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I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black Worldby Trevor Paglen
Synopses & Reviews
Updated with New Information and Additional Patches
They're on the shoulders of all military personnel: patches showing whata soldier's unit does. But what if that's top secret?
A glimpse of the Pentagon's] dark world through a revealinglens--patches--the kind worn on military uniforms. . . The book offers not only clues into the nature of the secret programs, but also a glimpse of zealous male bonding among the presumed elite of themilitary-industrial complex. The patches often feel like fraternity pranks gone ballistic.
--William Broad, The New York Times
I COULD TELL YOU. . . is a bestselling collection of more than seventy military patches representing secret government projects. Hereauthor/photographer/investigator Trevor Paglen explores classified weapons projects and intelligence operations by scrutinizing their own imagery and jargon, disclosing new facts about important military units, whichare here known by peculiar names (Goat Suckers, Grim Reapers, Tastes Like Chicken) and illustrated with occult symbols and ridiculous cartoons. Theprecisely photographed patches--worn by military personnel working on classified missions, such as those at the legendary Area 51--reveal much about a strange and eerie world about which little waspreviously known.
A fresh approach to secret government.
--Steven Aftergood, The Federation ofAmerican Scientists
An impressive collection.
--Justin Rood, ABC News
A fascinating set of shoulder patches.
--Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report
Iwas fascinated... Paglen] has assembled about 40 colorful patch insignia from secret, military 'black' programs that are hardly ever discussed in public. He has plenty of regalia from the realdenizens of Area 51.
--Alex Beam, The Boston Globe
They’re on the shoulder of all military personnel: patches that symbolize what their unit does. But what if that’s top secret?
“A fresh approach to secret government. It shows that these secret programs have their own culture, vocabulary and even sense of humor.”
—Steven Aftergood, The Federation of American Scientists
In a work that combines ingenious journalism and bizarrely encoded art, author/photographer/investigator Trevor Paglen uncovers sixty never-before-seen-in-public military patches that reveal a bizarre secret world of the American military. Paglen investigates classified weapons projects and intelligence operations by examining their own imagery and jargon, disclosing new facts about important classified military units—here known by peculiar names (“Goat Suckers,” “None of Your Fucking Business,” “Tastes Like Chicken”) and illustrated with occult symbols and ridiculous cartoons. The precisely photographed patches—worn by military personnel working on classified missions, such as those at the legendary Area 51—reveal much about a strange and eerie world about which little was previously known.
The author has also assembled an extensive and readable guide, based on extensive interviews with military sources and government records, to the patches included here, making this volume perhaps the best available survey of the military's black world—a $27 billion industry that has quietly grown by almost 50 percent since 9/11.
About the Author
TREVOR PAGLEN is a geographer by training, and an expert on clandestine military installations. He leads expeditions to the secret bases of the American West and is the author, with A.C. Thompson, of Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA’s Rendition Flights, which the New York Times praised as “the real thing . . . and not on the evening news.”
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History and Social Science » Military » General History