How a Culture of Conspiracy Keeps America Complacent
Author: Sarah Kendzior
“Every sentence delivered. The pathos of truth-seeking left me thinking of Herman Melville."
—Timothy Snyder, #1 New York Times bestselling author of On Tyranny
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING author Sarah Kendzior delves into the difference between conspiracy and conspiracy theory, "deftly separat[ing] fact from fiction in a conspiracy-addled nation" (VANITY FAIR).
Conspiracy theories are on the rise because officials refuse to enforce accountability for real conspiracies. Uncritical faith in broken institutions is as dangerous as false narratives peddled by propagandists.
The truth may hurt—but the lies will kill us.
They Knew discusses conspiracy culture in a rapidly declining United States struggling with corruption, climate change, and other crises. As the actions of the powerful remain shrouded in mystery—“From Norman Baker to Jeffrey Epstein, Iran-Contra to January 6" (VF)—it is unsurprising that people turn to conspiracy theories to fill the informational void. They Knew exposes the tactics these powerful actors use to placate an inquisitive public.
Here, for the first time, Kendzior blends her signature whip-smart prose and eviscerating arguments with lyrical and intimate examinations of the times and places that haunt American history. "America is a ghost story," writes Kendzior, as she unearths decades of buried history, providing an essential and critical look at how to rebuild our democracy by confronting the political lies and crimes that have shaped us.