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The Men Who Stare at Goats Audiobook

The Men Who Stare at Goats

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Publisher's Summary

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.

The Men Who Stare at Goats reveals extraordinary - and very nutty - national secrets at the core of George W. Bush's War on Terror. With first-hand access to the leading players in the story, Ronson traces the evolution of these bizarre activities over the past three decades, and sees how it is alive today within US Homeland Security and post-war Iraq.

Why are they blasting Iraqi prisoners-of-war with the theme tune to Barney the Purple Dinosaur? Why have 100 de-bleated goats been secretly placed inside the Special Forces command centre at Fort Bragg, North Carolina? How was the US Military associated with the mysterious mass-suicide of a strange cult from San Diego? The Men Who Stare At Goats answers these, and many more, questions.

Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of many best-selling books, including Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie, Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries, The Psychopath Test, The Men Who Stare at Goats and Them: Adventures with Extremists. His first fictional screenplay, Frank, co-written with Peter Straughan, starred Michael Fassbender. He lives in London and New York City.

©2012 Jon Ronson (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

What the Critics Say

"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)
"Simultaneously frightening and hilarious." (The Times)"

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (397 )
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  •  
    PaisleyTurtle 05-31-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "FINALLY! In Ronson's own voice!"

    Honesty, I have collected Ronson's audio books for years, but was disappointed to hear "Men" was voiced by an American accented reader. Jon's writing is engaging, involving and compelling but after hearing him reading The Psychopath Test or Them or Lost at Sea, any other voice feels two dimensional by comparison. While the movie tie in version is still interesting, it felt flat. Here, we have Jon giving one thing that is lacking in the other read - the depth of experience. You feel the enthusiasm of a man who was there, across the table, interviewing men who were part of this journey through "psychic soldiers" and experiments in out of body operations.

    I have enjoyed Ronson's books, far more than the movies based on his articles, but this was a glaring omission to the cannon which I am extremely glad has been corrected. Thank you, Jon and Audible! Worth the cost... Looking forward to the next!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana 12-28-16
    Diana 12-28-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very interesting investigative journalism + irony"

    I didn't buy this audio book before because it wasn't narrated by Jon Ronson, and the other Jon Ronson audio books I had listened to led me to believe that his narration, with its solemn tongue-in-cheek ironic delivery is essential to get the full effect of his writing.

    When I saw that he had this book redone with his own narration, I bought it. This is a topic I have some interest in - having tried out a remote viewing class, read numerous free pdf's to do with remote viewing, watched many RV videos and listened to many podcasts of interviews of the early remote viewers, and also after having read/listened to some autobiographies of early remote viewers involved in the program.

    What a difference to see the program as part of a bigger picture, from another angle!

    Because this book places remote viewing in a bigger category of activities, the story also references Heavens Gate, the Waco siege, MK Ultra, Guantanamo, and prisoners in Iraq and the use of various techniques such as sound or chemicals to change behavior. Also the death of a research scientist who fell out of a 10 story building in New York is reported on.

    The story ends abruptly, with an unfinished feel, but that is reflective of the reality . . . and life. The book made me uncomfortable and think. If it weren't for the irony and excellent narration and research efforts . . . I am not sure I would have been interested enough to get this book. Because I really liked the previous audio books Jon Ronson published, I bought this . . . but, I learned more than I wanted to know, and feel saddened by what people do to other people . . . and animals.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Kuprov USA 03-07-17
    R. Kuprov USA 03-07-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "A serious documentary in a fictional tone"
    Would you listen to The Men Who Stare at Goats again? Why?

    Seriously, I'd re-listen to it to review some of the facts and stories, but listening to this book was very tedious and confusing. The tone the author used made it sound like the whole thing was a fairy tale! It was very difficult to disassociate the narrative tone and the voice performance from the veracity of the facts laid out in the book. I wasn't sure whether the book was a documentary or fiction until about 2/3 way into it.


    What didn’t you like about Jon Ronson’s performance?

    Nothing. It was entirely too playful and incredulous.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely not.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dubi New York, NY 01-07-17
    Dubi New York, NY 01-07-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Listen to Goats"

    There are three ways to experience The Men Who Stare at Goats: read, watch, or listen. Hands down, best choice is to listen to Jon Ronson recite his investigations into how U.S. military and intelligence has explored unconventional approaches to warfare -- psychics, paranormals, psy-ops; using acid as a truth serum or heroin withdrawal as a form of torture; walking through walls, making oneself invisible, dropping foes with a stare (the titular goats being test subjects, not enemy combatants).

    I'm sure this makes for a good read, a superior approach perhaps in making sure you get the details right, or can refer back to them if you reach moments of confusion. I'm sure as well that the movie is a waste of time (saw it, hated it) -- for some strange reason, they chose to fictionalize it, when the very best thing about it is that it is true and that most of Ronson's interview subjects are real-life participants in the projects described.

    But listening to it on audio has one distinct advantage -- Ronson's narration of his own work. If you haven't listened to Ronson before, his idiosyncratic delivery is initially challenging. But for this material (as is true for most of his books), his approach to interviews and his method of recounting them is just pitch perfect. How he gets people to open up to him is amazing, especially in this case since he's talking to military people about secret projects.

    His method is to pretend confusion, pretend that he doesn't understand the more amazing things that are being told to him. Of course he does understand them, which you can tell because of the details he chooses to pursue by feigning dimness. And since much of what he is being told is jaw-droppingly incredible (in its literal sense of straining believability), his ability to narrate as if his jaw is hanging down to his chest, eyes popping and mind blowing, makes for entertaining and illuminating listening.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Kindler 10-11-17
    The Kindler 10-11-17 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    182
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    "Government Black Budget Groups try What Now?"

