Voodoo Histories Book Summary - Voodoo Histories Book explained in key points
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Voodoo Histories summary

David Aaronovitch

The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History

4.1 (28 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

Voodoo Histories by David Aaronovitch exposes the conspiracy theories which question historical facts. He discusses the emotional and political motivations behind such theories, creating a balanced approach to assessing them.

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    Voodoo Histories
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    Conspiracy theories differ from conspiracies, but they do share some common traits.

    Maybe you’ve watched a movie in which the hero gets to the bottom of some mystery. After much field work, he reveals that some important individual didn’t die in a car accident after all. No, it was murder – a conspiracy! Okay, so how does a conspiracy like this differ from a conspiracy theory?

    An actual act of conspiracy is not a conspiracy theory.

    A conspiracy happens when two or more people are involved in secretly plotting an illegal or deceptive act. Whereas a conspiracy theory is just that – a theory that the official explanation is not true, that there’s a conspiracy afoot.

    For example, one popular conspiracy theory is that NASA and the US government faked the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. But which is more likely: Thousands of people conspiring to create and cover up an elaborate hoax or NASA actually landing on the moon?    

    This method of cutting through competing explanations in search of the simplest one is known as Occam’s razor. It is one of the primary tools for analyzing the probability of a conspiracy theory.

    One way conspiracy theories gain believers is by citing “evidence.” Sometimes this comes in the form of celebrity endorsement, or from so-called experts with exaggerated qualifications. And these believers will work hard to present the evidence in a convincingly academic fashion.

    Conspiracy theories also range in size, from small plots (like a few members of Buckingham Palace being involved in the death of Princess Diana) to massively elaborate ones, like the Vatican hiding the truth about Jesus’s bloodline.

    Furthermore, real conspiracies sometimes lead to conspiracy theories.

    In the Middle East, there have been a number of legitimate conspiracies; this makes the area fertile ground for conspiracy theories.

    For instance, the fact that Britain and France conspired to divide up the Ottoman Empire after World War I has led to new conspiracy theories, such as ISIS being an Israeli plot intended to disrupt rival powers.

    In the next blink, we’ll find out how conspiracy theories create the illusion of truth.

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    What is Voodoo Histories about?

    Voodoo Histories (2009) is a fascinating look at why we love to create conspiracy theories. Why do we feel the need to create stories to explain tragic events, such as the Apollo 11 moon landing and the deaths of Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe? Read on and find out.

    Voodoo Histories Review

    Voodoo Histories (2009) explores the fascinating world of conspiracy theories, debunking popular myths and shedding light on the psychology behind them. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents a meticulously researched analysis of various conspiracy theories, separating fact from fiction and offering a balanced perspective.
    • With its exploration of historical events such as the moon landing and the 9/11 attacks, the book provides a captivating journey into conspiracy culture.
    • By challenging our preconceived notions and encouraging critical thinking, it serves as a thought-provoking and eye-opening read.

    Best quote from Voodoo Histories

    Conspiracy theorists fail to apply the principle of Occams razor to their arguments.

    —David Aaronovitch
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    Who should read Voodoo Histories?

    • People curious about conspiracy theories
    • Skeptics wanting to debunk conspiracy theories
    • Activists interested in the Zeitgeist Movement and similar groups

    About the Author

    Since the 1980s, David Aaronovitch has been an award-winning journalist for radio, TV and print. His first book, Paddling to Jerusalem, won the Madoc prize for travel literature in 2001, and his second, Voodoo Histories, was a Sunday Times top-ten best seller.

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    Voodoo Histories FAQs 

    What is the main message of Voodoo Histories?

    The main message of Voodoo Histories is to critically examine conspiracy theories and understand the power of skepticism.

    How long does it take to read Voodoo Histories?

    The reading time for Voodoo Histories varies based on individual reading speed, but it can be read in a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in about 15 minutes.

    Is Voodoo Histories a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Voodoo Histories is a fascinating book that explores the influence of conspiracy theories throughout history. It offers valuable insights and is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Voodoo Histories?

    The author of Voodoo Histories is David Aaronovitch.

    What to read after Voodoo Histories?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Voodoo Histories, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Liars, Leakers, and Liberals by Judge Jeanine Pirro
    • Suspicious Minds by Rob Brotherton
    • The Reality Game by Samuel Woolley
    • The Lincoln Conspiracy by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch
    • Russian Roulette by Michael Isikoff and David Corn
    • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    • Don't Overthink It by Anne Bogel
    • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
    • The Intelligence Trap by David Robson
    • The Janus Point by Julian Barbour