Republic of Lies by Anna Merlan

Republic of Lies

A riveting tour through the landscape and meaning of modern conspiracy theories, exploring the causes and tenacity of this American malady, from Birthers to Pizzagate and beyond.American society has always been fertile ground for conspiracy theories, but with the election of Donald Trump, previously outlandish ideas suddenly attained legitimacy. Trump himself is a conspiracy enthusiast: from his claim that global warming is a Chinese hoax to the ...

Details Republic of Lies

TitleRepublic of Lies
Release DateApr 16th, 2019
PublisherMetropolitan Books
GenreNonfiction, Politics, History, Sociology

Reviews Republic of Lies

  • David Wineberg
    I never do this, but here is the first sentence of Republic of Lies: “In January 2015, I spent the longest, queasiest week of my life on a cruise ship filled with conspiracy theorists.”SOLD! Anna Merlan has put herself through a brain-exploding experience to tell us about the astounding variety of lies Americans tell about themselves and their country. It’s a whirlwind tour of conspiracies, hate, ideology, religion, UFOs, and politics. They...
  • Mike
    I know far too many people who desperately need to read this book but never will.
  • Emily
    I bought this book on the strength of one of Merlan's tweets, which for me encapsulated 2017.What does the concept of "today" mean when every day lasts for 5,000 years and contains dozens of the dumbest things that have ever occurred— Anna Merlan (@annamerlan) May 16, 2017The weak side of this book is that it recounts conspiracy-related beliefs and internecine quarrels that I have, for the most part, already read about. I know about the white s...
  • Jim Razinha
    I admire anonymously the monumental efforts like those of people at Media Matters, who endure hours upon hours of the likes of Fox News so that the sane of us don't have to watch to see what nonsense is being spewed at any given instance. And then there is Ms. Merlan, who takes such to extremes, diving into the belly of so many beasts to write this she has to have brain bleach on autorefill. Hat's off and bravo. There have always been conspiracis...
  • Jason
    We're all familiar by now with the fact that the poor, disenfranchised and undereducated are prone to believing in conspiratorial theories and driven by grandiose fantasies of nefarious forces colluding against them. If those people aren't in our immediate families, they're at least visible enough on our social network feeds that we're aware they exist. And, while it's been easy to ignore these people and mock their backward, peasant-like ignoran...
  • Susan (aka Just My Op)
    I received an advance copy of this book through a LibraryThing giveaway.“In January 2015, I spent the longest, queasiest week of my life on a cruise ship filled with conspiracy theorists.” The interesting first sentence of this book couldn't help but draw me in, and began her tales of her time on the “Conspira-Sea Cruise." It took much much too long to read this book. The lesser reason is because I have a hard time reading paper books. The ...
  • Colleen Corgel
    This is really, really good. It explores the reasons why Americans are given to conspiracies and why it is important to recognize their importance in the current discourse. The chapters all run on themes, from Medical conspiracies (which she points out has some historical precedence, especially for African Americans), to Military, and to UFOs. It's all tied into the overarching theme I stated above. She bravely goes into the rallies, conferences,...
  • Glenda
    If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of conspiracy theories, from beliefs in UFOs to anti-Vaccination conspiracies, “Republic of Lies” will bring you closer to understanding why seemingly thoughtful people from myriad political spectrums get caught up in conspiratorial movements. Particularly interesting is the author’s research into the lies our own government has spread in the past and how the past fuels current beliefs in conspirac...
  • Christian
    An excellent read about the mainstreaming of conspiracy theory in American culture and (more disconcertingly) American politics.
  • Ian
    America has had conspiracies as long as it has existed but with rise of a "birther" as president, conspiracies and conspiracy theories that were once rightly dismissed as crackpots and crackpot ideas are normalized. This book gives nice explanations of conspiracy culture even if it is demoralizing to read and think about the future of our country and the truth tellers.
  • Brandt
    Paranoid much?In the wake of the release of the (redacted) Mueller report Anna Merlan (blogger for the feminist site Jezebel) has released a book about the prevalence of conspiracy theorists and how they seem to be everywhere in today's political climate. Begun as Merlan's attempt to cover the "Conspira-Sea" boat cruise for the aforementioned Jezebel (this is the sort of thing that Jezebel and related sites published by Gizmodo Media like to cove...
  • Dale
    A comprehensive stroll through America’s predilection for mass conspiratorial ideation. Merlan strings together a series of vignettes that range from absurd to terrifying. Her focus on the real-life victims of conspiracists is well done. My problem with this book is that it seems content to gawk and scoff at conspiracy weirdos, but has no underlying theory as to the cause of this phenomenon en masse. There is an attempt to tie things together i...
  • Ben
    I received an ARC from the Publisher and NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.I've been following Anna Merlan's writing on conspiracy groups at Jezebel and the Gizmodo Special Projects Desk for a few years, and it's consistently great - providing historical context where appropriate, reporting things as they are, and providing a critical eye in exactly the right places. This book does a great job of applying this eye to the conspiracy theorist...
  • SpaceBear
    Merlan's book discusses dominant conspiracy theories in the US, including 9-11 trutherism, the controversy about Obama's birth certificate, Sandy Hook, and especially "pizzagate" (the conspiracy that leading US politicians are running a secret pedophile ring). Although the author's assertions about conspiracy theories being used to bring a new political group to power risk sounding conspiratorial themselves, overall, the discussion of the various...
  • J.O. Teague
    Informative and well written book. Merlan not only describes the theories and the people who promulgate them, she explains historical precedents and memes that led to such misunderstandings and how the secretive tendencies of governments help promote them. I just talked to an intelligent young man who was leaning towards the belief that twelve foot aliens and the Jewish World Order were involved with the JFK assassination. Merlan explains all thr...
  • Kevin Maness
    Good book. I like that she’s appropriately crucial of conspiracy theories, but that she also shows that they can be understood (at least to begin as) as more and less rational responses to a society characterized by inequality, injustice, secrecy, and an increasing sense of powerlessness, despair, and loneliness.
  • Emily Rice
    Extremely good. Not just a rundown on wtf these people are talking about, which is so necessary, but a really good explanation of the context conspiracy theories develop in and how they’re weaponized! Scary!!!! But also essential.
  • Kaitlin Ugolik
    I learned a ton from this book and particularly enjoyed the author’s ability to wink at the reader amusingly while also showing empathy for her subjects. Will be buying copies for some wacky relatives :)
  • Hal Johnson
    This book is pretty good, but also weird because it seems to be trying to brand itself as compassionate to conspiracy theorists, and not just snarkily making fun of them (as we tend to do); but Merlan can’t stop zinging her true bogeyman, viz. the set of anyone to the right of her on the political spectrum. It’s so nonstop that even when I agree with her the dissonance can be jarring. Just one example out of many: When Anna Merlan mentions th...
  • Doug
    This is a good primer for conspiracy theories in the US. Since I generally try to avoid them, I found this book to be very enlightening.
  • Jennifer
    Well written, very thoroughly researched. Incredibly depressing and disheartening.