There are a number of overviews of modern conspiracy thinking. David Aaronovitch’s Voodoo Histories offers the perspective of a British journalist and writer. He looks at many of the traditional conspiracy theories prevalent in U.S. society, including the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Communism, and JFK. The value of Aaronovitch’s work, I think, is in his examination of British conspiracies (the deaths of Princess Diana and Hilda Murrell, for example) and the Truther/Birther movements of the past decade. As someone looking at U.S. society from the outside, he gives a different slant on the more common conspiracy theories embraced by Americans.
As one might expect from a non-academic book, the footnotes and bibliography are a bit light. I’ve read several analyses of conspiracy theories, so I was able to fill in some of the gaps in scholarship on more traditional and well-known conspiracy theories that are absent from this book. Aaronovitch’s writing is engaging, though, and I expect newcomers interested in conspiracism would find Voodoo Histories compelling enough to read more theoretical works.