Customer Review

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I struggled with this book, 9 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control (Paperback)
I bought this book to find out more about brain washing and the science of thought control. I'm not sure I got that. Kathleen Taylor is erudite, well read and has a laconic turn of phrase that I quite liked, but I found it hard to maintain interest. The book has the feel of a tutorial over tea and scones for terribly clever and well read liberals.

Ms Taylor uses brain washing as a central 'home base'' from which she makes excursions into philosophy, religion, neuroscience, and general thoughts about life, the universe and everything. It's a low key ramble, which eventually meanders to a call for taking a stand against brainwashing by using FACET (Freedom, Agency, Complexity, Ends-not-means and Thinking).

Along the way "totalist" regimes come in for as much attention as brain washing, with a lot of reference being made to Robert Lifton's eight totalist themes (milieu control, mystical manipulation, demand for purity, cult of confession, sacred science, loading the language, primacy of doctrine over person, and dispensing of existence). I'm not sure what they all mean. There's also a chapter to introduce the functions of the pre-frontal cortex, which, to forgive the pun, was mind-numbing. Other chapters have a tangential relevance to brainwashing that were neither exciting nor particularly insightful.

Overall, a worthy book but one I would neither recommend nor read again.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Aug 2012 17:39:41 BDT
I am currently 250 pages in and must say that your thoughts are completely the same as mine. I am struggling to wade through the pages for one of two reasons; either I am not well read nor articulate enough to comprehend what is being said to me, or the notions put forward are long, sometimes tedious and always difficult to relate back to the topic of the book itself. Or perhaps a combination of the two.

I will force myself to finish the final 90 pages in the hope there is a clever keystone sentence that supports everything I have read up to now, but I'm feeling somewhat weary and am certainly looking forward to the end!
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