Conspiracy Theories

The Roots, Themes and Propagation of Paranoid Political and Cultural Narratives


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About the Book

Narratives based on conspiratorial and paranoid thinking have become increasingly prominent throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. From the prosaic to the outlandish, conspiracy theories involve aliens and Nazis, underground bases and mind control technology. They range from sinister tales of malevolent reptilian beings infiltrating our government to fears of the New World Order rounding up patriotic Americans and putting them into internment camps. These stories and their underlying concerns have a long history in the U.S. and have often been bolstered by revelations of real conspiracies and cover-ups by private and public entities. This book examines conspiracy theories and the narratives constructed by those who believe and propagate them, providing a unique view of U.S. history and highlighting fears both founded and unfounded.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Aaron John Gulyas is a history instructor at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan, where he specializes in the modern United States and American military history.

Bibliographic Details

Aaron John Gulyas
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9726-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2349-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Preface 1

Introduction: The Nature of Conspiracy 5

1. Secret Societies 21

2. New World Orders 45

3. They Came from Outer Space 70

4. Mind Control 98

5. Mad Science and Forbidden Knowledge 134

6. The Hidden World of the Nazis 172

Conclusion 196

Chapter Notes 203

Bibliography 215

Index 225

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Gulyas has performed the valuable service of providing the historical background of some of the major themes of contemporary theories. Recommended”—Choice
  • “An updated and well researched genealogy of some of the most enduring tropes of conspiracy lore. A historical overview of ideas about secret societies, a perpetually coming New World Order, extraterrestrials, mind control experiments, secret technology, and hidden Nazi cabals”—Nova Religio