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The Men Who Stare at Goats | [Jon Ronson]

The Men Who Stare at Goats

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.
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Publisher's Summary

Britain's funniest and most insightful satirist reveals extraordinary military secrets at the core of George W. Bush's War on Terror.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (726 )
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3.8 (439 )
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3.7 (439 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Christina HORN LAKE, MS, United States 01-07-13
    Christina HORN LAKE, MS, United States 01-07-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great but did miss author's voice"
    If you could sum up The Men Who Stare at Goats in three words, what would they be?

    Lots of information.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Like always Ron Jonson does a great job investigating and following down leads and getting information. He does jump around a bit and doesn't tie some loose ends together, but with this kind of information I'm not sure if anyone could tie all the loose ends together.


    What does Sean Mangan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I missed the author reading his book, knowing that an English speaking person wrote the book puts you off with an American reader. Plus there were gross mispronunciations of words that can distract from the information.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I love learning about the dirty little secrets of the American military/industrial complex. It usually takes about 40 years for info to get out and by then they can just say, "Well, we no longer do things that way." This is even though every few decades something else is found out. When are people going to realize that the secrecy of 'classified' allows them to do whatever the hell they want to do with no consequences later except for a slap on the wrist.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David APO, AE, United States 04-05-12
    David APO, AE, United States 04-05-12 Member Since 2010

    Clarkplus

    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
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    39
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    "Does Not Surprise Me"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Men Who Stare at Goats to be better than the print version?

    I never read the book so I can't say. But, I did enjoy it thoroughly.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The mix of crazy characters.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Hard to say, there were so many,


    If you could give The Men Who Stare at Goats a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Zen and the US Army


    Any additional comments?

    I guess I will have to see the movie but I doubt it will live up to the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 04-29-11
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 04-29-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The crazies may be right"

    Ronson offers an intriguing glimpse into some of the more bizarre exploits of secretive governmental organizations. It turns out many claims which have been dismissed as delusional have actually been explored and experimented with by legitimate(?) governmental agencies. I found this book a bit overlong and repetitive, but otherwise it certainly gives one food for thought.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steve kearny, NJ, United States 12-09-10
    steve kearny, NJ, United States 12-09-10 Member Since 2010

    Addicted to Audible since 2009

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    375
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    "Too good to be true."

    Between the book and movie, I do know how much of this is actually true but if it is it's almost scary to think of the things Big Brother and our military will try. They clearly have too much money in their budget of theirs if they're actually trying tactics such as the ones heard in this book. With that said, this is a funny story that is extremely hard to believe but even still it's worth the listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Berwick, Australia 03-28-10
    Steven Berwick, Australia 03-28-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Quirky and amusing"

    A bizarre, quirky and amusing listen. The narrator did a good job, and his dead-pan tone helped convey the truth is stranger than fiction plot. Some parts of the story are disjointed, and detracted a little from the whole experience. Overall an enjoyable listen but not highly memorable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorraine La Grande, OR, USA 03-03-10
    Lorraine La Grande, OR, USA 03-03-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Trust no one....."

    Funny stuff....right up until it makes your skin crawl. I used to laugh a "conspiracy theories". Not any more. If there is even a grain of truth in this mans story we all need to wear aluminum foil hats! :) Great book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Brisbane, Australia 05-14-13
    Sharon Brisbane, Australia 05-14-13 Member Since 2015

    I am an Australian woman who enjoys reading many different styles of books, from history to sci fi and mystery to poetry.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A tired premise."

    I bought this title because I had been meaning to read the book before watching the movie. I had heard that bothe were great. I will watch the movie one day I am sure, but the book? Such a very tired premise. I was so bored and so not amused. We all know that poking fun at military intelligence services has been done to death. If you have read this sort of this before don't bother, if you haven't this may be a good place to start. I am again wishing for half stars because the story and overall scores are worth 2.5 stars. Another average offering.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Murphy Natick, MA United States 03-28-12
    Christopher Murphy Natick, MA United States 03-28-12 Listener Since 2009

    Hyperbole is the Best Thing EVER!!!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Never Got a Feel"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not really. I think there are some interesting aspects but the overall narrative left me a bit confused at times. Is this a comedy? Is this an expose? How much of this is legit? How much is the writer? I was just never sure where I stood with this book.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would make it clear what the purpose of the narrative is. I had to do extensive on-line research to understand what this book was. Shouldn't have to do that.


    What didn???t you like about Sean Mangan???s performance?

    I thought it was weak. I felt like he helped in my confusion by playing this ambiguously. Sometimes I thought he was being silly, sometimes serious. But I always expected that I was wrong about what I thought.


    Did The Men Who Stare at Goats inspire you to do anything?

    Google this title often


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, USA 06-02-11
    Amazon Customer Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, USA 06-02-11 Listener Since 2009
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    "Hard to Listen to"

    Is this really a person reading this book? It sounds like a computer generated voice - and just as compelling. The book itself seems to have some interest, if I can just get past the monotone inflictions of the reader.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris 01-04-11
    Chris 01-04-11 Listener Since 2009
    ratings
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    "Disappointing"

    I feel like the only person who doesn't "get" the joke. I mean, I "get" it, in the sense that I understand how it is intended to be funny. I just don't get how its funny. It was trying to be over-the-top funny and came off trying entirely too hard.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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