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.
If so, this is definitely the book for you. David Aaronovitch is one of those few Britons who can be referred to as an intellectual without it being pejorative. He is also a master of the art of ridicule, as this reviewer once discovered to his cost at