The Storm Is upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything

Mike Rothschild. Melville House, $28.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61219-929-0
Journalist Rothschild (The World’s Worst Conspiracies) provides an enlightening history of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Drawing on interviews with QAnon followers and their friends and family members, Rothschild delves into the movement’s roots on the message boards of 4chan and Reddit, and describes the counterintuitive appeal of conspiracy theories in general, noting that it can feel more plausible that a cabal of bad actors is responsible for terrible events, rather than “honest mistakes by others or random chance.” Pointing to the prevalence of QAnon symbols at the January 6 Capitol riot, Rothschild claims that the movement has “saturated Republican politics,” and estimates that “there are likely hundreds of thousands who buy into at least some part of the complex mythology.” Though the contours of Rothschild’s findings are familiar, he unearths startling examples of the group’s twisted logic and wide reach. For instance, a 2019 tweet by former FBI director James Comey was misinterpreted by QAnon followers as an announcement of a “false flag” attack on an upcoming charter school fundraiser in California; parents were so alarmed by reports of a threat that the event had to be canceled. Rothschild also offers useful advice on how to help loved ones get out of QAnon. This is a disturbing and well-informed look at the darker side of modern American politics. (June)
Reviewed on : 05/05/2021
Release date: 09/21/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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