Monday, November 8, 2010

Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-religions

Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-religions by Ronald H. Fritze (London: Reaktion Books, 2009)

See the author's web site, linked above. Here is the publisher's description:
Invented Knowledge is an exploration of the murky world of fake science and pseudo-history: fields that generally rely on lost continents, ancient super-civilizations, conspiratorial cover-ups, preternaturally daring and undocumented discoveries, and even vast Satan-inspired plots to offer an alternative version of the past.

At once lively and authoritative, Ronald H. Fritze illuminates the phenomenon of false history by telling the story of a select group of pseudo-historical ideas. He explores legends such as the lost continent of Atlantis, and the original settlement of the Americas by a European people, who established a glorious civilization only to be supplanted by the invading ‘Red Indian’, and whose only remains are the many mounds scattered across the eastern United States. He also discusses the beliefs of more recent religious groups, such as the Nation of Islam and Christian Identity. Fritze shows that in spite of, or perhaps because of, the strongest rejections of mainstream historians, and the lack of scientific evidence, some of these ideas have proved very durable, and gained widespread acceptance in the public mind. Such ideas can also be deadly – the Nazis, for example, believed in a false version of European history in which the German people were a superior race destined to conquer the world.

With many diverting examples of spurious narrative, artificial chronology and ersatz theory, Invented Knowledge also unravels the disputes and debates surrounding controversial books such as 1421: The Year China Discovered America, Black Athena, The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code.

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