Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks
In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the U.S. Army. Defying all known accepted military practice -- and indeed, the laws of physics -- they believed that a soldier could adopt a 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.

With firsthand access to the leading players in the story, Ronson traces the evolution of these bizarre activities over the past three decades and shows how they are alive today within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and in postwar Iraq. Why are they blasting Iraqi prisoners of war with the theme tune to Barney the Purple Dinosaur? Why have 100 debleated goats been secretly placed inside the Special Forces Command Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina? How was the U.S. 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.

Ronson's Them: Adventures with Extremists, a highly acclaimed international bestseller, examined the paranoia at the fringes of hate-filled extremist movements around the globe. The Men Who Stare at Goats reveals extraordinary and very nutty military secrets at the core of George W. Bush's War on Terror.

Topics: Military, American Government, The CIA, Iraq War, Terrorism, Supernatural Powers, Black Humor, Informative, Investigative Journalism, United States of America, Iraq, Creative Nonfiction, Essays, and Made into a Movie

Published: Simon & Schuster on
ISBN: 9781451665970
List price: $11.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for The Men Who Stare at Goats
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Wryly funny. I'm never quite sure if the author is being satirical or serious but I was entertained nonetheless with the outrageous stories.more
Entertaining, interesting and - by the end........frighteningmore
This is an odd duck of a book, one worth reading but one that made me a little queasy at times because of the way Ronson gives a wry twist to things like the Abu Graib photos, Hale-Bopp suicides, and "non-lethal" weapons like Tasers. Ronson undercuts his evidence-based case for the odd things the military and intelligence establishments are willing to try, from intelligence collection by psychics to dangerously stupid-sounding martial arts methods.more
this book starts out in the lightly comic self-referential fashion of a mockumentary - so much so, that i rather believed i was reading a work of fiction for about the first 1/3. the author has himself written so heavily into the opening bits of this story ("i called this person", "i went to visit that one") that i just found myself waiting for the ashton kutcher figure to jump out of a closet announcing we were all punk'd, that this was just a little joke.

our intrepid journalist friend goes off in search for the truth about some entertainingly kooky goings-on at various military bases in the US. turns out that after the trauma of Vietnam, some guys decided there had to be a better way to wage war, and one of them wrote a how-to manual for it. through convoluted applications of the theoretical "warrior-monk" practices, we end up with a soldier who believes he can stop a goat's heart (or a hamster's) just by staring at the creature; a general who routinely attempts to walk through walls ("the atoms are mostly made of just space, after all"); a high-ranking officer who claims on public access tv to be "the real obi-wan kenobi."

it's all fun and games until we get the hint that it's supposed to be funny, that the public fails to notice the actual horror of psychological warfare if we're all busy tee-hee-ing about how they used the barney "i love you, you love me" song to torture prisoners.

a quick-paced, entertaining and unsettling read, even if you're not a die-hard conspiracy junkie.more
Let me first say that this audiobook has the best narrator ever. His voice is perfectly suited to the serious yet ridiculous nature of the text. But of course, I loved The Men Who Stare at Goats for more than its narrator - the content of the book is a fascinating, bizarre, and disturbing exploration of the American military that, much like Ronson’s The Psychopath Test, will have you cracking up one minute and pondering important issues the next. Overall, this is an intensely interesting, hilarious, and thought provoking book, and I highly recommend it.more
This one is a strange book. It starts rather funny - I mean is there something more weird than director of ultra secret military agency trying to run through a wall or taking bended metal fork in the meeting and saying to his commander "Do you want me to demonstrate how I did this?"? And then that same commander saying "That wold be inappropriate!" not because he means that it is truly inappropriate to bend forks during supper in expensive restaurant but because he takes his inspiration from the holy book and paragraph sounding more like Warhammer 40K quote - Suffer not the witch breathing the same air as you?!?

You have to agree that behavior of such high level officials is also rather disturbing especially in our time and age.

And then book takes the turn to a very dark place .... very, very dark place indeed. And gets exponentially more disturbing.

Only thing that this book is missing is more structure - it seems unfinished. It was like author was chasing down the story but just could not believe what was unfolding in front of him so he left the story open-ended while scratching his head all the time.

Do paranormal spies exist? Why would not they - although I think individuals with true gifts are very rare. To dismiss that as something impossible is as stupid as claiming that all of us can reach mental heights.
Is it possible that science is used for torture? Of course it is and it is something to be expected.

