Number One on his list:
The Paranoid Style in American PoliticsRead about all five titles on Holland's list.
By Richard Hofstadter
First conceived as a university lecture, Richard Hofstadter's seminal essay -- the title work in this collection -- remains the place to begin any discussion of conspiracy theories. "Heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy" are hallmarks of the paranoid style, writes Hofstadter (1916-70). To paranoia's purveyors, "history is a conspiracy, set in motion by demonic forces of almost transcendent power." Hofstadter was writing about extreme right-wing groups, such as the John Birch Society, that flourished in the early 1960s. It's a pity that he is not here to analyze today's extreme leftists who promote the line that the Bush administration was behind the 9/11 terror attacks.