Synopses & Reviews
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.
"A hilarious and unsettling book.... Ronson comes off as an unusual cross between Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and The New Yorker's
-- The Boston Globe
"Ronson sets his book up beautifully. It moves with wry precise agility from crackpot to crackpot in its search for the essence of this early New Age creativity.... "
-- Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Bizarre military history: In 1979, a crack commando unit was established by the most gifted minds within the U.S. Army. Defying all known laws of physics and accepted military practice, 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. They were the First Earth Battalion, entrusted with defending America from all known adversaries. And they really weren’t joking. What’s more, they’re back—and they’re fighting the War on Terror.
An uproarious exploration of American military paranoia: With investigations ranging from the mysterious “Goat Lab,” to Uri Geller’s covert psychic work with the CIA, to the increasingly bizarre role played by a succession of U.S. presidents, this might just be the funniest, most unsettling book you will ever read—if only because it is all true and is still happening today.
About the Author
Jon Ronson is a documentary filmmaker and the author of Them: Adventures with Extremists. He lives in London.
Table of Contents
1. The General
2. Goat Lab
3. The First Earth Battalion
4. Into the Heart of the Goat
5. Homeland Security
7. The Purple Dinosaur
8. The Predator
9. The Dark Side
10. A Think Tank
11. A Haunted Hotel
12. The Frequencies
13. Some Illustrations
14. The 1953 House
15. Harold's Club or Bust!
16. The Exit
Acknowledgments and Bibliography