Evans’s dissection of popular conspiracy theories surrounding the Nazis is insightful in its own right, but the book’s relevance goes beyond that. In the internet age, when “anyone can put out their views into the public sphere, no matter how bizarre they might be”, one does not need to have a special interest in Nazi Germany to benefit from Evans’s book. It serves as a helpful guide to anyone who wishes to understand how conspiracy theories emerge and proliferate, and demonstrates how important it is that “alternative facts” are confronted and corrected.
Indeed, the only reason not to pick up this book would be that the reader, like the author, has to spend time digesting the delusional fantasies of the various conspiracy theorists whose claims are so effectively rubbished inside. But Evans performs his task with such withering and entertaining wit that it’s worth putting up with the nonsense to enjoy the brilliant demolition.Towards the end , Evans highlights the undeservedly high ratings given on Amazon by reviewers of some of the books he’s trashed. But there’s no need to doubt the top marks that his book deserves. It’s a 5 out of 5 masterpiece.
Smoothing away nuance and complexity, presenting a narrow, moralistic view of the world, pointing the finger at shadowy elites, conspiracy theorists have always lurked on the fringes of democratic politics. Millions of people genuinely believe that a “hidden hand” directs the course of human affairs. So, for Evans, exposing the “fantasies and fictions, fabrications and falsifications” of recent history is more than just academic one-upmanship. Indeed, in an age when the president of the United States is an unashamed conspiracy theorist, his book seems long overdue.