This book confused me. At first I thought it was a satirical look at the Government/Military and their secret programs. The author even tied the explanation behind the Waco debacle and the Heaven's Gate mass suicide into what was going on in the book. But the more I read the book the more I started to believe that the author wasn't trying to be funny, that he might actually be serious. I haven't seen the movie. I have been told by numerous people to avoid it, that it was horrible. I wasn't pleased with the book because I couldn't figure out what the authors stance on the whole thing was.
Now I don't even know if I want to see the movie. The book was just okay. It started good, but became a rambling meandering government conspiracy documentary going from tangent to tangent, on concepts loosely tied together. Entertaining and strange, not anything mind-boggling. All in all, a bit of a let down. Book was disjointed. I hope the movie was better.
This book is listed as History/Social Science on the cover. I am sure there will be many paople who read this and say "Yah, right". But even if on a fraction of this information is correct I think we have a reason to be amazed and even frightened. Jon Ronson writes in an easy to read manner with a touch of humor. This book is not just for the conspiracy buff, it is a good read for anyone.
Hmmmm, There may have been more to "Swap a Goat" (PBS offshoot) than I thought. Kind of hard to follow at the beginning, I suppose all of the tangents would come together in the end. Hard to tell whether they were Republican or Democratic proposals, I think they would be untouchable under sequestration.
Know who Mdm. Blavatatsky or Edgar Cayce was? That too far back? Well, how about Ed Dames, Art Bell, General Stubblebine, Skip Atwater, Col John Alexander? Or at least Terence and Dennis McKenna? If you answered yes to recognizing a majority of these strange people, and their odd claims to fame, you will enjoy "The Men Who Stare At Goats", even if the movie did leave a goofy taste in your mouth. Otherwise forget this book, and continue to believe your tax dollars are being spent in a sane and logical manner. But remember: No Goats, No Glory!
I think this would have been more effective a cautionary tale had it not been so absurdist and silly in tone. The historical personages depicted in the book came across strongly as fictional, quirky characters, which made me start viewing the organization about which the book was written - the military - with something less than concern. And that wasn't fair, considering the grave situations the author described.
A great deal of this was dedicated to describing the inhumane treatment of fellow human beings. Psychological torture is just not fun to read about and I found myself ashamed at giving taxpayer dollars to fund this. So much could have been done here.
Toward the end of the book the author lamented that readers see events separated by time as not tragic but instead as almost comical, given the amount of time that has passed. His summary of Eric Olsen's father's LSD demise made that very clear. Yet, he treated the entire subject of torture with glibness. To give this horrifying subject such an insouciant tone is insulting.
No wonder this movie turned out the parody it did.
If you want to read about a serious subject in an not-so-serious matter, with many larger-than-life characters, this fits the bill. If you want to read about PsyOps and Remote Viewing, I'd pick up any other book on the subject because it's got to be better than this author's treatment of the subject.