Interesting book, scary subject but without the proper closure.
Although book seems to be one of those thousand conspiracy books around give it a try - unfortunately it seems it is more than just "conspiracy gibberish".more
Sometimes it is best that we don't know what the government does with our tax dollars. Not because it is so ridiculousness, but that and they find something that might have a hint of actually working.more
The tale that Jon Ronson tells could be the script of a bad Science Fiction movie, yet is the real life story of the US Army's attempt at using New Age philosophies and ideas.From torture by dinosaur, to military missions executed on the back of remote viewing, through to the tragedy of LSD experimentation, the author tells an interesting and at the same time entertaining tale.Through the humour, Ronson manages to convey what damage can be done when esoteric ideas become mainstream. It is all the more disturbing, therefore, to think that some of the key decision makers in the US military allowed themselves to be influenced by ideas and individuals that were so irrational.Well worth the read.more
An interesting book. Got through it quite quickly. Left me feeling that I wanted a bit more from the text than what I got. Some interesting and disturbing ideas put forward about the use of psychic warfare and interrogation. May well look into the authors other books in the future.more
Excellent book - goes into much more detail than the film does. At times it makes you think 'this can't possibly be real'.more
A journalist's systematic yet picaresque journey through the war on terror and its tactics' purported roots in LSD, the human potential movement, and new age ideas. Detours through the Art Bell show, the Heaven's Gate suicides, CIA LSD experiments, and the odder bywaters of martial arts.If you're looking for an entertaining book where every chapter makes you ask "is this for real?" or if you ever wondered why the Barney the Purple Dinosaur song was played to detainees then this is the book for you. Shakes one's confidence in the idea that the military's treatment of POW's is based on the rational analysis of past successes or on experimental psychology. A fascinating look at how an idea harmless in a flaky friend could be dangerously misinterpreted, re-appropriated, and distorted when held by decision-makers and policy setters. This book is far less silly than the (loosely based) movie or back cover makes it sound: worth reading.more
 An entertaining and baffling read about a secret division within the US army busying itself with combat using ESP means. The men from that division stare at goats and they die. How? They just concentrate on the task, will them to die, and they do. Or perhaps, not exactly. Perhaps there are some karate moves involved that don't work right away, but have a delayed response, and once hit, the goats will collapse a day or two later. That's pretty impressive anyway, and not everyone can do it, either. Just a few. But this is who the division is for- a chosen few, and this is what it is for- to explore unconventional combat techniques, psychological warfare and exotic techniques that involve anything from positive thinking and meditation to employing psychics as war means. Or, pummeling suspects with loud music and sending secret messages through it, which translated into playing Barney tunes to terror suspects in Iraq to implant subliminal sounds to arouse fear in them. And, the like. Very interesting, especially that I would have never thought that it could possibly exist in that shape and form within the US army, but it does.more
Well-written and interesting account of some of our government's more unusual (and often sinister) forays into psychological warfare and parapsychology. From a peace-loving advocate of facing enemies while playing calming music and holding baby animals, to over-the-top tales of psychological torture and experimental drugs, there's a lot to hold the reader's interest. (I have not seen the movie that is based on this book and cannot imagine how they could have made it into a story for film; it is a great piece of reporting but is not a neat linear story with heroic characters.)more
This was a page turner, though I do think it should be read with a giant grain of salt, primarily because the book is almost entirely based on interviews with crazy people with little or no substantiating content or critical evaluation. Certainly a lot of this stuff probably happened, but none of the interviewees had anything even approaching an objective viewpoint.more
This was a page turner, though I do think it should be read with a giant grain of salt, primarily because the book is almost entirely based on interviews with crazy people with little or no substantiating content or critical evaluation. Certainly a lot of this stuff probably happened, but none of the interviewees had anything even approaching an objective viewpoint.more
This was a page turner, though I do think it should be read with a giant grain of salt, primarily because the book is almost entirely based on interviews with crazy people with little or no substantiating content or critical evaluation. Certainly a lot of this stuff probably happened, but none of the interviewees had anything even approaching an objective viewpoint.more
I really enjoyed this. It begins by exposing the sensational and seemingly benevolent "outside the box" thinking of the military and intelligence communities. By the end, the reader is left with the notion that powerful ideas, even those with beneficent intentions behind them, can be used in dark and inhumane ways.more
I really enjoyed this. It begins by exposing the sensational and seemingly benevolent "outside the box" thinking of the military and intelligence communities. By the end, the reader is left with the notion that powerful ideas, even those with beneficent intentions behind them, can be used in dark and inhumane ways.more
I really enjoyed this. It begins by exposing the sensational and seemingly benevolent "outside the box" thinking of the military and intelligence communities. By the end, the reader is left with the notion that powerful ideas, even those with beneficent intentions behind them, can be used in dark and inhumane ways.more
Ronson's attempt to uncover the U.S. military's experiments with the paranormal is often truly bizarre. It begins rather amusingly, but turns quite frightening, particularly when it becomes apparent how the present military has adapted certain ideas for use in torture. Rating: 4/5 - disturbing, but worthwhile reading.more
Ronson's attempt to uncover the U.S. military's experiments with the paranormal is often truly bizarre. It begins rather amusingly, but turns quite frightening, particularly when it becomes apparent how the present military has adapted certain ideas for use in torture. Rating: 4/5 - disturbing, but worthwhile reading.more
Ronson's attempt to uncover the U.S. military's experiments with the paranormal is often truly bizarre. It begins rather amusingly, but turns quite frightening, particularly when it becomes apparent how the present military has adapted certain ideas for use in torture. Rating: 4/5 - disturbing, but worthwhile reading.more
This is a very strange book. It seems to have been written by a guy who does not want to trust the military. This is a book filled with anecdotes about the United States military attempting to use mind control, psychic assassination, remote viewing, and other ideas from science fiction in order to help them win wars. From the very beginning this book discredited itself for me because it opens with an interview with Uri Geller.more
This is a very strange book. It seems to have been written by a guy who does not want to trust the military. This is a book filled with anecdotes about the United States military attempting to use mind control, psychic assassination, remote viewing, and other ideas from science fiction in order to help them win wars. From the very beginning this book discredited itself for me because it opens with an interview with Uri Geller.more
This is a very strange book. It seems to have been written by a guy who does not want to trust the military. This is a book filled with anecdotes about the United States military attempting to use mind control, psychic assassination, remote viewing, and other ideas from science fiction in order to help them win wars. From the very beginning this book discredited itself for me because it opens with an interview with Uri Geller.more
In 1979 a secret unit is set up in the US Army to research the possibility of using psychic abilities. Ronson follows the clues across American following many of the people involved and being told a lot of stories, some of which were quite far-fetched. Amusing in a kind of scattered way, there is no attempt to understand the information but to document his travels through the strange world of psychic research and spies.more
In 1979 a secret unit is set up in the US Army to research the possibility of using psychic abilities. Ronson follows the clues across American following many of the people involved and being told a lot of stories, some of which were quite far-fetched. Amusing in a kind of scattered way, there is no attempt to understand the information but to document his travels through the strange world of psychic research and spies.more
Read all 46 reviews

