They Knew: How a Culture of Conspiracy Keeps America Complacent

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They Knew: How a Culture of Conspiracy Keeps America Complacent

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“Every sentence delivered. The pathos of truth-seeking left me thinking of Herman Melville."
—Timothy Snyder, #1 New York Times bestselling author of On Tyranny

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING author Sarah Kendzior delves into the difference between conspiracy and conspiracy theory, "deftly separat[ing] fact from fiction in a conspiracy-addled nation" (VANITY FAIR).

Conspiracy theories are on the rise because officials refuse to enforce accountability for real conspiracies. Uncritical faith in broken institutions is as dangerous as false narratives peddled by propagandists.

The truth may hurt—but the lies will kill us.

They Knew discusses conspiracy culture in a rapidly declining United States struggling with corruption, climate change, and other crises. As the actions of the powerful remain shrouded in mystery—“From Norman Baker to Jeffrey Epstein, Iran-Contra to January 6" (VF)—it is unsurprising that people turn to conspiracy theories to fill the informational void. They Knew exposes the tactics these powerful actors use to placate an inquisitive public.

Here, for the first time, Kendzior blends her signature whip-smart prose and eviscerating arguments with lyrical and intimate examinations of the times and places that haunt American history. "America is a ghost story," writes Kendzior, as she unearths decades of buried history, providing an essential and critical look at how to rebuild our democracy by confronting the political lies and crimes that have shaped us.

Sarah Kendzior is the author of the bestselling books The View From Flyover Country, Hiding in Plain Sight, and They Knew. She is the co-host of the acclaimed podcast Gaslit Nation with Andrea Chalupa and was named by Foreign Policy as one of the “100 people you should be following on Twitter to make sense of global events.” Kendzior has a PhD in anthropology from Washington University, where she researched authoritarian regimes of the former Soviet Union. She lives in St. Louis.

ISBN: 9781250878601

ISBN-10: 9781250878601

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: 04/23/2024 - 12:00am

On Sale: 04/23/2024 - 12:00am

Pages: 256

Language: English


Political Science / Political Ideologies / Radicalism

Social Science / Conspiracy Theories

Political Science / American Government / National

Social Science / Media Studies