by Jon Ronson
Published by Simon & Schuster
on April 2006
From the bestselling author of The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry and So You've Been Publicly Shamed.
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.
“Most goat-related military activity is still highly classified.”
I figure I’ve talked about this one enough that I owe you guys a review.
This book is bonkers. Really. How many books do you know that can say:
Remember that the crazy people are not always to be found on the outside. Sometimes the crazy people are deeply embedded on the inside. Not even the most imaginative conspiracy theorist has ever thought to invent a scenario in which a crack team of Special Forces soldiers and major generals secretly try to walk through their walls and stare goats to death.
Yes. They seriously stared at goats. To “death.”
Did they succeed? I really don’t know. But isn’t it weird to think the government even tried? Tried that, and so much more. According to this book, they have dabbled pretty heavily in psychics, remote viewing, and more. And I feel so weird saying that.
How to describe this book. It’s rather like huge conspiracy theories wrapped up in…truth? Hyperbole? Wishful thinking? I was left wondering just what the United States Armed Forces have been up to in the Middle East and other areas of the world, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. And, since this book is over 10 years old, it also left me wondering what they’ve been up to in the years since. It informs somethings I’ve heard in the media and it scares me.
Irregardless of the subject matter, Ronson is an engaging and fun writer. My skeptical feelings are completely informed by him. I could tell while reading the book that, sometimes, he wasn’t sure what to think either and rather than be annoying, it just added to the fun of the book to me. I can’t wait to read more books by him.