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How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From

by Daniel Pipes
New York: Free Press, 1997

Was AIDS intentionally inflicted upon blacks by whites? Was JFK assassinated as part of an intricate conspiracy? Pipes traces conspiracy theories through history to show that "Conspiracism" - genuine and virulent belief in a conspiracy - dates back to the First Crusade and reached a peak in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, with the focus shifting from the Jews, groups such as Freemasons and the Rosicrucians, and back again.

Read a chapter: "Conspiracy Theories Everywhere"
Read an excerpt on Augustin de Barruel
Read an excerpt on the JFK assassination conspiracy
Read an excerpt on "The Higher Paranoid Scholarship"
Read Appendix A: "Benign Antisemitism"
Read Appendix B: "Stalin's Blind Spot"
Read selected parts of Conspiracy on Google Books

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Critics on Conspiracy

"A solid sketch of a difficult and intriguing topic without indulging in sensationalism."
- Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 1997

"It's a fine, important, even invaluable book."
- Christopher Buckley, The Washington Monthly, November 1997

"Daniel Pipes, the authority on Middle Eastern affairs and editor of Middle East Quarterly, has written in this brief but dense volume a highly useful primer on conspiracy theories...first-rate book."
- Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post, November 9, 1997

"Stimulating new study...Pipes's is a valuable and much-needed book...there are only a few serious, systematic studies of the phenomenon by English-speaking authors who know what they're talking about...now there's Pipes as well...This is an impressive performance, going beyond historical narrative and attempting to get an interpretative handle on a subject very much in need of discussion and understanding. Pipes has certainly advanced that understanding, particularly in his reconsideration of the left's own conspiratorial reflex, something few of his predecessors have had much interest in doing."
- Charles Paul Freund, Reason, December 1997

"Incisive, exhaustive and extremely well written."
- Bizarre, July 1, 1998

"The author presents a fascinating account of conspiracy theories down through the ages."
- Francis Fukuyama, Foreign Affairs, March-April, 1998

"This is a provocative book that raises many questions. The author has done a great service in bringing together so much scattered material, and revealing its ominous importance in the modern world, as well as illustrating one of the more dangerous follies of popular thinking."
- Clive Foss, History Today, July 1, 1998

Other Language Editions


Spiknuti: Názory a Teorie
Prague: Themis, 2003.


Verschwörung: Faszination und Macht des Geheimen
Munich: Gerling Akademie Verlag, 1998


Összeesküvések: A paranoia évezredes története
Budapest, Agave Könyvek Kft., 2007


Il Lato Oscuro della Storia
Turin: Lindau, 2005.


Potega Spisku: Wplyw Paranoicznego Myslenia na Dzieje Ludzkosci
Warsaw: BEJ Service spólka, 1998


Ligia Caranfil: Paranoia conspiraţiei : Originea şi înflorirea stilului paranoic.
Bucharest: Antet, 1998 [ISBN 9739241735], 320 pp.

Russian (excerpt)

LigiaНовое литературное обозрение 41 (1, 2000).
Перевод с английского Г. Дашевского.
Read an excerpt in Russian from Conspiracy

Japanese (excerpt)


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