Conspiracy theories have been a potent force across the political spectrum, at the center as well as the extremes, from the colonial era to the present. Jesse Walker will be interviewed by John Tierney about his new book, The United States of Paranoia.
Walker explores this rich history, arguing that conspiracy stories should be read not just as claims to be either believed or debunked but also as folklore. When a tale takes hold, it reveals something true about the anxieties and experiences of those who believe and repeat it, even if the story says nothing true about the objects of the theory itself.
Jesse Walker is books editor of Reason and the author of one other book, Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America.
Read excerpts from The United States of Paranoia at Salon:
and the Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324009304579041304166973252.html