Best 9-11 'Conspiracy' Book?
August 14, 2007 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Best 9-11 'Conspiracy Theory' book for the skeptic?

Like many people, I have been following the 9-11 story since soon after it occurred. Also like many people, I am aware of so many holes in the 'official conspiracy theory'/9-11 commission report that I'm consistently amazed anyone still believes a word of it (and I'm not looking to argue, so if you are a believer that's fine and this question is not directed at you).

I have a couple of friends who are still believers but are also logical and rather than send them some links I know they'll never read I'd like to find a decent book by a legitimate author which does a good job summarizing the impossibility of the official story, particularly with regards to NORAD, timeline inconsistencies, lying by the administration, etc.

The controlled demolition vs. jet fuel + pancake theory is of less interest to me as I feel it's more difficult to prove, but if a good summary of the inconsistencies there is included that would be preferable.

David Ray Griffin (and which one?)? Jim Marrs? I'm looking for recommendations by people who have read multiple books on the topic. Thanks!
posted by jjsonp to Law & Government (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Terror Timeline by Paul Thompson is a good look at the run up to 9/11 an its after-effects, all taken from news archives and other sources. You can draw your own conclusions from this one.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:55 AM on August 14, 2007


-I am aware of so many holes in the 'official conspiracy theory'/9-11 commission report

-the impossibility of the official story


Can you clarify? It sounds like you're saying both the 'official story' (18 Muslim hijackers) and subsequent 'conspiracy theories' (Bush/Jewz did it) are both impossible and full of holes.
posted by deern the headlice at 8:02 AM on August 14, 2007


Check out:
Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time
by Michael Shermer
and the episode of Penn & Teller's Bullshit where they talk to 9-11 conspiracy experts.
posted by andrewzipp at 8:04 AM on August 14, 2007


You're misunderstanding. He's a conspiracy theory believer who wants a good book on the subject.
posted by smackfu at 8:06 AM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes, smackfu is correct - I think the official story is erroneous, a government fabrication.

I'm looking for the best overall book which documents this.
posted by jjsonp at 8:26 AM on August 14, 2007


Regarding 'deern the headlice' request for clarification:

The 'official conspiracy theory' is that 'Al Qaeda' conspired to send 19 sleeper agents to the US, who were then able to evade US intelligence agencies while training as pilots, defeat the US air defenses, and fly hijacked aircraft into buildings, completely demolishing several.

I personally do not believe this conspiracy theory, proclaimed by the US government as being factual. So what I'm looking for is a good book which summarizes the myriad well-documented holes in this theory.
posted by jjsonp at 8:34 AM on August 14, 2007


Even if you don't agree with the conclusions, The 9/11 Commission Report (online in HTML and PDF) and the commission's staff statements.

Benjamin DeMott, Harpers': "Whitewash as public service: How The 9/11 Commission Report defrauds the nation."

Elizabeth Drew, New York Review of Books: "Pinning the Blame."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:48 AM on August 14, 2007




Tough question.

The problem is you can't document a conspiracy theory (Bush/Jews did it). Conspiracy theories work on people actively ignoring real evidence and dismissing it as unrealistic. For instance, some people think that a building must fall over when collapsing like a building made of legos. As children they played with legos thus it makes a kind of sense. They are unable to accept that buildings collapse on themselves and that heat can stress steel into doing so.

So in this case there really is no documented proof of the mossad planting explosives, just skepticism of how a building fire works. Most of the 9/11 conspiracy stuff I've seen fits into this category. "Oh, I dont belive a building fire works like this, thus it was C4 charges."

The other method of conspiracy thinking is to take something that is not fully explained and come up with a psychologically fitting explanation that fits your thesis.

The conspiracy theory "proof" is a stack of these rationalizations. That said, I'd say all of it is at the exact same quality. The only thing that matters is the level of presentation. For instance, the 9/11 conspiracy movie is well-shot for the most part and sub-literate people related better to film than to books. I'd say that "Loose Change" is the best of the breed. Its emotional, not very factual, and not documented. Its presentation is good and its easy for people with little to no critical skills to understand. It appeals to the vanity of people who see conspiracies where the average person does not.

On the other hand the popular mechanics debunking of the conspiracy myth is good because of the opposite. Its factual, has documentation, is literate, not emotional, etc.

Hope that helps!
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:30 AM on August 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


what a crap answer, dda.

"hope that helps!" indeed.

The controlled demolition vs. jet fuel + pancake theory is of less interest to me as I feel it's more difficult to prove, if a good summary of the inconsistencies there is included that would be preferable

despite my misgivings about certain other aspects of his cv, i think steven jones' paper "why indeed did the WTC towers collapse?" raises many interesting questions and i have yet to see a good refutation of its primary assertions.
posted by Hat Maui at 11:01 AM on August 14, 2007


Skepticism is good - both skepticism of the official story and of the conspiracy versions. I would love to believe in a conspiracy theory for this, but I run into a few problems.

