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A Journey Through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground

by Jonathan Kay

Pub Date: May 10th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-200481-9
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

An exposé into the secret world of American conspiracy theories, as well as the resulting fallout of a country's inability to discern a common narrative.

National Post (Canada) managing editor Kay’s debut explores, and often debunks, the many myths and conspiracies woven into America's cultural fabric. Beginning with the Knights of Templar and working through the rise of the Tea Party Movement, the author’s all-encompassing view cracks the door to the unexplained, casting light across the shadowy realm of the past. Yet not all mysteries can be so easily solved, and when discussing the varied interpretations of the JFK assassination, as well as the fluttering of the American flag on a zero-gravity moon, a befuddled Kay can only reply, “The world is a complicated place, and some aspects of even the most heavily scrutinized historical events always will remain fissures in society’s intellectual foundations.” These complications only increased after 9/11, a moment which Kay cites as a pivotal point in America's ability to believe its own story. The initial murky details of the attacks, coupled with the rise of the Internet age, provided a one-two punch aimed directly at truth. Equally harmful was the "jaded skepticism" with which American viewers began regarding journalists. With so many competing information outlets, stories began to unravel, not unlike a high-stakes game of telephone. The author attributes most of these informational problems to the Internet, "a radical democratization of the conspiracist marketplace of ideas" which provided a framework for crackpot theories and a ready-made audience with no particular oversight. On occasion, Kay teeters dangerously close to the lunacy of which he writes, yet more often than not, his level-headed exploration of these theories—along with the people who perpetuate them—add a much-needed grounding to his work. The author himself as a buoy of truth trapped in a sea of uncertainty—just what the skeptical reader requires.

A well-researched and provocative account of our most baffling conspiracies.