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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No smoking gun for the creation of a domestic terrorist, but important issues and questions are raised, June 15, 2007
This review is from: Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist (Hardcover)
Author Alston Chase is a contemporary of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. Both attended Harvard in the late 1950's, both worked as university professors and, coincidentally, both retired to seclusion in Montana. Chase originally set out to write a book about the legacy of 1960's America. His research on Kaczynski revealed that contrary to the media's snap judgment, Kaczynski was not a product of his 1960's time at Berkley. The Unabomber manifesto is, in fact, rooted in 1950's Cold War ideology and the teachings of liberal arts colleges such as Harvard during that decade. Chase writes, "Once they had made up their minds about Kaczynski--whether deciding that he is insane, a profound philosopher, a misguided ideologist, or a representative of the sixties--many people lost interest in him. University scholars all too willing to devote seminars to such pop cultural doss as the Grateful Dead and Star Trek have virtually ignored the manifesto, producing just two articles on it since its appearance."

In the first half of the book, Chase provides a chronology of Kaczynski's crimes and his never-ending quest for a more powerful, more deadly bomb. Chase sheds lights on the futility of the FBI search and the numerous red herrings Kaczynski set our for law enforcement. The media, cut off from Kaczynski's cabin, were quick to label his messy and unkempt, when in reality he was meticulously organized. He kept a standard mountain tradition of not wasting water bathing while doing heavy winter work, and for that he was labeled a strange, unclean hermit. The media interviewed people Kaczynski didn't like, and they labeled him a misanthrope. When Chase interviewed Kaczynski's friends in the local Montana town, however, they remembered him as friendly and intelligent, if somewhat reserved. And the desolate cabin in the woods? It was within hearing distance of a highway, and Kaczynski had enough neighbors that he managed to keep up several boundary and land use disputes.

Chase's thesis is that Kaczynski was forever scarred by a series of intense psychological experiments he participated in as a Harvard undergraduate student. Researcher Henry A. Murray, a veteran of DoD psychology experimentation conducted highly unethical multi-year studies on a group of students. The subjects were deceived about the nature and length of the study, which aimed to discover their fundamental life philosophy and place them in highly stressful interrogations to observe their reactions to demeaning, belittling questioning. Chase provides a never-before-seen look at the experiments Harvard had tried to seal, but he never makes an ironclad case that this study was the linchpin for the creation of the Unabomber.

The book also exposes a dark side of the US military involvement in funding academic and psychological studies in the 1950's. During that time, the government wanted to fight the Cold War with propaganda and psychological manipulation. Murray's Harvard experiments descended from his military work on these subjects. By the mid-1940's a quarter of all US psychologists were serving the US military, and in the 1950's, the CIA was directly and indirectly (via dummy foundations) funding a significant portion of academic research in psychology.

Chase's book serves two important purposes--(1) revealing the true Ted Kaczynski, a brilliant and disturbed man who was judged quickly and incorrectly by the media and (2) revealing the military's significant influence on two decades of psychological research in the U.S. Chase doesn't have a smoking gun for the creation of a domestic terrorist, but he probes previously unexplored and unpublished areas in his search for answers about the genesis of Ted Kaczynski as the Unabomber.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 12, 2010 3:14:35 PM PST
Check out www.therealzodiackiller.com

Posted on Jan 16, 2011 11:43:53 AM PST
And is there a connection between Michael Henry O'Hare and Ted Kaczynski? Both are still listed as Zodiac suspects.They may have been at Harvard at the same time.Did Michael O'Hare use Ted K as a 'Doppleganger'?
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