Commentary Magazine

Article Preview

American Crank

- Abstract

There’s a certain temptation to consider Jesse Walker’s The United States of Paranoia a timely book. It is an anatomy of paranoid thought in American culture that has arrived in the thick of national controversies about domestic surveillance, political targeting, and secret government programs. Concerns about “them,” what “they” know, and how “they” are plotting to abridge our freedoms and compromise our way of life have taken on new urgency, and justifiably so.

But if one takes Walker’s chief premise to heart, his book’s topicality is no coincidence. It is, in fact, the result of forces that have been exerting a marked influence on our nation for much of its history. One need only connect the dots, you see.


About the Author

Robert Herritt is a writer in New York City.