Thursday, June 23, 2011
The Men Who Stare At Goats - Review
The Men Who Stare At Goats is really, really funny, mostly because it is true. I read The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to get Ronson's other books. This is a book that is really hard to define . . . in fact, when I looked for it in a bookstore I couldn't find it anywhere. Finally I asked someone, and they directed me to the New Age section (definitely not a new age book . . . would be more appropriate under history, military history, or even politics).
In a nutshell, this book is about some of the insane things that our government and military have sponsored and paid for over the years. At times it is a riot, and at other times it manages to be profoundly sad. The real atrocities that take place are juxtaposed with the ridiculous, and it puts everything into a different perspective. This book skips around between different themes and timelines, but here is run down of what to expect:
The story of the FBI and CIA flying in a Russian psychic to subliminally influence David Koresh in Waco.
The story of the military sponsored document that outlines New Earth Battalion procedures, such as carrying lambs into combat and speakers that play soothing music worn on soldier's necks. You can also find this on Amazon now - First Earth Battalion Operations Manual: Reprint of Original Manual from the 70's.
The story of a army psychic spy who stopped the heart of a goat by staring at it.
The government recruitment of a dance instructor from Florida who now practices staring at hampsters.
The sad backstory behind the Hale-Bopp comet cult, and how a former government agent who taught remote viewing classes was connected to it.
And much more. Many of the stories are insane and ridiculous, but also ring true. Whether they really happened or not is hard to say, but there are certainly people high up in the military and government who believe they happened. This is a better read than most fiction books, and if it was not backed up by real sources and documents would be classified as science fiction. Read it for entertainment purposes and to see how a great journalist and author can turn facts into political satire, humor, and a great read. Highly Recommended.
Also - book is much better than the movie, which fictionalizes way too much of this story. What makes the book so great is that its true, and that's lost in the movie.