A Colorful History Of Popular Delusions by Robert E. BartholomewA Colorful History Of Popular Delusions by Robert E. Bartholomew

A Colorful History Of Popular Delusions

byRobert E. Bartholomew, Peter Hassall

Paperback | October 13, 2015

Pricing and Purchase Info

$19.41 online 
$20.00 list price
Earn 97 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


This eclectic history of unusual crowd behavior describes a rich assortment of mass phenomena ranging from the amusing and quirky to the shocking and deplorable. What do fads, crazes, manias, urban legends, moral panics, riots, stampedes, and other mass expressions of emotion have in common? By creating a typology of such behavior, past and present, the authors show how common extraordinary group reactions to fear or excitement are. And they offer insights into how these sometimes dangerous mob responses can be avoided. 

We may not be surprised to read about the peculiarities of the European Middle Ages, when superstition was commonplace: like the meowing nuns of France, "tarantism" (a dancing mania) in Italy, or the malicious anti-Semitic poison-well scares. But similar phenomena show up in our own era. Examples include the social-networking hysteria of 2012, which resulted in uncontrollable twitching by teenage girls in Leroy, NY; the "phantom bus terrorist" of 2004 in Vancouver, Canada; and the itching outbreak of 2000 in South Africa. 

Vivid, detailed, and thoroughly researched, this is a fascinating overview of collective human behavior in its many unusual forms.
Robert E. Bartholomew is the author of twelve previous books, most recently Mass Hysteria in Schools (with Robert Rickard), and more than sixty articles in professional journals, including the British Medical Journal and the International Journal of Social Psychiatry. He has been interviewed in the New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine,...
Title:A Colorful History Of Popular DelusionsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:363 pages, 8.98 × 6.02 × 0.95 inPublished:October 13, 2015Publisher:Prometheus BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1633881229

ISBN - 13:9781633881228


Editorial Reviews

“A delightful and entertaining romp through false beliefs, tall tales, fads, crazes, and urban legends of all kinds. A Colorful History of Popular Delusions is a much-needed reminder that the human capacity for self-delusion is seemingly endless. Enlightening and eye-opening—and great fun.” —Scott O. Lilienfeld, PhD, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology, Emory University   “Humans are a strange lot, and this book encapsulates that notion perfectly. Put a bunch of us on the same planet and we’ll come up with things that don’t even exist. From UFOs and monsters like Bigfoot, to mass hysteria involving tarantulas—this book takes a critical yet loving look at the utterly bizarre. Never mocking, but with a sense of fun, it puts a magnifying glass up to the stuff we think is real, but probably isn’t. Probably.” —David Farrier, Journalist   “Vast, intriguing, and downright interesting. Robert E. Bartholomew and Peter Hassall take a no-nonsense tour of the world of fantasies, illusions, fallacies, disturbances, and deceptions. You will be enlightened more than you can imagine!” —Loren Coleman, MSW, Author of Cryptozoology A to Z   “Scholarly enough for the researcher yet accessible enough for the interested layperson, this book is a welcome and important addition.” —Benjamin Radford, MEd, Discovery News columnist and coauthor of The Martians Have Landed! A History of Media-Driven Panics and Hoaxes