Conspiracy theories are hardly a new phenomena. They have long circulated among the fringes of our society and made appearances in popular lore. Be it around the assassination of JFK, the existence of UFOs, or the roundness of the Earth, there have always been some who believe that we are being lied to by powerful forces, that “the truth is out there,” and that they and their fellow believers are the only ones with their eyes open to it. It is not often however, that a conspiracy theory manages to spill out of those communities and become so large that it threatens the very fabric of a nation, which is what makes QAnon so dangerous, and so fascinating.
In his latest book, The Storm Is Upon Us, conspiracy theory researcher Mike Rothschild tackles the subject head-on, thoroughly documenting its origins and rapid rise to all-encompassing omniconspiracy. Born on the disreputable 4chan website, possibly as a joke, it eventually became too extreme for even that site and moved on to the even seamier 8chan, and then finally when that was shut down to it’s revival as 8kun. Q, the shadowy figure(s) at the center of the whole thing, purports to be someone at the center of Washington power, with access to all manner of State secrets, which they then release in short, cryptic message known as “QDrops.” While they initially predicted pretty specific events, like the arrest of Hilary Clinton on a certain date, when these proved to not be true, they shifted to the more vague proclamations they are known for today. Since then, with the help of the community that has sprung up around them, the core Q mythology has taken shape to encompass nearly every recent conspiracy theory, including the alleged stealing of the 2020 election and more “out-there” ideas like the Democratic Party and Hollywood elites drinking the blood of children.
If you come into this book hoping to find out who the real “Q” actually is, you will be disappointed. There are several plausible candidates, and they do get mentioned as such in these pages, but as of yet no one really knows who he or she is or if it’s even one person, and the author doesn’t jump to any conclusions as a result. You will however come to learn about the methods and circumstances that have made this such an appealing ideology for so many Americans (and indeed even for others around the world), and how it is firmly rooted in some of the most pernicious conspiracy theories of the past. Informative, erudite, and written with the briskness of a thriller, it will keep you turning the pages and taking notes throughout. ★★★★★
★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor