A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America

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University of California Press, Nov 7, 2003 - Religion - 243 pages
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"Tracing the beliefs in various conspiracies and mega-conspiracies in literature, apocalyptic and political writing, and popular culture, Barkun creates an exceptional and invaluable genealogy of the extraordinary permutations that these ideas have undergone since WWII and, of course, as a result of the Internet. Barkun dives into the religious and political matrix of what some call the "lunatic fringe," forcing us to look at the revival and spread of conspiracist thinking on an even grander scale into broad reaches of American culture. For those who think conspiracy thinking is a fading phenomenon, or a cultural phenomenon of little significance or creativity, think again. Welcome to the third millennium."—Richard Landes, Director, Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University; editor of The Encyclopedia of Millennial Movements and author of Relics, Apocalypse, and the Deceits of History

"Millennial dreams, apocalyptic nightmares populated by agents of the Antichrist, space aliens, and acolytes of the New World Order-With a calm approach and scrupulous academic bearings, Barkun navigates through the reefs of conspiracist allegation from the cosmic to the comic, from Biblical prophecy to Internet alerts."—Chip Berlet, co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America

"This is a gripping, and at times scary, book. Michael Barkun, one of our most respected political scientists, has produced a meticulously researched and highly perceptive account of those who find credible an incredible assortment of nefarious conspiracies emanating not only from the Jews, Masons, Catholics and politicians in our midst, but also from ' out there.’ This book should be read by everyone who believes that there are some ways of checking the differences between truths and fantasies - and by everyone who doesn' t."—Eileen Barker, Professor of Sociology, the London School of Economics
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - minfo - LibraryThing

Organized and comprehensive review linking the many disparate groups who have melded together into a panoply of paranoia. If you believe that 'somebody's out to get you', you'll rate this book pretty poorly! Read full review

A culture of conspiracy: apocalyptic visions in contemporary America

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Barkun, whose Religion and the Racist Right found odd juxtapositions between right-wing conspiracy and UFO literature, continues that theme here, finding a fusion of right-wing conspiracy theories ... Read full review

Contents

The Nature of Conspiracy Belief
1
Millennialism Conspiracy and Stigmatized Knowledge
15
New World Order Conspiracies
39
A World of Black Helicopters
65
UFO Conspiracy Theories 19751990
79
Jim Keith and David Icke
98
Armageddon Below
110
UFOs and the Search for Scapegoats
126
AntiSemitism among the Aliens
141
The Aftermath
158
Millennialists from Outer Space
170
Notes
191
Bibliography
221
Index
239
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About the author (2003)

Michael Barkun, Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School, Syracuse University, is author of Religion and the Racist Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement (revised edition 1997) and Disaster and the Millennium (1986), among other books.

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