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With the current rise of antisemitism, this important book looks at how one Jewish family —the Rothschilds—became a lightning rod for the conspiracy theories of the last two centuries, and how those theories are still very much alive today.
In 2018 Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene took to social media to share her suspicions that the California wildfires were started by ‘space solar generators’ which were funded by powerful, mysterious backers. Instantly, thousands of people rallied around her, blaming the fires on “Jewish space lasers” and, ultimately, the Rothschild family.
For more than 200 years, the name "Rothschild" has been synonymous with two things: great wealth, and conspiracy theories about what they're "really doing" with it. Almost from the moment Mayer Amschel Rothschild and his sons emerged from the Jewish ghetto of Frankfurt to revolutionize the banking world, the Rothschild family has been the target of myths, hoaxes, bizarre accusations, and constant, virulent antisemitism. Over the years, they have been blamed for everything from the sinking of the Titanic, to causing the Great Depression, and even creating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jewish Space Lasers: The Rothschilds and 200 Years of Conspiracy Theoriesis a deeply researched dive into the history of the conspiracy industry around the Rothschild family - from the "pamphlet wars" of Paris in the 1840s to the dankest pits of the internet today. Journalist and conspiracy theory expert Mike Rothschild, who isn't related to the family, sorts out myth from reality to find the truth about these conspiracy theories and their spreaders. Who were the Rothschilds? Who are they today? Do they really own $500 trillion and every central bank, in addition to “controlling the British money supply?” Is any of this actually true? And why, even as their wealth and influence have waned, do they continue to drive conspiracies and hoaxes?
About the Author
Mike Rothschild is a journalist and conspiracy theory expert whose work has examined scams, frauds, moral panic, conspiracy theories, and how their impact has gone from the online world into everyday life. He has written two previous books, including The Storm is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything, which examines the roots and the impact of the QAnon movement. Rothschild has been interviewed by CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the BBC, the Washington Post, and the New York Times among many others to discuss conspiracy theories; has testified to Congress on the threat of election disinformation; and appeared in numerous documentaries and podcasts.
A Bloomberg 10 Most Anticipated Books for Fall
"This book, dealing as it does with present-day political actors and conspiracies, is very much of its time. But it is also quite timeless in how it elegantly untangles fact from fiction. I can imagine encouraging people interested in the function and history of antisemitic conspiracy theories to read it for years to come." - The Washington Post
"a densely woven web of rumor and subterfuge, infectious racism and stubborn ignorance, that extends from medieval Europe to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene‘s ludicrous claim that the 2018 California wildfires were ignited by a space laser controlled in part by the Rothschilds." - Rolling Stone
". . . the author does his best to capture the various flavors of crazy that the Rothschilds have inspired for centuries. Some of these crackpot theories are more pernicious than others, but at root each has the same poisonous combination of antisemitism, xenophobia and stupidity." - Bloomberg
". . .much of what Rothschild recounts was new to me, supplying a remedy for an ignorance both happy and untenable: happy because it came from a lack of exposure to explicit antisemitism; untenable because antisemitism is persistent and pernicious, and because it is difficult to push back against evil if you fail to recognize it when you see it." - Christianity Today
"A patient and painstaking invalidation of antisemitism that also highlights its perniciousness." --Publishers Weekly
“An interesting examination of how conspiracy theories appear, spread, and metastasize—not unlike tumors. With solid research and engaging humor, this book takes apart the conspiracy theories surrounding the Rothschild family. --Kirkus Reviews
"Mike Rothschild’s Jewish Space Lasers is a cutting exposé of centuries’-worth of antisemitic scapegoating, often done with one influential family at its center. . . . Dissecting centuries-old antisemitic canards that maintain their hold on the popular imagination—with staggering political implications—a thorough and sobering text." --Foreword Reviews
“Jewish Space Lasers is a surprisingly intense history of antisemitism surrounding the disgraceful and debunked Christian conspiracy theories that the Jewish elite led by the Rothschild family, Holocaust survivor George Soros, and all Jews by extension are the invisible hand controlling the global market. Jewish Space Lasers offers a cracking hard look at the dangerous and deadly explosion of antisemitism in America today.” —MALCOLM NANCE, New York Times bestselling author of They Want to Kill Americans: The Militias, Terrorists, and Deranged Ideology of the Trump Insurgency “Mike Rothschild has done it again. First with QAnon, and now with the legendary Rothschild family, he investigates and dismantles one of the most dangerous and vile conspiracy theories of all time. The story he tells is about more than just a baseless lie that won’t die; it’s a larger tale about how those lies shape our culture and our politics for generations. Rothschild is an ideal guide through the dark byways of paranoia and antisemitism—unflinching, exhaustive, witty, and, above all, committed to the truth.” —ANDY KROLL, ProPublica investigative reporter, author of A Death on W Street: The Murder of Seth Rich and the Age of Conspiracy “Like Mike Rothschild’s incredible deconstruction of QAnon in The Storm Is Upon Us, Jewish Space Lasers takes a thoroughly engrossing deep dive into the absurd conspiracy theories surrounding Judaism’s ‘royal family.’ It unpacks that age-old stereotype ‘the Jews control everything’ and brilliantly examines the mysterious dynasty credited for being at the center of it all. It’s a globe-trotting breakdown of antisemitism throughout history to the very chilling moment we are in now. Absorbing, entertaining, and exhaustively researched—a must-read.” —TERRY MATALAS, Executive Producer, Star Trek: Picard, 12 Monkeys ACCLAIM FOR THE STORM IS UPON US
"I hope everyone reads this book. It has become such a crucial thing for all of us to understand." —Erin Burnett, CNN
"[T]imely and chilling ... Rothschild is brilliant at outlining the process by which people who were not previously drawn to political extremism come to see themselves as 'patriotic researchers', able to see patterns in the information that is fed to them." —Financial Times