Reviews

Wryly funny. I'm never quite sure if the author is being satirical or serious but I was entertained nonetheless with the outrageous stories.more
Entertaining, interesting and - by the end........frighteningmore
This is an odd duck of a book, one worth reading but one that made me a little queasy at times because of the way Ronson gives a wry twist to things like the Abu Graib photos, Hale-Bopp suicides, and "non-lethal" weapons like Tasers. Ronson undercuts his evidence-based case for the odd things the military and intelligence establishments are willing to try, from intelligence collection by psychics to dangerously stupid-sounding martial arts methods.more
this book starts out in the lightly comic self-referential fashion of a mockumentary - so much so, that i rather believed i was reading a work of fiction for about the first 1/3. the author has himself written so heavily into the opening bits of this story ("i called this person", "i went to visit that one") that i just found myself waiting for the ashton kutcher figure to jump out of a closet announcing we were all punk'd, that this was just a little joke.

our intrepid journalist friend goes off in search for the truth about some entertainingly kooky goings-on at various military bases in the US. turns out that after the trauma of Vietnam, some guys decided there had to be a better way to wage war, and one of them wrote a how-to manual for it. through convoluted applications of the theoretical "warrior-monk" practices, we end up with a soldier who believes he can stop a goat's heart (or a hamster's) just by staring at the creature; a general who routinely attempts to walk through walls ("the atoms are mostly made of just space, after all"); a high-ranking officer who claims on public access tv to be "the real obi-wan kenobi."

it's all fun and games until we get the hint that it's supposed to be funny, that the public fails to notice the actual horror of psychological warfare if we're all busy tee-hee-ing about how they used the barney "i love you, you love me" song to torture prisoners.

