Andrew Roberts

The Green-Ink Brigade

Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History

By

Jonathan Cape 368pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Have you ever been at a social occasion where out of the blue an otherwise normal-sounding bloke – it’s almost always a bloke – drops into the conversation a completely absurd conspiracy theory in a voice as if it were obviously true? JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered by the FBI, LBJ and the Mafia; Roosevelt and Churchill knew all about the attack on Pearl Harbor before it happened; Lady Di was assassinated by MI5; Mossad was behind 9/11, that kind of thing. Then, when you gently mock the theory, politely pointing out its obvious flaws, he implies that either you are thick, or suffering from false consciousness, or perhaps you’re even part of the cover-up yourself. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,