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Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America (Paperback)

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There is a hunger for conspiracy news in America. Hundreds of Internet websites, magazines, newsletters, even entire publishing houses, disseminate information on invisible enemies and their secret activities, subversions, and coverups. Those who suspect conspiracies behind events in the news—the crash of TWA Flight 800, the death of Marilyn Monroe—join generations of Americans, from the colonial period to the present day, who have entertained visions of vast plots. In this enthralling book Robert Goldberg focuses on five major conspiracy theories of the past half-century, examining how they became widely popular in the United States and why they have remained so.

In the post–World War II decades conspiracy theories have become more numerous, more commonly believed, and more deeply embedded in our culture, Goldberg contends. He investigates conspiracy theories regarding the Roswell UFO incident, the Communist threat, the rise of the Antichrist, the assassination of President John Kennedy, and the Jewish plot against black America, in each case taking historical, social, and political environments into account. Conspiracy theories are not merely the products of a lunatic fringe, the author shows. Rather, paranoid rhetoric and thinking are disturbingly central in America today. With media validation and dissemination of conspiracy ideas, and federal government behavior that damages public confidence and faith, the ground is fertile for conspiracy thinking.

About the Author

Robert Alan Goldberg is professor of history at the University of Utah. He is the author of Barry Goldwater, published by Yale University Press.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780300194722
ISBN-10: 0300194722
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: November 1st, 2001
Pages: 368
Language: English