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Francis Wheen

How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World

If we hear a viewpoint repeated enough then we might begin to think that there must be something in it. Well, if you find yourself being pulled in that direction then I would recommend reading How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World: A Short History of Modern Delusions by Francis Wheen

It seems to me that Wheen has two objectives in writing this book, firstly to show how the voice of unreason has increased in the last quarter century, and secondly to defend the values of the enlightenment. I feel that he doesn't really succeed in either. There may have been an increase in the number of people who aren't sure what they believe - but believe it verys strongly, but this book doesn't analyse such personal thoughts - its much more about politics. I would say that in this sphere there has always been a lot of Mumbo-Jumbo, and that current politics is more rational than that of much of the 20th century.

I still think that the book is worth reading though. It may not be particularly deep, but it has plenty to amuse you, particularly if you like to see cultural icons brought down to size. It also helps to give you a healthy degree of scepticism, to guard against the nonsense that can be served up by the media.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 336 pages  
ISBN: 158648348X
Salesrank: 1168742
Weight:1.09 lbs
Published: 2005 PublicAffairs
Amazon price $11.56
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 368 pages  
ISBN: 0007140975
Salesrank: 157792
Weight:0.57 lbs
Published: 2004 Harper Perennial
Amazon price £9.99
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 336 pages  
ISBN: 158648348X
Salesrank: 515395
Weight:1.09 lbs
Published: 2005 PublicAffairs
Amazon price CDN$ 16.17
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 15.49:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description
What characterizes our era? Cults, quacks, gurus, irrational panics, moral confusion and an epidemic of mumbo-jumbo, that's what. In How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World, Francis Wheen brilliantly laments the extraordinary rise of superstition, relativism and emotional hysteria. From Middle Eastern fundamentalism to the rise of lotteries, astrology to mysticism, poststructuralism to the Third Way, Wheen shows that there has been a pervasive erosion of
Enlightenment values, which have been displaced by nonsense. And no country has a more vivid parade of the bogus and bizarre than the one founded to embody Enlightenment values: the USA. In turn comic, indignant, outraged, and just plain baffled by the idiocy of it all, How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World is a masterful depiction of the absurdity of our times and a plea that we might just think a little more and believe a little less.