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The Quiet Damage : QAnon and the Destruction of the American Family - Jesselyn Cook

The Quiet Damage

QAnon and the Destruction of the American Family

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Available: 23rd July 2024

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Available: 23rd July 2024

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The riveting story of five families shattered by pernicious, pervasive conspiracy theories, and how we might set ourselves free from a crisis that could haunt American life for generations.

"Compassionate, wise, and thoroughly reported . . . one of the defining books of our time."—Johann Hari, New York Times bestselling author of Magic Pill

"SHED MY DNA": three excruciating words uttered by a QAnon-obsessed mother, once a highly respected lawyer, to her only son, once the closest person in her life. QAnon beliefs and adjacent conspiracy theories have had devastating political consequences as they've exploded in popularity. What's often overlooked is the lasting havoc they wreak on our society at its most basic and intimate level—the family.

In The Quiet Damage, celebrated reporter Jesselyn Cook paints a harrowing portrait of the vulnerabilities that have left so many of us susceptible to outrageous falsehoods promising order, purpose, and control. Braided throughout are the stories of five American families: an elderly couple whose fifty-year romance takes a heartbreaking turn; millennial sisters of color who grew up in dire poverty—one to become a BLM activist, the other, a hardcore conspiracy theorist pulling her little boy down the rabbit hole with her; a Bay Area hippie-type and her business-executive fiance, who must decide whether to stay with her as she turns into a stranger before his eyes; evangelical parents whose simple life in a sleepy suburb spirals into delusion-fueled chaos; and a rural mother-son duo who, after carrying each other through unspeakable tragedy, stop speaking at all as ludicrous untruths shatter a bond long thought unbreakable.

Charting the arc of each believer's path from their first intersection with conspiracy theories to the depths of their cultish conviction, to—in some cases—their rejection of disinformation and the mending of fractured relationships, Cook offers a rare, intimate look into the psychology of how and why ordinary people come to believe the unbelievable. Profound, brilliantly researched, and beautifully written, The Quiet Damage lays bare how we have been taken hostage by grifters peddling lies built on false hope—and how we might release our loved ones, and ourselves, from their grasp.

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