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Publisher's Summary

How the new conspiracists are undermining democracy - and what can be done about it

Conspiracy theories are as old as politics. But conspiracists today have introduced something new - conspiracy without theory. And the new conspiracism has moved from the fringes to the heart of government with the election of Donald Trump. In A Lot of People Are Saying, Russell Muirhead and Nancy Rosenblum reveal how the new conspiracism differs from classic conspiracy theory, why so few officials speak truth to conspiracy, and what needs to be done to resist it. 

Classic conspiracy theory insists that things are not what they seem and gathers evidence - especially facts ominously withheld by official sources - to tease out secret machinations. The new conspiracism is different. There is no demand for evidence, no dots revealed to form a pattern, no close examination of shadowy plotters. Dispensing with the burden of explanation, the new conspiracism imposes its own reality through repetition (exemplified by the Trump catchphrase “a lot of people are saying”) and bare assertion (“rigged!”). 

The new conspiracism targets democratic foundations - political parties and knowledge-producing institutions. It makes it more difficult to argue, persuade, negotiate, compromise, and even to disagree. Ultimately, it delegitimates democracy. 

Filled with vivid examples, A Lot of People Are Saying diagnoses a defining and disorienting feature of today’s politics and offers a guide to responding to the threat.

©2019 Nancy L. Rosenblum (P)2019 Princeton University Press

Critic Reviews

"[Muirhead and Rosenblum] are convincing in their argument that there is something different afoot in the world of conspiracy and that danger lies ahead if we don't confront it with truth and action." (Kirkus)

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Profile Image for Nyoki
  • Nyoki
  • 25-06-2020

An Interesting Read

I wasn't really in love with the book because it came across as anti Trump and anti Republican. That's just as conspiratorial as the content of the narrative.

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  • Brian P
  • 13-03-2020

Compelling, but belaboured

The argument is clear and convincing, but it's better suited to an article than a book. Listening to the introduction is sufficient to get 95 percent of the book's value. That said, the topic and the recommendations are both important!

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  • James M. White
  • 19-02-2020

Performance is boring

The performance is stilted and lifeless. It makes dry material unlistenable. I was very excited by the premise of this book, but it’s not remotely enjoyable to listen to it.

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  • JaredENH
  • 30-04-2019

INSIGHTFUL

Everybody who has been disturbed by Trump, and especially those who have had divisions in their families or friendships, must read this book.

3 people found this helpful

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