The Men Who Stare At Goats Hardcover – Unabridged, 5 Nov 2004
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In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the US Army. Defying all known accepted military practice - and indeed, the laws of physics - they believed that a soldier could adopt the cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them. Entrusted with defending America from all known adversaries, they were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren't joking. What's more, they're back and fighting the War on Terror. Ronson's highly acclaimed bestseller, THEM: ADVENTURES WITH EXTREMISTS, examined the paranoia at the fringes of Bill Clinton's America. THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS reveals extraordinary - and very nutty - national secrets at the core of George W Bush's War on Terror. With first-hand access to the leading players in the story, Ronson traces the evolution of these bizarre activities over the past three decades, and sees how it is alive today within US Homeland Security and post-war Iraq. Why are they blasting Iraqi prisoners-of-war with the theme tune to Barney the Purple Dinosaur?Why have 100 de-bleated goats been secretly placed inside the Special Forces command centre at Fort Bragg, North Carolina? How was the US Military associated with the mysterious mass-suicide of a strange cult from San Diego? THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS answers these, and many more, questions.
About the Author
Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of many bestselling books, including Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie, Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries, The Psychopath Test, The Men Who Stare at Goats and Them: Adventures with Extremists. His first fictional screenplay, Frank, co-written with Peter Straughan, starred Michael Fassbender. He lives in London and New York City.
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Ronson's attempts to patch together an evolutionary history of the "First Earth Battalion" put him at loggerheads with some of the strangest and most egotistical characters that have ever graced the pages of military history: far from being tight-lipped about their "powers" they seem to be on a partial ego trip and delight in drip-feeding tit-bits to journalists. Feted by gun-lobbyists and conspiracy theorists alike, it is scarcely credible that a standing army could have given some of these crackpots the time of day. Yet, damaged by its experiences in Vietnam and crushed by its failure to achieve a decisive victory in the "war on terror", US military policy has taken a number of disturbing turns that are the real source of worry here, beyond the comic opera of spoon-bending parties, goat abuse, and telepathy. Thanks to Ronson's work future generations will look back on these events as the consequences of doctrinal failure, rather than a scientific attempt to evolve military strategy beyond its current limits, which have proven to be all too fallible.
So first I downloaded The Psychopath Test and before I was halfway through had downloaded The Men Who Stare At Goats and Them: Adventures with Extremists.
I'm normally a novel fan, but straightaway he had me hooked. I adore his writing style and I think I may have a tiny crush on him. Especially after watching his videos about the group of students who stole his identity.
Please hurry up and write more Jon!
This is another of the books I read whilst on holiday earlier this year. I’m not sure what to say about this book other than, I tried, I really did but I didn’t get it! I’m not sure what I expected, but I found it hard going and struggled to find it funny. Maybe I missed the point? I have Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test on my “to read shelf”, I’m hoping for better things from that.