Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Ten brilliant books to understand conspiracy thinking

Colin Dickey is the author of five books of nonfiction: Under the Eye of Power: How Fear of Secret Societies Shapes American Democracy; The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, and Our Obsession with the Unexplained; Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places; Afterlives of the Saints: Stories from the Ends of Faith; and Cranioklepty: Grave Robbing and the Search for Genius. He is also the co-editor (with Joanna Ebenstein) of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology.

At Publishers Weekly Dickey tagged ten of the best books to understand conspiracy thinking, including:
We Believe the Children: A Moral Panic in the 1980s by Richard Beck

Beck’s survey of the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic of the 1980s is as riveting as it is disturbing. How did a country become convinced that Satanists were hiding in every daycare and suburban home, subjecting children to bizarre esoteric blood sacrifices? How were so many parents and childcare workers sentenced to dozens—in some cases, hundreds—of years in prison on the testimony of coerced children without any physical evidence? How did something that seems straight out of Puritan New England in the 17th century take place in an era many of us lived through—and how did it get almost immediately forgotten after it burned out?
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue