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Search for the 'Manchurian Candidate': The CIA and Mind Control (242P) Hardcover – Jan 1979

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Times Books (Jan. 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812907736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812907735
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,488,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"A comprehensive, detailed and thoroughly readable account of the CIA safehouses, the brainwashing experiments, the involvement of the universities." "Perhaps the most compelling, well-researched, organized and well-written account of CIA operations ever." "A serious effort to recontruct carefully the details of intelligence agency experiments with 'mind control.'" "One of the most important books of the year... We see the CIA on the cutting edge of inquiry into hypnosis, drugs, brainwashing, personality assessment, psychosurgery, electric and radio stimulations of the brain, the creation of involuntary amnesia, terminal shock therapy." "Fascinating reading." "A wonderful piece of investigative reporting. The best account we'll ever get of one of the seamiest episodes of American intelligence." -- Seymour Hersh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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On the outskirts of Basel, Switzerland, overlooking the Rhine, lies the worldwide headquarters of the Sandoz drug and chemical empire. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "gmaniacuk" on 2 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book on recommendation from a colleague, so had high hopes. I was unfortunately disappointed, principally because you didn't really learn anything new as you progressed through each chapter. The book summarises the CIA's efforts in the (mainly) 50s & 60s to discover some mind controlling 'drug' (e.g. chemicals, hypnosis, bugs, magic mushrooms, sensory deprivation, mind training / brain washing) that could be used to infiltrate enemies, perhaps even be used to create an unknowing 'sleeper' who could be triggered to assasinate a leader to whom he had close access. The bottom line is, so far as this book can tell being based upon limited documents released by the CIA, such a control method was never found despite the research. Yes the book is interesting, but every chapter is the same: "The CIA tried technique X by covertly sponsoring R&D institutions and their own R&D but the technique could not be successfully used in the field". And this is repeated in every chapter, simply substituting the technique each time. Anyone expecting to read about covert espionage truths, or major brain washing schemes, or covert drug deals with the mafia or indeed anything at all exciting will be disappointed. Those looking for serious research into the kind of CIA activity in 1950s/60s will not be disappointed.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "omegovich" on 2 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
This is 1992 edition of the book which was first published in 1979. The book is mostly based on the historical evidence, which the author managed to wrangle out from the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act. While a highly factual account of attempts to exploit mind changing substances and techniques, it is also written in an entertaining style (in fact, it starts with a vivid account of discovery of psychotropic effects of LSD in Nazi Germany). Details of horrid Nazi experiments on Russian, Jewish and Gypsy prisoners are given. CIA’s own mind control experimentation is reviewed. While the known research has hardly yielded a “Manchurian Candidate”, a zombi assassin, the presented data give an interesting perspective on a mind changing properties of extracts from Mexican cacti, mushrooms and on hypnosys-based techniques like “psychic driving”.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 31 reviews
72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
The CIA's Experiments in Mind Control. 2 Feb. 2006
By New Age of Barbarism - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable - what then? - George Orwell from _1984_.

_The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate": The CIA and Mind Control_ by John Marks published in 1979 is a somewhat dated account of the CIA's experiments in mind control. Marks obtained much of his material from documents released through the Freedom of Information Act; however, he had to actively pursue these documents and was involved in a lawsuit against the CIA in order to obtain much of his material. He notes that without the release of this material his research would not have been possible.

