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A biting, witty history of conspiracy theories

David Aaronovitch and I are reporters, born the same year, but it seems he was a lot luckier than I for the Conspiracy first 30 years or so of his career. His first exposure to the world's wing-nut conspiracy theorists came only in 2002, when one of his cameramen earnestly explained to the dumbfounded Aaronovitch that the 1969 moon landing was faked by NASA for reasons unknown but doubtless sinister.

Underwhelmed by the theory -- ``a hoax on such a grand scale would necessarily involve hundreds if not thousands of participants'' -- but fascinated that an otherwise sensible colleague could believe it, Aaronovitch plunged into the murky waters of conspiratology.

Voodoo Histories is his witty and unnerving report on what he found, and apparently Aaronovitch has more than made up for all those years of sheltered existence. He's spent much of the past decade reading and speaking with the world's most profound nut cases. From the murder-by-enema of Marilyn Monroe (by the Mafia, the Kennedys, communists, her shrink, her housekeeper, take your pick) to the nerve-gas assassination of Princess Diana (by a transvestite hooker or an irate dry cleaner, take your pick), poor Aaronovitch has listened patiently to them all.

Read my full review of Voodoo Histories The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History in Sunday's Miami Herald.


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