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Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

David Aaronovitch , James Langton
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
Price: 56.89 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

22 Feb 2010

Our age is obsessed by the idea of conspiracy. We see it everywhere - from Pearl Harbour to 9/11, from the assassination of Kennedy to the death of Diana. Bookshop shelves threaten to collapse under the weight of texts devoted to proving myriad conspiracy theories true, while even quality newspapers and serious TV channels are prepared to give them credence.

For David Aaronovitch, there came a time when he started to see a pattern. These theories used similar dodgy 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 importantly, 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 a deception that they did.

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

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc; Library ed edition (22 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400145929
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400145928
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 16.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Product Description

About the Author

David Aaronovitch is an award-winning journalist, who has worked in radio, television and newspapers in the United Kingdom since the early 1980s. He lives in Hampstead, north London, with his wife, three daughters and Kerry Blue the terrier. His first book, Paddling to Jerusalem, won the Madoc prize for travel literature in 2001. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a nasty piece of trash this is. 24 April 2014
Format:Hardcover
I have part read this piece of trash book but realise that Aaronovotch has already proved himself a liar and supporter of mass murder, torture and genocide and has a lot invested in covering up his and his buddies' and handlers' crimes. Why would anyone beleive anything this liar writes and why is he still employed as a 'journalist'? Because the English press only employs liars and prostitutes. I think most readers are aware that Aaronovitch has admitted he committed fraud in posting five star reviews for his crappy book, so go ahead waste your money to read a load of s***e.
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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding conspiracy theories 2 Jan 2010
By Iain S. Palin TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The author deals with a number of well-known conspiracy theories, from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to the death of Dr David Kelly, by way of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the death of Marilyn Monroe, the assassinations of JFK and RFK, the moon landings, the Da Vinci code/bloodline of Jesus stuff, and 9/11 (among others) and to my mind demolishes them pretty thoroughly.
But he isn't just interested in debunking. He also examines why people believe in conspiracy theories and why they can exert such a strong grip on them. He points out that conspiracists tend to be on the "losing side" (politically, socially, or economically) of society, and that believing in conspiracies is therapeutic for them. They can explain why they are on the losing side ("we were robbed, deceived") salve their hurt ("the people who deceived us are so powerful, so evil, it's understandable that they appear to be the winners") and then restore their egos ("we have seen the truth, we are so much cleverer than ordinary people who are happy to be sheep-like in their acceptance of things; we are illuminated, in the know, we are special").
Interestingly he is able to develop this line in the light of some recent psychological and biological research which indicates we are genetically hard wired to look for causes and effects. This seems to be related to our developing tool-using capabilities; in order to develop and employ tools we need to think in cause and effect terms. (And of course while some animals to make occasional and specific use of natural objects as tools, humans are the only ones to do so extensively and develop the range of tools to use.
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By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is not a comprehensive review of all the conspiracy theories going - it would have had to be ten times the size - and falls slightly short of the subtitle claim to assess "the role of the Conspiracy Theory in shaping modern history."

Nevertheless it is an interesting and entertaining analysis of a dozen or so prominent conspiracy theories, and in several cases, their effect on historial events.

Of course, before you can discuss a subject as diverse as conspiracy theories, you have to decide how to decine what you are discussing. Aaronovitch writes about number of possible definitions of what a conspiracy theory is at the beginning of the book before settling on the following definition: "the attribution of deliberate agency to something which is more likely to be accidental or unintended.

I was interested to discover from the introduction to this book that the author's interest on conspiracy theories which led him to write this book had been sparked by exactly the same experience which sparked my interest and led me to buy it: the discovery that an intelligent and generally sceptical work colleague held the bizarre view that NASA had faked the moon landings.

Ever since he was a student David Aaronovitch has been one of those people who defy categorisation. As a communist student he was elected President of the National Union of Students and the last block of votes which took him over the "quota" to election transferred from the Conservative candidate, making Aaronovitch a feature in some student conspiracy theories himself.
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By The Guardian TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
You can be reasonably confident in advance that a book will be worth reading if it has conspiracy theorists in rant-mode and foaming with indignation: a raw nerve has obviously been poked. Such a book is David Aaronovitch's `Voodoo Histories' which exposes the delusional ideological framework at the heart of conspiracy-theorist psychology.

This original UK version of Aaronovitch's text, which includes the conspiracy theories surrounding the deaths of Hilda Murrell and David Kelly, doesn't disappoint - though it might have had more bite. Radical anti-establishment journalist Aaronovitch looks into why many otherwise sane and rational people buy into the more outlandish conspiracy theories which litter modern social history. From the fraudulent 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion,' manufactured by 19th century Czarist police to justify the persecution of Jewish people and enthusiastically promoted by Adolf Hitler and Henry Ford (of all people); to the '9/11 was an inside job' fantasists who employ ignorant pseudo-science to feed dogmatic belief-systems and multiple fringe political-propagandist agendas, Aaronovitch takes us on a fascinating, instructive and frequently amusing ride through a parade of delusional ideologies to be found just beneath the surface of contemporary society, and does a mostly effective job in deconstructing them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars A load of hogwash!
This book is an attempted "hatchet job" on history. JFK was obviously not murdered by Lee Harvey Oswald, the entire world knows that to be true, yet Aaronovitch claims it's... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Many Worlds
5.0 out of 5 stars A real Eye Opener.
First of all, this book is really easy to read. It is quite a tome in hardback (the format which I read it in) and the title gives it the polished air of an academic study (which... Read more
Published 6 months ago by bekibird
2.0 out of 5 stars Case of skilled writer with nothing to say...
Well, for starters I've got to admit that for one reason or another, I happen to like conspiracy theories. Read more
Published 18 months ago by MALee
1.0 out of 5 stars A pennies worth of claptrap
David Aaronovitch is one of those smug, self opinionated wind bags that quite often appears on the BBC as he is regarded as a safe pair of hands and part of the establishment. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Geoff
1.0 out of 5 stars rubbish from a right wing reactionary
This book is absolute rubbish - not surprising when it is written by a right wing reactionary such Mr aaronovitch. Read more
Published on 6 Sep 2011 by Fin Hope
1.0 out of 5 stars An ultimately disappointing book.
The author deconstructs very popular, very prominent conspiracy theories - choices disappointing in themselves; they have been done before so often that now, the only people... Read more
Published on 8 July 2011 by Aleks
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry David
Sorry also to Amazon but I borrowed Book this from a friend.

Gosh , where to start !

9/11

Dustification of the Twin-towers

Lateral... Read more
Published on 11 Jun 2011 by John D. Weir
1.0 out of 5 stars Professional Liar
Aaronovitch links 'conspiracy theorists' with the idea of "hating the Jews". Wrong. Some people really hate LIES and the LIARS who tell those treacherous (and treasonous)... Read more
Published on 17 April 2011 by K. BOYLE
1.0 out of 5 stars Propaganda classic
Any book touting the term 'conspiracy theory' on it's cover red flags the aware reader to its purpose---propaganda. Read more
Published on 13 Feb 2011 by whale.to
2.0 out of 5 stars Voodoo Debunkery
Starts powerfully, I thought. Stalin's show trials and Pearl Harbour chapters executed in genuinely impressive prose, and when I began to pick up on the subtext of the latter (the... Read more
Published on 3 Dec 2010 by HEADPRESS
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