The author begins by noting the influence of World War II and Nazi science on subsequent investigations by the CIA, formerly the OSS. In particular, the discovery of the hallucinogenic (psychedelic) drug LSD by Albert Hofman of the Sandoz drug company in Basle, Switzerland was to play a central role in the coming experimental "science" of mind manipulation. The author outlines various sadistic experiments performed by the Nazi scientists and doctors on unwitting prisoners and explains how the Nuremburg Code developed. The author also explains the role of the intelligence operatives in the Second World War, including experiments with marijuana as a supposed truth drug, a whole arsenal of dirty tricks and assassination projects, and the attempt to psychoanalyse Adolf Hitler. Indeed, after the war, the intelligence community captured the surviving research by the Nazi scientists and attempted to sort through it for any scientific value it might have had. Next, the author turns his attention to the development of the Cold War, the subsequent paranoia that ensued over such alleged brainwashing as the case of Cardinal Mindszenty and the Moscow Show Trials, and the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency. The author shows how various projects including Projects BLUEBIRD and ARTICHOKE came to include mind manipulation technology, emphasizing the polygraph machine and hypnosis. The author next turns his attention to the experiments of G. Richard Wendt, who attempted to devise a truth serum as part of his "A" (for ARTICHOKE) treatment. The author also discusses the role of LSD, often given to unwitting experimental subjects as part of Project MK-ULTRA by the CIA and its role in the death of the scientist Dr. Frank Olson. As part of the CIA's experiments with LSD, Dr. Sid Gottlieb tested the drug on unknowing subjects including Olson. Later Olson was to develop signs of paranoia and depression, eventually leading him to jump to his death from a New York building. Olson's death was covered up by the CIA; however, it was later revealed that an allergist (who also experimented with LSD) had been treating him for depression (ironically!). The author next turns his attention to the development of various "safe houses" in San Francisco, run by the narcotics officer George White. White tried to develop techniques for turning enemy agents by using prostitutes. White also experimented heavily with LSD, marijuana, and other drugs on unknowing subjects. He frequently held lavish parties and then would spray LSD into the room through an aerosol spray and watch the effects of the drug from a post outside the room. Needless to say, White's experiments represent the ultimate in unethical experimentation with drugs as well as hypocrisy because White would frequently turn in common citizens to the police for possession of drugs. The author next turns his attention to the Mexican hallucinogenic mushroom and its role in the development of the 1960s counter-culture. Here, the author explains the theories of R. Gordon Wasson, an investment banker, who co-authored the book _Mushrooms, Russia and History_ with his wife Valentina Wasson about the role of the hallucinogenic mushroom in culture and religion. The author next turns his attention to brainwashing. Here, the author notes the role of the CIA in promulgating the theory of brainwashing, but also in attempting to create brainwashed subjects. The author also devotes his attention to "human ecology". Here, the author notes the unethical nature of various experiments on sensory deprivation in the CIA's efforts to depattern a subject. The author shows how the notion of a "terminal experiment" (i.e. an experiment that pushed a human being to their outer limits with no ethical strings attached) was developed by the CIA and was used to justify extreme experiments in sensory deprivation. The author also discusses the role of personality research including the Gittinger Assessment System of John Gittinger. Here, the author shows how Gittinger used his research in an attempt to control subjects based on their personality type as determined by his system. Finally, the author turns his attention to hypnosis. Hypnosis was used in the hope of creating the "Manchurian candidate", a perfect mind control assassin. This concept had developed out of a novel by Richard Condon where the Chinese communists had brainwashed an American soldier. It was believed that soldiers returning from a certain area in Manchuria had no memory of what had happened there, leading to the idea that the Chinese were brainwashing Americans. It should be noted that not all people are equally hypnotizable; however, the CIA believed that by developing the personality of a childhood playmate they could induce multiple personalities in an agent, thereby creating an effective mind control assassin. The author ends this book by noting the importance of the search for truth, particularly as it involves unethical experimentation on United States citizens by its own government.

This book offers compelling evidence regarding the CIA's role in mind manipulation. For all those who care about the future freedom of the human mind it is important to understand what has been done in the past and continues to be done in the name of research to justify covert operations.
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Institutionalized Paranoid Schizophrenia 12 Feb. 1999
By - Published on
Format: Paperback
A fascinating look at the CIA's mind control programs and some of the loose cannons involved in them, particulary Dr. Ewen Cameron of Montreal's Allan Memorial Institute and his questionable experimental practices in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
From a Canadian perspective, if ever there was a need for oversight over such clandestine activities, Cameron's so called "depatterning," "psychic driving" techniques (not to mention the infamous "sleep rooms") certainly called for it. If we are to believe the author -- and there is no reason why we shouldn't -- even the CIA, who traveled periodically to Montreal to observe his work, found his proposals "chillingly explicit." Why? Well, even some of the CIA agents must have felt that Cameron's methods were -- to use THAT word, again -- chillingly close to or mirrored those adopted by the Nazis, many of whom would have enjoyed the hangman's noose were it not for Project Paperclip.
In Cameron the CIA found the perfect candidate to perform experiments on unwitting subjects without accountability and that could only be considered as crimes against humanity.
"In Cameron," states the author, "they [the CIA] had a doctor, conveniently outside the United States [for obvious reasons], willing to to terminal experiments [not unlike the Nazis, meaning even to the extent of losing the subject's life, a process devoid of either ethical or moral considerations] in electroshock, sensory deprivation, drug testing, and all of the above. By literally wiping the minds of his subjects clean by depatterning and then trying to program in new behavior, Cameron carried the process known as 'brainwashing' to it its logical extreme." Out of the entire book, this one statement by the author on page 141 is the most important.
