the men who stare at goats – jon ronson


I’m actually finding this book quite hard to review as it confused me.

This was more of a research project, following the story of a secret US military department through the years who concentrated on psychological experimentation including the infamous story of one man (Guy Savelli) who allegedly managed to kill a de-bleated goat just by willing it to be.

Really, it’s an account of what happened because one man, traumatised by his experience in Vietnam, tried to find ways to make war less violent, culminating in him composing The First Earth Battalion Manual, which proposed (amongst other things) for ‘warriors’ to confront foes bearing gifts like baby animals and having ‘sparkly eyes’.
Considering this is supposedly all true – it’s hilariously and disturbingly scary!
Because of the nature of the ‘story’ which was really just a written account of investigative journalism, although a fascinating subject, the book didn’t pick me up and carry me along with it. i wasn’t gripped – the running was a little too bitty and jumped around too much.

However, I am really pleased that I read it, and it has made me want to see the film, as I would like to see if scriptwriters can tell the story more cleanly.


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