out on the fringe

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out on the fringe

Postby kenneth delves on Sat May 24, 2008 9:07 pm

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The Men Who Stare at Goats



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48 of 58 people found the following review helpful:
alternately funny and horrifying
This is a fascinating tale about people who are completely nuts. Unfortunately, many of these people who are completely nuts hold or have held senior positions in the United States military. Ronson rarely writes a judgmental word, but allows his subject to speak for themselves--and hang themselves with their own words. (At least, that's the impression--obviously Ronson...
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Published on April 30, 2005 by James J. Lippard

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
Entertaining look at military conspiracy theories through the decades
This is a wacky trip through the field notes of author Jon Ronson as he interviewed alleged participants and theorists in some of the wackier military experiments. The narrative didn't have much structure or overall message; it was more a collection of Ronson's experiences talking to a wide range of people. The "men who stare at goats" are a small part of the story,...
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Published on September 1, 2005 by Jessica Lux

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48 of 58 people found the following review helpful:
alternately funny and horrifying, April 30, 2005
By James J. Lippard "skeptic" (Phoenix, AZ USA) - See all my reviews


This is a fascinating tale about people who are completely nuts. Unfortunately, many of these people who are completely nuts hold or have held senior positions in the United States military. Ronson rarely writes a judgmental word, but allows his subject to speak for themselves--and hang themselves with their own words. (At least, that's the impression--obviously Ronson has selected which of their words to present.)

Ronson looks at ideas for a "First Earth Battallion" by soldier-turned-newage-marketing-guru Jim Channon, who proposed in 1979 that the military put greater emphasis on influencing people with alternative weapons such as paranormal abilities and music. Ronson traces the use of music in warfare to the use of loud music by the FBI at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas and as a torture technique used by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq.

The book covers a wide-ranging territory of nuttiness, including Uri Geller (who is quoted in the book suggesting that he has been re-activated for use by the U.S. military), the remote viewers at Ft. Meade (Joe McMoneagle, Ingo Swann, Pat Price, Ed Dames, etc.), the non-lethal weaponry of UFO and paranormal investigator Col. John Alexander, the connections between the remote viewers and Courtney Brown--and then to Art Bell and Heaven's Gate, and the CIA's MKULTRA experiments and the death-by-LSD of Frank Olson and his son Eric's search for the facts about his death.

The book is alternately amusing and horrifying. It would be funny if this craziness wasn't taken so seriously by high-ranking officials who have put it into practice, wasting tax dollars and occasionally producing horribly unethical outcomes.

I highly recommend this book. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful:
Where's Chuck Barris When You Need Him?, May 28, 2005
By Robert I. Hedges - See all my reviews


"The Men Who Stare At Goats" is perhaps the oddest book I have read since "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" by Chuck Barris. Both books are incredibly entertaining and have plots revolving around fairly unbelievable government programs. Chuck would have fit in here perfectly.

This is the story of military and government intelligence officials who believe and promote utterly wacky concepts, like "Warrior Monks," the ability to stop a goat's heart telepathically by staring at it (this was allegedly demonstrated later on guinea pigs for budgetary reasons), and the ability to walk through walls.

Jon Ronson has a wonderful, conversational writing style. The only unfortunate part of that it is hard to tell when he is serious and when he isn't. I do not know how much of this book is true, and how much is complete, if inspired lunacy. I am not accusing Ronson (a documentary filmmaker) of fabricating anything, but given that his references are all speaking from first-person experiences which were supposedly classified, verification of these stories is nigh-impossible. In other words, even if Ronson reported the facts as he knew them, there is no way to verify the bulk of these allegations. I do know that Art Bell is discussed to a degree, and despite relative skepticism from Ronson and others, his mere appearance in the book tends to make most people (including myself) more skeptical of matters at hand.

I don't know what parts of this book I believe and what parts to merely laugh at. Within that conundrum is the entertainment value (as disturbing as it may be) of this book.

I recommend this book for people with open, but skeptical, minds.
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Re: out on the fringe

Postby Michael on Sun May 25, 2008 4:40 pm

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"but we’re going to hunt down that last point-one percent and say: ‘you’ve gotta get inside, you gotta cut it out, and you gotta distance.’” —Mayor Garcetti
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Re: out on the fringe

Postby qiphlow on Sun May 25, 2008 8:11 pm

the US government has funded some seriously strange endeavors during the eternal quest to dominate the planet.
esoteric voodoo wizard
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