After Words with Kathryn Olmsted
Kathryn Olmsted talked about her book Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11 (Oxford University… read more
Kathryn Olmsted talked about her book Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11 (Oxford University Press, USA; January 2, 2009). In her book she looks at the role of conspiracy theories in American history and politics. She finds that although paranoid beliefs have been prevalent since the birth of the Republic, it is only since World War I that strange and unlikely conspiracy theories have become central to American politics. As the federal government expanded, Americans grew more fearful of the government itself. She also examines why so many Americans believe that their government conspires against them, why more people believe these theories over time, and how real conspiracies by government officials have fueled paranoia. The guest interviewer was Barry Glassner.
Kathryn Olmsted, professor of history at the University of California, Davis, is also the author of Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the CIA and FBI and Red Spy Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth Bentley.
University of Southern California sociology professor Barry Glassner is the author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things and The Gospel of Food: Why We Should Stop Worrying and Enjoy What We Eat.
This interview was taped on the C-SPAN BookTV Bus on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, during the 2009 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. close
*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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