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Voodoo Histories: How Conspiracy Theory Has Shaped Modern History Kindle Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Length: 400 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Review

"A handbook to be cherished by anyone who would rather have the unvarnished truth" (Daily Mail)

"Superbly researched, wittily written and eminently sane" (Andrew Roberts Literary Review)

"Gloriously readable" (Independent)

"Dazzling debunkery" (Scotland on Sunday)

"This book leaves us in no doubt that arriving at the truth is a vital matter - at times a matter of life and death" (John Lloyd Financial Times)

Book Description

A stinging assault on the shocking, dotty and sinister world of modern conspiracy theories by the award-winning journalist David Aaronovitch.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2128 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (25 Jan. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004LB59X2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #45,429 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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 US version of Aaronovitch's original UK-biased text, which includes the conspiracy theories surrounding Obama's birth, doesn't disappoint - though it might have had more bite. Erstwhile 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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By Pete VINE VOICE on 5 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is an enjoyable trip through many of recent history's most popular conspiracy theories. The recurring theme is the tendency for apparently intelligent people to challenge "official" stories with a deep scepticism, yet fail to apply any level of critical scepticism at all to their own ideas. There are some interesting common themes and tendencies throughout these, and the conclusion makes interesting observations about our need to find neat narratives in an otherwise indifferent and chaotic world, as well as the odd fact that it tends to be people with plenty of academic qualifications who propagate these stories.

Where he really succeeds is in his ability to tell these stories while (largely) holding back on excessive ridicule or ranting, allowing theories to collapse under their own preposterous contradictions with only a bit of prodding. These are strongest where subsequent evidence (e.g. DNA testing) has incontrovertibly disproved a theory that at the time seemed backed by very strong evidence.

These are generally viewed across the political spectrum, although his portrayal of Noam Chomsky as a sensible chap with no time for daft theories is quite surprising. I liked the observation that much of this is "history for losers", explaining why the collapse of popular beliefs isn't really the fault of the believers but of some invisible omnipotent power - it's interesting to see the vehemence of the JFK theories arising from the awkward fact that Oswald was a fairly hard-core leftie.
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Format: Paperback
If this book has one failing, it lies with the author suggesting that it might provide the reader with the means to counter the all too familiar, deluded slightly inadequate chap you find yourself sitting next to in a pub, the one who knows that Diana's death was an MI5 plot, and though uninvited proceeds to explain how he knows this, much to your regret.

The book can sadly provide no arguments for these occasions, because the committed conspiracy theorist is not using Occam's razor to underpin their logic but rather a tortured, evidence and probability-oblivious route to substantiate their conclusion.

Mr Aaronovitch neatly and calmly sets out the evidence against a number of household name conspiracy theories and gives a plausible if unprovable theory of his own as to why an acquaintance or colleague who you previously thought sensible, announces that he is convinced that Bush was behind 9/11, and why when you point out that Governments can't even covertly do something simple like secretly plant some uranium in Iraq, even this is somehow co-opted as evidence, the uranium being deliberately 'not planted' so as to make people like me write reviews like this.
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Format: Paperback
there was insufficient space in David's engrossing debunking of conspiracy theories to fit in a chapter on the most destructive, costly and deadly CT of them all. It may have slipped his mind, to be fair, since it was a good 10 years ago but try this trillion dollar screw-up on the part of those who followed a ludicrous farrago of half-truths, dodgy dossiers, selective presentation of evidence and downright deception. Here's how it went guys:
Iraq - a largely failed state that can barely feed itself and is currently engaged in no conflicts with its neighbours (or anyone else come to think of it) - has taken it upon itself to build a stockpile of chemical and biological weapons,not to mention making inroads into obtaining nuclear weapons. Why has it done this? Why to "threaten the West", maybe in 45m, maybe not but Saddam Hussein's military are a 'clear and present danger' that must be tackled now! He may also have been behind the 9/11 attacks but we can provide no firm evidence of this. Anyway it is urgent that we invade his country in order to prevent an imminent disaster. It's so important that even though we're already fighting a costly failing war in Afghanistan, there can be no further delay!

Let's be honest, you'd have to be a complete ninny to swallow that hogwash, still less to still cling to the opinion, after 10 years of post-invasion scandal and bloodshed, that it was all a worthwhile enterprise. C'mon Dave, bring your mammoth critical powers to bear on that humdinger - the conspiracy theory that almost wrecked the US economy and destroyed a Presidency! Dave? Hello Dave? Lampoon those credulous fools for us Dave! Who were they? Name them DAVE!!!
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