Cover image for Conspiracy theories : secrecy and power in American culture
Title:
Conspiracy theories : secrecy and power in American culture
Author:
Fenster, Mark.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
xxii, 282 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780816632428

9780816632435
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library HV6275 .F45 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

JFK, Karl Marx, the Pope, Aristotle Onassis, Queen Elizabeth II, Howard Hughes, Fox Mulder, Bill Clinton -- all have been linked to vastly complicated global (or even galactic) intrigues. In this enlightening tour of conspiracy theories, Mark Fenster guides readers through this shadowy world and analyzes its complex role in American culture and politics.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Just because overarching conspiracy theories are wrong does not mean they are not on to something," opines Fenster in this commendably level-headed analysis of the grip that conspiracy theories maintain on contemporary America. He does not bother sifting for truth in the The X-Files, the Clinton Chronicles or JFK, but he does pay close attention to those who believe and promulgate conspiracy theoriesÄwhat he calls the "conspiracy community." Even if every conspiracy theory is patently false (Fenster does not marshal evidence either way), he argues that mainstream culture's affinity for conspiracy theory is an important phenomenon itself. The "conspiracy" tag can be used to delegitimize others' opinions, as when the allegations that the CIA helped bring crack into East L.A. were written off as part of the African-American community's supposed susceptibility to conspiracy. And conspiracy theory is too often simply the cover story for racists and anti-Semites. But Fenster also notes that conspiracy theory serves a useful purpose as a balm to the politically alienated segments of society, and he optimistically interprets the popular pursuit of uncovering the hidden mechanics of power as evidence of a latent populism waiting to harnessed. By neither dismissing conspiracy theorists as paranoid kooks nor being seduced by their yarns, Fenster constructs a strong case that even while we do not believe, we should nonetheless listen. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


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