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The Manchurian Candidate Paperback – October 2, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 443 customer reviews

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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.

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"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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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: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (443 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: DVD
This is a great DVD with many excellent bonus features, including the Director's commentary that adds so much to the understanding of how the film was made. The film was shot primarily with wide angle lenses which heightens the effect of some very frightening screens. For example is there anything more incredible than the scene where the captured, brainwashed prisoners believe they are attending a ladies' garden party, while actually on stage as human guinea pigs in a meeting of communist cadres. Just an amazing juxtaposition of images! The storyline is well developed and never loses the taut feeling of suspense from start to finish. Laurence Harvey, Frank Sinatra, and Angela Lansbury are particularly fine in their roles. If there is only one criticism, it is that Harvey lapses at times into his original British accent, which is disconcerting. But given the power of his performance in this role, this is a minor detail that can easily be overlooked. The film is shot in black and white, which is far better suited to its cold war images. Just puzzled why MGM issued the cover for this DVD in color? Anyway, highly recommend this DVD!
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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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Format: DVD
So powerful a cinematic portrait of a potential political assassination is this superb film improbably featuring Frank Sinatra in his finest movie role that it was banned from further release following JFK's murder in Dallas after its original early 1960s big-screen release for several decades. Directed by the near-legendary John Frankenheimer, this riveting screenplay based on the novel written by Richard Condon (Winter Kills) focuses on the way in which propaganda and the manufacture of political views can influence one's perception and behavior in the most provocative of ways. Sinatra's portrait of an officer, Bennet Marco, a man obsessed by his experience as a prisoner of war during the Korean conflict, is truly a maginificent interpretation of a man teetering on the edge of madness, driven by both his nightmares and his conscience to attempt to unravel the mystery by working through the very effective brainwashing accomplished by the North Koreans over a platoon of men Sinatra's character commanded.
Sinatra is more than ably supported by an all-star cast, including Lawrence Harvey as the title character, former Sergeant Raymond Shaw, scion from a wealthy American family who is now a North Korean sleeper, someone brainwashed into becoming a virtual ticking time bomb, set to go off when the sequence of precipitating code words are uttered to him. His suffocating cow of a mother is played extremely well by Angela Lansbury, whose husband (played by James Gregory) is an easily manipulated but McCarthy-like Senator looking to find a way to engineer his progression to the Oval Office.
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