Bronze Medal in the 2022 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs) - Current Events I (Political/Economic/Foreign Affairs) Category.
A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' PICK / TOP 10 RECOMMENDED READ
Two experts of extremist radicalization take us down the QAnon rabbit hole, exposing how the conspiracy theory ensnared countless Americans, and show us a way back to sanity.
In January 2021, thousands descended on the U.S. Capitol to aid President Donald Trump in combating a shadowy cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles. Two women were among those who died that day. They, like millions of Americans, believed that a mysterious insider known as "Q" is exposing a vast deep-state conspiracy. The QAnon conspiracy theory has ensnared many women, who identify as members of "pastel QAnon," answering the call to "save the children."
With Pastels and Pedophiles, Mia Bloom and Sophia Moskalenko explain why the rise of QAnon should not surprise us: believers have been manipulated to follow the baseless conspiracy. The authors track QAnon's unexpected leap from the darkest corners of the Internet to the filtered glow of yogi-mama Instagram, a frenzy fed by the COVID-19 pandemic that supercharged conspiracy theories and spurred a fresh wave of Q-inspired violence.
Pastels and Pedophiles connects the dots for readers, showing how a conspiracy theory with its roots in centuries-old anti-Semitic hate has adapted to encompass local grievances and has metastasized around the globe—appealing to a wide range of alienated people who feel that something is not quite right in the world around them. While QAnon claims to hate Hollywood, the book demonstrates how much of Q's mythology is ripped from movie and television plot lines.
Finally, Pastels and Pedophiles lays out what can be done about QAnon's corrosive effect on society, to bring Q followers out of the rabbit hole and back into the light.
About the authors
Mia Bloom is the International Security Fellow at New America, professor at Georgia State University, and member of the Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Research Group. She has authored books on violent extremism including Small Arms: Children and Terrorism (2019), Bombshell: Women and Terrorism (2011), and Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror (2005).
Sophia Moskalenko is a psychologist studying mass identity, inter-group conflict, and conspiracy theories. She has written several books, including the award-winning Friction: How Conflict Radicalizes Them and Us (2011) and The Marvel of Martyrdom: The Power of Self-Sacrifice in the Selfish World (2019).
"A revealing—and disturbing—analysis of a dangerous threat to American democracy."
"Pastels and Pedophiles is a primer on one of the knottiest subjects of our time, and it will surely be helpful to uninitiated readers."
—Seyward Darby, New York Times
"Experts on fringe movements (Bloom is a political scientist, Moskalenko a psychologist), the authors describe an entity that is at once a cult, a scam and a useful tool for the political Right."
—Roger Atwood, Times Literary Supplement
"Pastels and Pedophiles... does particularly important work contextualizing QAnon within a longer history of anti-Semitic conspiratorial thinking, detailing linkages between key aspects of QAnon beliefs and anti-Semitic thinking, comparingThe Protocols of the Elders of Zionwith fake news or blood libel with adrenochrome harvesting. Such historical comparisons are interesting for thinking through some of the underlying ideological dynamics within QAnon."
—Matthew N. Hannah Criminal Law & Criminal Justice Books
"Pastels and Pedophiles is a great book for anyone seeking a basic, reliable introduction to the phenomenon of QAnon."
—R. Fritze, CHOICE
"Pastels and Pedophiles takes the reader on a wild ride through the world of QAnon and its adherents and raises some important questions and points on what can be done to minimize its impact and dismantle the movement in a post-January 6th world."
—Stephanie J. Richmond, H-War
"Mia Bloom and Sophia Moskalenko's new bookPastels and Pedophiles: Inside the Mind of QAnonoffers a more sober and well-researched account of the movement. This is a good starting place for anyone looking for an overview of all things Q. ... Bloom and Moskalenko's examination of the gender politics of QAnon, including its special appeal for mothers struggling through COVID-19 lockdowns, is especially powerful."
—Jordan S. Carroll, Los Angeles Review of Books
"Pastels and Pedophiles is an indispensable study of all aspects of the QAnon conspiracy theories for scholars studying and teaching about the movement."
—Catherine Wessinger, Nova Religio
"[Bloom and Moskalenko] successfully illustrate how the fragmented and constantly morphing nature of the QAnon ideology, a tendency for believers to selectively opt-in to its tenets, and a lack of leadership structure mark it apart from other movements.... Pastels and Pedophiles could be an accessible resource for the public seeking to educate themselves on QAnon or help afflicted peers. It could equally be a useful foundational text for researchers as it suggests many avenues and areas for further study."
—Louisa Rogers, Critical Studies on Terrorism