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The Manchurian Candidate Paperback – October 2, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Press; Reprint edition (October 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568582706
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568582702
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Richard Condon's 1959 Cold War thriller remains just as chilling today. It's the story of Sgt. Raymond Shaw, an ex-prisoner of war (and winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor) who, brainwashed with the rest of his unit by a Chinese psychological expert during his captivity in North Korea, has come home programmed to kill. His primary target is a U.S. presidential nominee. Made into a controversial 1962 movie with Laurence Harvey, Frank Sinatra, and Angela Lansbury. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A breathlessly up-to-date thriller."
-- The New York Times (New York Times ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Smith on December 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Had to read this book for a college class. ... This is an awesome book. It's a military psychological thriller in which some POW US soldiers are brainwashed and sent home; all programmed to do damage to the government when they get there. Given that the men are war heroes, it isn't hard for them to get a foot in the door where they can really wreak havoc. The plot twists around in ways too creepy to be believed, yet too familiar to be completely discounted...heh heh heh. It's definitely readable as a thriller, but does good double duty as a quasi sci-fi conspiracy novel, not to mention the informed and responsible portrayal of US military intelligence. I wanted to call it Kurt Vonnegut meets Tom Clancy, but that's not doing it justice. Maybe it's out-of-print because it couldn't find a niche. Or maybe THEY don't want you to read it.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Frank Gibbons on January 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Louis Menard points out his excellent introduction to The Manchurian Candidate that Richard Condon's novel is about control, conditioning, and manipulation. Raymond Shaw and his fellow G.I.s are captured in Korea, undergo "brainwashing", and are released believing that they, through the heroism of Sergeant Shaw, have been saved from a company of enemy infantry. The encounter never took place, of course, but that's the story that will win Raymond the Medal of Honor. However, Raymond has been conditioned to be the ulimate assassin. Meanwhile Major Marco, Raymond's commanding officer in Korea, has been having terrible nightmares in which he sees Raymond killing two members of their patrol in cold blood. He also sees himself and his patrol on a stage facing some high ranking Soviet and Chinese officals. The staggering nightmares cause Marco to start wondering if he, Raymond, and the others have been brainwashed. This leads him on a frantic investigation to discover the truth before something disastrous happens. Raymond can't recall any of what Marco has been dreaming about. He has been completely conditioned twice over -- once by the Pavlovian doctors and also by his mother, Mrs. Iselin, probably the most evil villainess in all of literature. She is the embodiment of Control and she savages anyone who gets in the way of her plans for domination. The Manchurian Candidate is very fine writing. Condon's style is eccentric but it is perfect for the bizarre, paranoid tale he is telling. His portrayal of Raymond as a damned soul is moving. Raymond, who is cursed with "crushing contemptuousness", is "impossible to like", but we can't help but be sympathetic to this young man who was never allowed to be himself, who was never allowed to feel. Mrs. Iselin is over-the-top, but who cares? She sends chills down your spine while providing some wicked humor. The Manchurian Candidate is a Freudian cocktail that will give you lots to chew on.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By lazza on March 21, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For a person who does not like your Cold War spy novels I must admit that The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon is one of those rare books I consider to be simply brilliant. It is concise, very well-written, and has a story which is absolutely incredible (well okay, by today's standards it might be considered a bit over-the-top).
In The Manchurian Candidate we have a US platoon in Korea (during the war) captured by Chinese/Russian scientists who brainwash them. One sargeant in particular is targetted to be their assassin on demand after the war. This fellow happens to have a power-hungry mother (..to be kind; she is truly vile) and her bozo husband who is modelled after the commie-hating Senator McCarthy. From here the story gets more complex and interwoven, with a truly shocking and brilliant ending.
Bottom line: upon finishing this book you'll say "boy, that was GOOD". Compulsory reading.
(compared with the film adaptation of The Manchurian Candidate, the novel is superior ... as is often the case. However the film does capture the essence of the book albeit in a somewhat diluted fashion.)
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sean Schneider on June 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
I first saw the equally good movie due to the AFI's 100 Greatest Movies rating. It looked like it might be interesting and I was amazed. The movie (made in 1961) directly assaulted McCarthyism and the red scare in a rather apocalyptic satire. This prompted me to seek out the book that the movie was based upon thinking that it could only be better, as books commonly are. Little did I know that the book could have been a companion to the movie and vice-versa. This was undoubtedly due to the fact that Richard Condon, the author, collaborated with the makers of the movie. The book provides insight that the movie couldn't possibly have put in including a heroine-addicted incest-loving rapist.
All around the political and social commentary in the story (I'm using story since I suggest that in order to get a good all around view of the author's vision one should both read the book and watch the movie, in either order.) carry the book beyond the author's masterful narrative. If you have any interest in suspense, intrigue, literature, or history this story is a winner.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Miller on January 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
Richard Condon's extraordinary novel about political upheavals, assassinations, and Communist meddling is probably one of the best politically based fiction books ever.

The story is about a man named Raymond and how, for political gain, he is mind washed into becoming a top political assassin.

That is mere formality, for this story is already well known. Now, this story is more known for the movie versions, original and re-make; however, as is often the case the book is even grander then the films.

I was enchanted by this story, as it still has at least some cultural relevance, (especially for those who lived during the assassinations of JFK and his brother RFK.)

In short, Condon directs us to look at more then just the crazy political system, but the whole wacky world. Thus, this is why the book is such a classic, and deserves and should be read by all.
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