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A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA's Secret Cold War Experiments Hardcover – July 1, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The Olson case burst upon the public's consciousness in the mid-1970s, along with other revelations at the time concerning CIA and military domestic spying and medical experimentation upon unwitting victims, thanks in part to a landmark expose by then-New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh. Pursued by Olson's family, attorneys, government commissions, newspaper reporters, and even some CIA agents, the truth behind Olson's death after a hundred-foot fall from a Manhattan hotel window on November 28, 1953, has been obscured over the years by a combination of myth, government misdirection, amateurish or hack "research," and, crucially, a lack of access to essential documentation. Now, after almost a decade of research, writer and researcher Albarelli has produced his magnum opus on Olson's death, and it has been well worth the wait.
"A Terrible Mistake" is part history book, part biography, part memoir, and part mystery tale. In order to understand the story of Frank Olson's life and death, and the cover-up surrounding that death, Mr.Read more ›
It seems ironic, or maybe a classic example of poetic justice, that Frank Olson died partially due to abhorrent government experiments. But the revelation by Albarelli of the experiments overseas that directly provoked Olson's murder, and in particular in Pont St. Espirit, France, should spark international outrage.
A Terrible Mistake is the writing of a master investigator and should be read by each American. Albarelli's book helps us grasp fully, and realize our questions about our government are legitimate, with respect to why terrible mistakes have been and continue to be made in the name of freedom and democracy.
America learned about the abuse of power that the Intelligence agencies had previously enjoyed when the Church Committee, or as it is formally known as the United States Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities published its reports. To this day, intelligence agencies are held to a strict code forbidding collection and retention of information on American citizens by oversight reviews as a result of these investigations and the ensuing public outcry. The Rockefeller Commission was a Presidential Commission on CIA activities in the Untied States and more specifically the CIA mind control program MKULTRA, also held in the mid 1970's. It's because of these commission reports that the Olson family and eventually the public learned of a mysterious death as a result of LSD dosing by the CIA. Imagine the CIA was giving themselves and their friends LSD as they looked for ways to fight the communists and the cold war with the very same thing they took for fun.Read more ›
Albarelli's work is impeccable -- every source is documented completely and indexed very well, and his writing is engaging and compelling. Although the subject matter is very dark, the author's sharp wit and always-appropriate humor help to counterbalance the shock and horror the book exposes, making it a joy to read.
As a reader who was already somewhat familiar with the Olson case, I was absolutely glued to the text, and found it difficult to put it down before finishing every last note and reading through all the appendices.
Albarelli manages to take a convoluted case, with many names and much information, and make it easy to follow; this is no small feat! He spent nearly a decade researching and writing this book, and that is evident in the level of precision and care with which the material is presented.
Words don't suffice to express how deeply impressed I am by this work -- it is truly astounding.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I struggled through hundreds of pages of this without ever finding out who killed him. I am satisfied he was murdered, though.Published 8 months ago by Fishman
Excellent book. Really gives an historical look at the beginnings of the CIA, and some of the questionable experiments that lead to the death of Frank Olson. Read morePublished 10 months ago by jacque s benson
GBOOK TOO WORDY.......EVEN AT THE END THE AUTHOR DIDN'T GET TO THE POINT..A WASTE OF TIME READING..Published 15 months ago by duncan
Albarelli is an outstanding writer. "A Terrible Mistake" is extremely well researched with detailed notes and source material. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Gradient
From the 1940's to the present...including Ebola and Marburg...the use of drugs and biologicals to promote the advance of totalitarianism and the selective murder of entire... Read morePublished 18 months ago by james o robbins
Most highly recommend. This is one of the more disturbing & and quite frankly, exhausting reads I've come across. Read morePublished 18 months ago by James McDonald
Just what I was looking for (and wasn't at the same time). The story of Frank Olson and our nation's (and other nations) secrets is a wake up call for real human beings.Published 19 months ago by Alan B. Covey
This is an encyclopedic look at the early research by the CIA into LSD and what that research led to. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Brian Morgan