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Publisher's Summary

Many Americans believe that their own government is guilty of shocking crimes. Government agents shot the president. They faked the moon landing. They stood by and allowed the murders of 2,400 servicemen in Hawaii. Although paranoia has been a feature of the American scene since the birth of the Republic, in Real Enemies, Kathryn Olmsted tells us that it was only in the 20th century that strange and unlikely conspiracy theories became central to American politics.

In particular, she posits World War I as a critical turning point and shows that as the federal bureaucracy expanded, Americans grew more fearful of the government itself - the military, the intelligence community, and even the president. Analyzing the wide-spread suspicions surrounding such events as Pearl Harbor, the JFK assassination, Watergate, and 9/11, Olmsted sheds light on why so many Americans believe that their government conspires against them, why more people believe these theories over time, and how real conspiracies - such as the infamous Northwoods plan - have fueled our paranoia about the governments we ourselves elect.

©2009 Oxford University Press, Inc. (P)2018 Tantor

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  • Ray
  • 30-08-2019

Last Chapter is Horrible

The book is ok, then the author turns on the anti-conservative rhetoric in the last chapter. It's fairly dry and largely drawn out without any real high points.

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  • Loveshistory
  • 31-10-2018

Illuminating and fair account of real and imagined conspiracies and their corrosive effects on American political culture

Illuminating and fair account of real and imagined conspiracies and their corrosive effects on American political culture. This is a succinct, but wide-ranging history of how both actual conspiracies and imagined conspiracy theories have shaped American politics.

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  • Dean Keaton
  • 08-10-2018

Highly Accurate

Great book. Simply superb. Best read in a very long time. Highly recommended. Accuracy is spot on.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-01-2019

Started off well

A very well read book, my first on audible. Trough the whole book you get a sense of fairness. A conspiracy lover myself it made me look a things in a slightly less conspiracy way. That is until the end. It was a shame for the whole book was very un biased but the end bashing of the latest president seemed more like a personal vendetta. Should have kept it the same as the whole book. If you hate Trump you’ll love this book. If you like Trump, avoid it

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