently using it as research for my dissertation.

For me, academic books are very hard to read because they're wordy and pretty boring (in my opinion), but this one wasn't. I'll admit, I was skim-reading towards the end, mostly because it was heavy in politics which I'm not very interested in (and it's not relevant to my essay), but this was good. I liked the way the evidence for each conspiracy was presented, and the general format in w
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Since I read the first page, this book had every single bit of my attention. I have always been curious about JFK’s death ever since learning about it in my U.S. History class. Every paragraph carried valuable information about the mysteries of JFK’s and a little bit of MLK’s death and the government conspiracies that followed. In addition, it includes theories that support the conspiracies, but also reasons why there should not be any suspicions at all against the government. I really loved whe ...more
Alicia Fox
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a well-balanced, well-researched book on how the concept of conspiracy theories developed. DeHaven-Smith provides a grounding on the relevant philosophies of Popper and Strauss, and how their thinking influenced powerful men starting in the mid-20th century to possibly concoct conspiracies. Then, in the 1960s, the term "conspiracy theory" came into use (first by the CIA in defense of the Warren Commission) and, quickly, grew pejorative.

DeHaven-Smith does a terrific job of explaining how
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer - i did the audible book found it very intriguing

SCAD - state crimes against democracy is a very real concept
I heard this book recommended on the Red Scare podcast by Mark Crispin Miller, who also functions as the series editor of the Discovering America series, of which this book is a part.

He mentioned the book to lend support to his claim that the concept of the conspiracy theory has been actively propogated by the CIA, through the media, to discredit accusations of elite wrongdoing. In the wake of the Kennedy assasination, when suspicion on his VP, Lydon Johnson, and disbelief in the Warren report
May 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this, especially if they love to call out others as being "conspiracy theorists".

Lance delves deep into the history of the terminology and the weaponization of free speech by covert government officials.

While I disagree with the whole "democracy"aspect of this book, because we have a republic and there's a huge difference between the two governmental forms, I didn't allow that to deter me in the important information presented in this book.
Steve Lewis
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very different to what I expected... well worth the time to read... a measured history and dissection of the "odd-ball" phenomenon, which perhaps is not as entirely off the wall as it's made out to be. ...more
Be bop ba bodda bop. I'm the SCAD Man!

But for real, this should be required reading for political science students. It would have saved me a lot of time trying to understand politics.
Jennifer Ronsen
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