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A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America: 15 Paperback – 15 August 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 ratings
Edition: 1st

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Review

"Barkun [is] astonishingly well-grounded in literary, oral, and media sources, offering many insights into contemporary social experience. . . . That the beliefs described . . . are bizarre ought not to imply that they are innocuous or unworthy of careful observation."-- "Western Folklore"

"If Michael Barkun had endeavored only to document and catalogue wild and untamed strands of American conspiracy beliefs, this book would have still been a massive and worthy undertaking. Yet Barkun structures the book not with his impressive and highly readable intellectual histories of various conspiracy beliefs and their relationships with one another, but with a basic epistemological challenge: How do we really know what is true? . . .
Culture of Conspiracy is both a vivid history and wary explanation of why the strategy of obfuscating the facts of the world with unfalsifiable rhetoric and fearsome paranoia has always existed to some degree at both the fringes and the center of our nation's popular thought."-- "Terrorism & Political Violence"

"Like all good works of scholarship, A Culture of Conspiracy raises questions and invites further research. . . . Ideas, even bizarre and marginalized ideas, do have consequences, and we ignore them at our peril. Barkun's explorations, like the canary in the coal mine, warn us of what may lie ahead."-- "Christian Century"

Scholarly but fluently written and free of excessive jargon, Barkun's exploration of the conspiratorial worldview combines sociological depth with a deadpan appreciation of pop culture and raises serious questions about the replacement of democracy by conspiracy as the dominant paradigm of political action in the public mind.-- "Publishers Weekly"

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Praise for the First Edition:

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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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ *University of California Press; 1st edition (15 August 2013)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0520276825
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0520276826
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.24 x 2.03 x 22.86 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28 ratings

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Anglian Traveller
5.0 out of 5 stars Barkun's 2013 updated book remains an incisive contemporary analysis of `improvisational millennialism'
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 November 2014
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 October 2016
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the science patrol
5.0 out of 5 stars I've read both the first and second editions
Reviewed in Canada on 4 February 2019
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Patrick Revels
5.0 out of 5 stars Legitimate scholarship
Reviewed in the United States on 17 May 2022
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Lavoie76
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the easiest read, but very educational
Reviewed in the United States on 25 September 2016
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