a quick-paced, entertaining and unsettling read, even if you're not a die-hard conspiracy junkie.more
Let me first say that this audiobook has the best narrator ever. His voice is perfectly suited to the serious yet ridiculous nature of the text. But of course, I loved The Men Who Stare at Goats for more than its narrator - the content of the book is a fascinating, bizarre, and disturbing exploration of the American military that, much like Ronson’s The Psychopath Test, will have you cracking up one minute and pondering important issues the next. Overall, this is an intensely interesting, hilarious, and thought provoking book, and I highly recommend it.more
This one is a strange book. It starts rather funny - I mean is there something more weird than director of ultra secret military agency trying to run through a wall or taking bended metal fork in the meeting and saying to his commander "Do you want me to demonstrate how I did this?"? And then that same commander saying "That wold be inappropriate!" not because he means that it is truly inappropriate to bend forks during supper in expensive restaurant but because he takes his inspiration from the holy book and paragraph sounding more like Warhammer 40K quote - Suffer not the witch breathing the same air as you?!?

You have to agree that behavior of such high level officials is also rather disturbing especially in our time and age.

And then book takes the turn to a very dark place .... very, very dark place indeed. And gets exponentially more disturbing.

Only thing that this book is missing is more structure - it seems unfinished. It was like author was chasing down the story but just could not believe what was unfolding in front of him so he left the story open-ended while scratching his head all the time.

Do paranormal spies exist? Why would not they - although I think individuals with true gifts are very rare. To dismiss that as something impossible is as stupid as claiming that all of us can reach mental heights.
Is it possible that science is used for torture? Of course it is and it is something to be expected.