And "Dr." Ewen Cameron, who was considered too powerful to be touched due to his political connections (something to consider when weighing the nonsense going on in Clinton's Senate Impeachment Trial and its foregone conclusion, itself a chilling prospect), there is an interesting statement about the mentalities involved in MKULTRA made by one of Cameron's study-team members, and I quote: "I probably shouldn't talk about this, but Cameron -- for him to do what he did -- he was a very schizophrenic guy [What pure, naked irony...the very thing by Hippocratic oath he was sworn to cure!], who totally detached himself from the human implications of his work...God, we talk about concentration camps. I don't want to make this comparison, but God, you talk about 'we didn't know it was happening,' and it was -- right in our own back yard." Indeed, and we sanctimonious Canadians have always thought it could never happen here.
In spite of the countless, battered victims left in his wake, one former associate had the nerve to say that Cameron "truly cared about the welfare of his patients," that he "wanted to make them well." That this same associate would refer to Cameron's victims as patients only underscores the brutality and amorality of what was going on, and probably still is in a more subtle and sophisticated fashion.
But most crucially, in this context, we have to thank the author for revealing that the frequent screams echoing though the Allan Memorial hospital "did not deter Cameron or MOST of his associates in their attempts to 'depattern' their subjects COMPLETELY." Emphasis mine. So far had Cameron sunk to the level of personal depravity that "he welcomed this kind of impairment as a sign the treatment was taking effect and plowed ahead through his routine."
This then is the value of the book itself: that doctors and other men of professional standing would dare use the excuse that it was largely due to the temper of the times (fear of the Russians, etc.)and the do-anything mentality to acquire research funds which the CIA somewhat brilliantly orchestrated through various front companies.
In the final analysis, accountability counts, especially if you are one of the victims of the CIA's mind control programs. And thanks to author for putting it into its proper perspective.
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Research. 10 Jun. 2000
By Reticuli - Published on
Format: Paperback
John Marks is an excellent researcher. MK Ultra is an extremely dark chapter in the history of the intelligence, military, and R&D community. There are some troubling insights that I feel compelled to repeat here. First, this covert community destroyed an enormous amount of their records and documentation on secret activities in the late 60's and early 70's. They obviously destroyed the most damning portion of the paper trail. Yet out of the relatively benign information still available, we get proof of unethical conduct and allusions of possible illegal acts. There is even a hint that research was conducted on microwaves, ultrasonic, and electrical stimulation of the brain. There's little or no information on what was discovered in *these* subjects, or even whether the activities were truly halted. We now have indication that the military just so happens to have data on the use of sub & ultra sonics in nonleathal weapons. It's possible that the information, and possibly even current MK Ultra influenced research, is still around. I've heard military personnel say most of the very sensitive research does not occur on the CIA operative level, but in subcontractors and middle management who keep their own research records and staff.
Didn't Sirhan Sirhan say he'd been in a hypnotic trance? Did he say this before MK Ultra was revealed, or after? I wonder...
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Excellent resource. 28 Dec. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is probably the most quoted book I've seen on the topic of government experimentation on mind control. However, John Marks only follows the trail of the CIA. Many other branches/units of the government and military were involved in MK-Ultra. The Army, Navy, Air Force, NSA, DOD, DOE. Would be nice to see all resources pooled together to have one complete story of these experiments instead of just one small segment of it. In spite of the single focus, it is the best information out there for documentation...especially since many of the other agencies involved destroyed all or most of their MK-Ultra documents (which is another conspiracy in itself). Thank heavens for the persistence of John Marks to find these documents!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A Classic ! 7 Oct. 2004
By "skipzgal" - Published on
Format: Paperback
John Marks has done a wonderful job of piecing together the available information on the clandestine operations done by the CIA in their attempt to accomplish mind control.He begins in the early stages of their program in the 1940's and carries it through until the last of the mind control programs allegedly was shut down in 1973.In this book the author covers topics such as brain washing, hypnosis, LSD experiments, and the very tragic death of Dr. Frank Olson (as a result of an experiment gone bad). I highly recommend this book if you are interested in what occurred during the CIA's secret attempt at creating "Manchurian Candidate's"
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