Authors Tom Phillips and Jonn Elledge assert in their insightful book ‘Conspiracy’ that Conspiracy theories are all around us and none of us are immune from believing in them.  Between YouTube, Covid and Donald Trump, the world’s media seem to have agreed that we have entered ‘a golden age of conspiracy theories.’ The authors’ challenge to the reader is to question that assumption because ‘conspiracism’ ebbs and flows.

In this well researched book Phillips and Elledge explore with humour the nature and the very, very long history of conspiracy theories; they were present in the politics of Ancient Athens and Rome.  The authors emphasize that as a result of escalation, conspiracy theories’ beginnings are generally far removed from the fantastical places where they end up; they grow in the gaps of more conventional explanations. However, it is pointed out that not all conspiracy theories are false; the sexual abuse of minors by Jimmy Saville is a good example.

This engaging book covers many conspiracy theories, many of which will strike the readers as being utterly bizarre; those surrounding the moon landing and the HIV pandemic are excellent examples.

Readers will discover conspiracy theories which didn’t make the headlines as well as those which have been fully discussed in the media, be it the death of Kennedy, the disappearance of Harold Holt or 9/11, there is a conspiracy theory for everyone.

Author                         Tom Phillips & John Elledge.
Publisher                     Hachette Publishers UK.
ISBN                              9781472286314

Review By Nan Van Dissel


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