Interesting book, scary subject but without the proper closure.
Although book seems to be one of those thousand conspiracy books around give it a try - unfortunately it seems it is more than just "conspiracy gibberish".more
Sometimes it is best that we don't know what the government does with our tax dollars. Not because it is so ridiculousness, but that and they find something that might have a hint of actually working.more
The tale that Jon Ronson tells could be the script of a bad Science Fiction movie, yet is the real life story of the US Army's attempt at using New Age philosophies and ideas.From torture by dinosaur, to military missions executed on the back of remote viewing, through to the tragedy of LSD experimentation, the author tells an interesting and at the same time entertaining tale.Through the humour, Ronson manages to convey what damage can be done when esoteric ideas become mainstream. It is all the more disturbing, therefore, to think that some of the key decision makers in the US military allowed themselves to be influenced by ideas and individuals that were so irrational.Well worth the read.more
An interesting book. Got through it quite quickly. Left me feeling that I wanted a bit more from the text than what I got. Some interesting and disturbing ideas put forward about the use of psychic warfare and interrogation. May well look into the authors other books in the future.more
Excellent book - goes into much more detail than the film does. At times it makes you think 'this can't possibly be real'.more
A journalist's systematic yet picaresque journey through the war on terror and its tactics' purported roots in LSD, the human potential movement, and new age ideas. Detours through the Art Bell show, the Heaven's Gate suicides, CIA LSD experiments, and the odder bywaters of martial arts.If you're looking for an entertaining book where every chapter makes you ask "is this for real?" or if you ever wondered why the Barney the Purple Dinosaur song was played to detainees then this is the book for you. Shakes one's confidence in the idea that the military's treatment of POW's is based on the rational analysis of past successes or on experimental psychology. A fascinating look at how an idea harmless in a flaky friend could be dangerously misinterpreted, re-appropriated, and distorted when held by decision-makers and policy setters. This book is far less silly than the (loosely based) movie or back cover makes it sound: worth reading.more
 An entertaining and baffling read about a secret division within the US army busying itself with combat using ESP means. The men from that division stare at goats and they die. How? They just concentrate on the task, will them to die, and they do. Or perhaps, not exactly. Perhaps there are some karate moves involved that don't work right away, but have a delayed response, and once hit, the goats will collapse a day or two later. That's pretty impressive anyway, and not everyone can do it, either. Just a few. But this is who the division is for- a chosen few, and this is what it is for- to explore unconventional combat techniques, psychological warfare and exotic techniques that involve anything from positive thinking and meditation to employing psychics as war means. Or, pummeling suspects with loud music and sending secret messages through it, which translated into playing Barney tunes to terror suspects in Iraq to implant subliminal sounds to arouse fear in them. And, the like. Very interesting, especially that I would have never thought that it could possibly exist in that shape and form within the US army, but it does.more
Well-written and interesting account of some of our government's more unusual (and often sinister) forays into psychological warfare and parapsychology. From a peace-loving advocate of facing enemies while playing calming music and holding baby animals, to over-the-top tales of psychological torture and experimental drugs, there's a lot to hold the reader's interest. (I have not seen the movie that is based on this book and cannot imagine how they could have made it into a story for film; it is a great piece of reporting but is not a neat linear story with heroic characters.)more
This was a page turner, though I do think it should be read with a giant grain of salt, primarily because the book is almost entirely based on interviews with crazy people with little or no substantiating content or critical evaluation. Certainly a lot of this stuff probably happened, but none of the interviewees had anything even approaching an objective viewpoint.more
This was a page turner, though I do think it should be read with a giant grain of salt, primarily because the book is almost entirely based on interviews with crazy people with little or no substantiating content or critical evaluation. Certainly a lot of this stuff probably happened, but none of the interviewees had anything even approaching an objective viewpoint.more
This was a page turner, though I do think it should be read with a giant grain of salt, primarily because the book is almost entirely based on interviews with crazy people with little or no substantiating content or critical evaluation. Certainly a lot of this stuff probably happened, but none of the interviewees had anything even approaching an objective viewpoint.more
I really enjoyed this. It begins by exposing the sensational and seemingly benevolent "outside the box" thinking of the military and intelligence communities. By the end, the reader is left with the notion that powerful ideas, even those with beneficent intentions behind them, can be used in dark and inhumane ways.more
I really enjoyed this. It begins by exposing the sensational and seemingly benevolent "outside the box" thinking of the military and intelligence communities. By the end, the reader is left with the notion that powerful ideas, even those with beneficent intentions behind them, can be used in dark and inhumane ways.more
I really enjoyed this. It begins by exposing the sensational and seemingly benevolent "outside the box" thinking of the military and intelligence communities. By the end, the reader is left with the notion that powerful ideas, even those with beneficent intentions behind them, can be used in dark and inhumane ways.more
Ronson's attempt to uncover the U.S. military's experiments with the paranormal is often truly bizarre. It begins rather amusingly, but turns quite frightening, particularly when it becomes apparent how the present military has adapted certain ideas for use in torture. Rating: 4/5 - disturbing, but worthwhile reading.more
Ronson's attempt to uncover the U.S. military's experiments with the paranormal is often truly bizarre. It begins rather amusingly, but turns quite frightening, particularly when it becomes apparent how the present military has adapted certain ideas for use in torture. Rating: 4/5 - disturbing, but worthwhile reading.more
Ronson's attempt to uncover the U.S. military's experiments with the paranormal is often truly bizarre. It begins rather amusingly, but turns quite frightening, particularly when it becomes apparent how the present military has adapted certain ideas for use in torture. Rating: 4/5 - disturbing, but worthwhile reading.more
This is a very strange book. It seems to have been written by a guy who does not want to trust the military. This is a book filled with anecdotes about the United States military attempting to use mind control, psychic assassination, remote viewing, and other ideas from science fiction in order to help them win wars. From the very beginning this book discredited itself for me because it opens with an interview with Uri Geller.more
This is a very strange book. It seems to have been written by a guy who does not want to trust the military. This is a book filled with anecdotes about the United States military attempting to use mind control, psychic assassination, remote viewing, and other ideas from science fiction in order to help them win wars. From the very beginning this book discredited itself for me because it opens with an interview with Uri Geller.more
This is a very strange book. It seems to have been written by a guy who does not want to trust the military. This is a book filled with anecdotes about the United States military attempting to use mind control, psychic assassination, remote viewing, and other ideas from science fiction in order to help them win wars. From the very beginning this book discredited itself for me because it opens with an interview with Uri Geller.more
In 1979 a secret unit is set up in the US Army to research the possibility of using psychic abilities. Ronson follows the clues across American following many of the people involved and being told a lot of stories, some of which were quite far-fetched. Amusing in a kind of scattered way, there is no attempt to understand the information but to document his travels through the strange world of psychic research and spies.more
In 1979 a secret unit is set up in the US Army to research the possibility of using psychic abilities. Ronson follows the clues across American following many of the people involved and being told a lot of stories, some of which were quite far-fetched. Amusing in a kind of scattered way, there is no attempt to understand the information but to document his travels through the strange world of psychic research and spies.more
Load more
scribd