Friday, May 10, 2019

Five top books on conspiracy theories in America

Anna Merlan is the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.

At LitHub she tagged five top books on conspiracy theories in America, including:
Fortress Russia by Ilya Yablokov

When skilfully deployed by the powerful, conspiracy theories can be politically valuable. In the hands of a canny leader, they unite the public against a common enemy, they distract from internal unrest or corruption, and they create a justification for the leader to remain in power and take more and more control. Donald Trump is not that kind of leader, and his deployment of conspiracy theories—birtherism, ghoulishly accusing his opponents of inflating the number of deaths during Hurricane Maria—has been truly hamfisted. For an understanding of how conspiracy theorizing works successfully in the hands of someone in his position, read Yablokov’s gripping book. Among other things, the book adeptly charts the rise of Putin and his intersection with American leaders, and his repeated deployment of anti-Western conspiracy theories. For anyone hoping to understand global politics, the particular mess Americans find ourselves in, or the particular accusations levied by both Russian and American leaders against each other, it’s an invaluable read.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue