Ever get the feeling that the world has gone…mad? Of course you have, because it totally has. Now more than ever, wild and dangerous conspiracy theories fester in dark corners of the media (especially social media), only to wriggle their way into the mainstream. There are batshit protestors spouting off deranged nonsense, and batshit presidents spouting off deranged nonsense. We are truly living in strange times.
And no one knows strange times better than Milwaukee author (and Milwaukee Record contributor) Tea Krulos. In 2013, Krulos explored the world of real-life superheroes with his first book, Heroes In The Night. He followed it up with Monster Hunters: On The Trail With Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, And Other Paranormal Investigators in 2015, and Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground With America’s Doomsday Preppers in 2019. Now, inevitably, comes Krulos’ latest book, American Madness: The Story Of The Phantom Patriot And How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness. All-too timely, indeed.
A press release explains:
Author Tea Krulos tells the story of one man, Richard McCaslin, whose fractured thinking made him the ideal consumer of even the most arcane of conspiracy theories. Acting on the daily rants of Alex Jones and his ilk, McCaslin takes matters into his own hands to stop the unseen powers behind the world’s disasters who congregate at conspiracy world’s Mecca—The Bohemian Grove. It all goes wrong with terrible consequences for the man who styled himself—The Phantom Patriot.
McCaslin is not alone, as conspiracy-driven political action has bubbled its way up from the margins of society to the White House. It’s no longer a lone deranged kook convinced of getting secret messages from a cereal box, now its slick videos and well-funded outrage campaigns ready to peddle the latest innuendos and lies in hopes of harnessing the chaos for political gain. What is the long term effect on people who believe these barely believable stories? Who benefits, and who pays the price? Krulos investigates and explains the power of conspiracy and the resulting shared madness on the American psyche.