    What is real and and isn't real? Each country has its interesting characters and their ideas, America had and may still have, these soldiers. have they accomplished their field? Who knows but it is interesting what kind of programs were run during the Cold War and how they are still used today.
    This isn't just about the government's goat starting program. It talking about terrorist prison camps and some of the inhuman events that occurred there and how the American public reacted to the leaked details.
    The mind is a complex thing and it can do stuff that sends impossible (placebo treatments, false pregnancies,etc.) so is this possible. You research and find your own answers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jme 09-26-17
    jme 09-26-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Great story"

    I love Jon Ronson's work and this is stellar. This book details events from staring goats to death to watching hamsters fall over for a bit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-07-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Absolutely bizarre"

    I have read and listened to other works by this author and enjoyed them.

    I found myself as I listened wondering where the boundary between fiction and nonfiction was drawn.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Super Heavy Georgia 06-12-17
    Super Heavy Georgia 06-12-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Not my favorite from ronson"

    Out of all his work, this is my least favorite. It struck me as disjointed and rambling. It never reaches a point and ends abruptly. Check out Lost at Sea or So You've Been Publicly Shamed instead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RumiKumu 06-08-17
    RumiKumu 06-08-17 Member Since 2016
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    "How to Stop War"

    I love listening to Jon Ronson he does an excellent job narrating. I've listenened to this book twice now, there are a lot of people and stories throughout to keep track of, so I got more out of it the second time.

    The idea that some members of the armed forces are trying new age mind control or other psychological warfare isn't hard to believe. The army is a huge organization tasked to defend against any and all attacks against America. Trying to think out of the box will get you some successes and some goat staring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pen Name 03-26-17
    Pen Name 03-26-17
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    1
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    "One of my favorites"

    Love the book so tried audio book. Its nice to play in the car on road trips. Took a bit to get use to the British accent but over all worth the 3$ for audio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Neil
    LEEDS, United Kingdom
    4/13/17
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    "A book written the wrong way round."

    This was okay but in my opinion a long way from Ronson's best.

    Its starts out amusing, slightly whimsical and typically bizarre and then weaves a slightly scatter-gun narrative through the US Military from the late 70s to the present day.

    By the end of the book it becomes clear that Ronson's aim has been looking at how progressive but radical ideas have been misappropriated. Unfortunately, this aim wasn't clear throughout the book and I would have preferred Ronson to state his thesis at the outset.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • scott summers
    LONDON, GB
    12/20/16
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    "Eye opening and jaw dropping"

    Loved the film but had no idea of the depth this topic and book goes too. Amazing and shocking.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • David Grogan
    9/4/16
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    "Compelling Ronson at his best"

    Ronson has a really compelling style that draws the reader in. The audible version of this and his other books has the added dimension of his own speech pattern- something Ronson does really well. At points it's like he is say in the room with me revealing a secret he heard from someone over the garden wall. A real pleasure for the ears.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Suswati
    3/2/17
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    "Truth is stranger than fiction"

    While a lot of readers may find this conspiratorial, it is actually bizarrely captivating and incredible to listen to. Some of the areas explored borders on bonkers, but actually much of it is true. Around 75 per cent of the time, it is absolutely hilarious, but there poses a genuine concern about what our intelligence agencies are doing outside of public knowledge.

    Having read Jon Ronson's works before, it hardly comes as a surprise that he has managed to infiltrate such an eccentric part of the US military. I only wish each idea was more carefully investigated rather than feeling like Alice tumbling down a rabbit hole. Thoroughly enjoyable nevertheless.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Darkly
    London
    3/22/17
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    "Great story. Really engaging"

    I wasn't sure about this at first, but it was fantastic. Really interesting and thought provoking and not what I expected. A good listen.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Dr Nik Jewell
    3/16/17
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    "Better than the Film"

    I'm a fan of Jon Ronson's work and this is certainly more entertaining than the film, but it is not him at his best. It is full of laugh out loud moments in his understated sardonic style, made all the better by his narration (I am not at all sure it would work so well if somebody else was narrating it).

    However, the narrative jumps around, leaves one yearning for more depth at times, and somehow the book falls slightly short of a coherent whole. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it because I certainly did - Ronson has a great ability for teasing out the barmy views of people who have, or have had, worryingly, a great deal of power and influence.

    "Maybe, I thought, as my mind drifted, and I glanced out of his window to the lawn outside his office in the vain hope of spotting injured goats, he was performing some kind of PsyOp on me."

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Banchory, United Kingdom
    9/25/17
    Overall
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    "Sorry - I could not finish this"

    I was immediately put off by Ron's weedy voice, which I felt was completely unsuitable for audiobooks. I listened for about an hours and a half and eventually gave up. The dumbed down tabloid style was unbearable to take any more. Great pity as i would have liked to have found out about the subject matter.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • jason oleary
    9/15/17
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    "A weird and wonderful as you could want"

    A far too short look into the ridiculous and dark side of future war, or at least some people's idea of future war.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mike Nield
    4/1/17
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    "Thank you Jon Ronson"

    A step into the bizarre world of the psychic spy with an excellent performance by the author- thank you Mr Ronson for taking not only the time to write the book but to read it to is as well. Without this I feel the book would have lost much of its charm

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Conrad
    3/24/17
    Overall
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    "brilliant"

    Great book love jons narration. Both humourous and troubling. Jon seems to have a really effective journalistic style.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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