The Men Who Stare at Goats
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The Men Who Stare at Goats

  • Paperback
By (author) Jon Ronson

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In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the US Army. Defying all known military practice -- and indeed the laws of physics -- they believed that a soldier could adopt a cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls, and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them. They were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren't joking. What's more, they're back and fighting George Bush's War on Terror. Often funny, sometimes chilling and always thought-provoking, The Men Who Stare at Goats is a story so unbelievable it has to be true.

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  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 126 x 196 x 24mm | 220g
  • 01 Jul 2005
  • Pan MacMillan
  • PICADOR
  • London
  • Unabridged
  • Unabridged
  • 0330375482
  • 9780330375481
  • 8,096

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Author Information

Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of three bestsellers, Them: Adventures with Extremists, The Men Who Stare At Goats, and The Psychopath Test, and three collections, Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness, What I Do: More True Tales of Everyday Craziness, and Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries. He lives in London and New York City.

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Review quote

'Not only a narcotic road trip through the wackier reaches of Bush's war effort, but also an unmissable account of the insanity that has lately been done in our names' Observer 'Funny and gravely serious, what emerges is a world shrouded in secrecy, mystery and wackiness, where Warrior Monks and psychic spies battle it out for military thinking. Mind-blowing stuff' Metro

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Review text

British journalist (Them, 2001) and documentary filmmaker Ronson digs into the various psychic operations of the U.S. armed forces, from their origins in Vietnam to their uses today. In 1979, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Channon created the First Earth Battalion Operations Manual, expressing the visionary position that soldiers of the future would, among other things, "fall in love with everyone, . . . bend metal with their minds, walk on fire, [and] calculate faster than a computer." The Army, eager for a new kind of fighter, bought into it, and Ronson now traces the circuitous routes of men who have since attempted to bring the super-soldier into being. The writer's sources are a mix of ranking military men and fringe characters attracted by the idea of psychic doings. Former U.S. Army Chief of Intelligence, Major General Albert Stubblebine III, who held his post in the early '80s, recalls his frustrated efforts to get the Special Forces to adopt Channon's strategies; Special Forces reps failed to disclose that they already had their own psychic division up and running. Stubblebine's protege in things psychic, Major Ed Dames, has long been a public face of PSYOPS (psychic operations), principally through his appearances on the same syndicated radio program whose reporting on the Hale-Bopp comet prompted the Heaven's Gate cult members to kill themselves in the hopes of catching a ride. In his quest into the realms of the weird, Ronson has turned up any number of eerily credible tales: just for starters, there's murder by the CIA; current torture schemes in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay (some involve playing Fleetwood Mac in prisoners' cells), and a man who claims to be able to stop a hamster's heart by staring at it. Very funny, and packed with oddities. If Ronson doesn't manage to expose this official hall of mirrors entirely, he still makes an admirable effort, entertaining and alarming in equal parts. (Kirkus Reviews)

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