First. There are unanswered questions does not equal conspiracy. There are many unanswered questions about how the mind works, that doesn't mean outside miracles are needed to explain it. In the case of 9/11, replace outside miracles with outside agents.

Second. You shall know them by their fruits. Steven Jones is a bit of a nut. He also put out a paper about how Jesus came to visit the Mayan civilization.

Third. Look where the people are starting from who are supposing to be unravelling the conspiracy. If such a conspiracy does exist, it would be many times more difficult to get the story than, let's say, the JFK assassination. You'd need all sorts of inside info, rather than public info.

So why are the above relevant to your question? I don't think a good book can (yet) exist. Books that are just questions are incomplete. Books that purport answers would have to come from those who claim answers (nuts or simply pompous) when a good historical autopsy is a difficult undertaking under normal conditions and near impossible assuming the massive conspiracy.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:43 AM on August 14, 2007


Noam Chomsky's 9/11 book is good.
posted by rhizome at 12:02 PM on August 14, 2007


Keep in mind that even if you find the perfect book and they read it, that doesn't mean they will choose to believe what you believe.
posted by happyturtle at 1:15 PM on August 14, 2007


"The 'official conspiracy theory' is that 'Al Qaeda' conspired to send 19 sleeper agents to the US, who were then able to evade US intelligence agencies while training as pilots, defeat the US air defenses, and fly hijacked aircraft into buildings, completely demolishing several."

Well, there exists fairly hard evidence that all of that, in fact, happened, minus a few subtleties. So are you looking for books that disprove all of it, or books which acknowledge the facts (18 hijackers flew planes into buildings) but also question the aforementioned inconsistent subtleties in the official reports? I've read excerpts from many such books on Amazon, but there is a wide variety of what qualifies as conspiracy, depending on the author (ex: Rowland Morgan's book is considered mostly credible by a variety of critics and may prove an easier sell to your skeptical friends).

I think what was throwing off me & andrewzipp was the somewhat nonsensical phrase 'official conspiracy theory'. The 'official government explanation', as most understand it, is based on hard data gathered on the actions of all 18 terrorists - the flying lessons, the various receipts and paper trails, the airport images and their own writings. Serious question: are you looking for books which seek to disprove that those people and that evidence never existed? As that is an entirely different level of Conspiracy. Pay attention to dances_with_sneeches' last paragraph.
posted by deern the headlice at 1:18 PM on August 14, 2007


The 'official conspiracy theory' is that 'Al Qaeda' conspired to send 19 sleeper agents to the US, who were then able to evade US intelligence agencies while training as pilots, defeat the US air defenses, and fly hijacked aircraft into buildings, completely demolishing several.

I'll second the 9/11 Report, since you don't seem to understand what the official story is. The official story is not that they somehow managed to evade or defeat the crackerjack US air defenses. It is that there were no meaningful US air defenses available to deal with such a threat, since what few direct air defenses the US maintained were focused on attack from without.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:30 PM on August 14, 2007


i have yet to see a good refutation of its primary assertions

I refute it thus.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:33 PM on August 14, 2007


For everyone who answered with a legitimate suggestion - thanks!

For everyone who sought to tell me (politely or otherwise) that I was wrong or clazy: I've flagged your answers as either 'noise' or 'derail'. I was very specific in my question about what I was looking for, and it was not to argue with those with different opinions.
posted by jjsonp at 3:36 PM on August 14, 2007


Not exactly a book: Scholars of 9/11 Truth and Justice features many articles debating the offical government story.

You may also want to read up on Steven Jones, the scientist who wrote "Why Indeed did the WTC Buildings Collapse?".
posted by shino-boy at 4:18 PM on August 14, 2007


Let me rephrase mine in case you flagged it:

The way that you're writing indicates that you've been reading lots of slanted, axe-to-grind reinterpretations of the "official story."

If you want to really pick holes in the official story, you ought to start with getting the actual official story and not rely on other people's slanted reinterpretations of it.

In the future, if you don't want to engage people with differing beliefs, you probably should not say that you're "consistently amazed anyone still believes a word of" those differing beliefs. Oddly enough, writing things like this causes people with different beliefs to explain why holding those beliefs is not actually amazing.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:37 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Best 9-11 'Conspiracy Theory' book for the skeptic? The Assault on Reason.
posted by anildash at 2:46 AM on August 15, 2007


Specifically with regard to NORAD, while it isn't a book, this 11 page Vanity Fair article with embedded audio clips of the action could be enlightening.

I found it captivating. It really grasps what transpired inside NORAD minute by minute and addresses discrepancies in 9/11 commission testimony.

Hope this doesn't breech your dictums too badly.
posted by phoque at 12:02 PM on August 15, 2007


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