Bryan Appleyard

The New Hucksterism

Counterknowledge: How We Surrendered to Conspiracy Theories, Quack Medicine, Bogus Science and Fake History


Atlantic Books 165pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

We are facing, says Damian Thompson, ‘a pandemic of credulous thinking’. Apparently sane people believe 9/11 was an American plot, that the Chinese circumnavigated the globe in 1421, that Aids was invented by the CIA and that MI5 killed Diana. The ever gullible middle classes resort to ‘alternative’ quackery to live longer and become thinner, and the ever shameless working classes go on TV shows to be intimately bossed around by the likes of Gillian McKeith. It’s all either lies, snake oil or, occasionally, honest stupidity. It’s all, to use Thompson’s coinage, ‘counterknowledge’.

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