Entertaining and alarming in equal parts, this is a true account of the US military's experimentation with the supernatural.
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.
©2004 Jon Ronson; (P)2005 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
"Simultaneously frightening and hilarious." (The Times)
"Few more earnest investigative journalists would have had the brilliant bloody-mindedness to get what he has got and hardly any would have the wit to present it with as much clarity." (The Observer)
"A hilarious and unsettling book." (Boston Globe)
Sticking closer to the announced essence of the book, which is wacky people with wacky ideas doing stupid things.
No. I felt manipulated.
Mellow, sincere, and polished
The first two thirds of the book was as promised. It was humorous, indeed sometimes laugh out loud funny, as it went from the virtual "aluminum foil hat" candidates to like thinking screwballs. The connections from one bizarre thinker to another were quite entertaining.,
Attempts to connect these wack jobs to the criminal military police at Abu Grabe and the siege of the Branch Dividians was clearly the objective of this book from the beginning. It is a shame this author didn't remain true to the professed intent of this book.
Say something about yourself!
Yes, because it is Hilarious!
I wish Jon had read it, but as companion piece to the movie it works very well.
This is another typical meandering, curious series of investigations by Ronson. I mean that in a good way, as I love his style.
I only wish it was narrated by the author. His works aren't quite the same without his particular, tentative lilt. Instead this book is read by a very assured sounding American, which undercuts both the occasional Britishisms and the overall bizarre nature of the discoveries.
Still, his voice is there in the writing and if you can get past the more "traditional" audiobook sound, you're in store for another funny, shocking, and enlightening series of stories.
The way it was read, I wasn't sure if, in the beginning, he was playing with us or telling us a serious story. In truth, I think it was both, which helped to make it interesting.
This book covers more than staring at goats. For example, MK Ultra. I thought I was well informed about MK Ultra but Ronson talks to Erik Olson and gets more on his father's death. Narrator is over-dramatic and uses some unusual pronunciations
Very fascinating information but hard to keep track of each person in the story because the narrator uses the same tone for everyone. Would recommend having it redone by someone else. Would love it is someone from 60 minutes read it.
We expect the government to utilize all aspects of exploring to develop "new" ways to stay ahead of others. This book opens thoughts into areas you may have never expected. Bit, based on what we are given in sci-fi movies, books, and tv; it's not hard to fathom the thought of how possible it really occurred or occurs.
not bad, but freaky knowing there's psychic soilders out in the world. I did enjoy the movie more. he's writing trails off sometimes.
"Not like the film at all"
The craziness of what was and probably still is going on
no but this one was very good
could have but don't have the time for that
This is not like the film at all, this is the writing of the fact finding mission used for the making of the film fiction, very entertaining and good bit of journalism if it is all true...
I expected so much from this book and got so little from it. Just a hotch-potch list of names with random stories tenuously connected with little or no substance to support their validity. Really, don't bother with it!
Probably Douglas Adams.
Monotone. Difficult to fathom when one characters "story" had finished and moved onto the next.
The entire thing was a waste of time
I think I've made my point!
"Apocryphal of conspiracies"
Ever the sceptic, or is that the optimist, I came to this one thinking that if the left-learning Kevin Spacey and George Clooney are involved then there would be bound to to be something of interest in this one.
Disappointed to say there is not - no story, no revelations, nothing of information, embarrassment or enlightenment in the context of Iraq and Afghanistan
There are a couple of strolls up and down various garden paths of retired army personnel, a couple of unsubstantiated urban myth-type recordings of non-bleating goats in unmarked sheds down unclassified roads in de-registered army bases that everyone now denies ever exists....so there you are conclusive evidence that after searching long and hard I?ve come up with concrete evidence that the total amount of this book does not match a sand-castle in consistency or substance.
In truth, where this book does come alive is in respect of the comparisons that can be drawn between what might have happened (ie: Goats and Hamsters) with what we are starting to discover did (allegedly) happen in respect of the torture and prisoner abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib and Camp X-Ray Guantanamo Bay.
The truth really is stranger than non-fiction in this context - and in that context this book is largely a wasted effort...not funny, not well written, not relevant - and, I am left largely suspecting, not accurate in any sense.
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