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Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control by [Stephen Kinzer]

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Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of September 2019: Mention “mind control” and you’re bound to elicit visions of Rasputin, Svengali, or Mesmer, famous creeps said to hold almost preternatural powers of persuasion over less disciplined minds. But interest in deep, subliminal influence of others goes well beyond the salons and séances of would-be mystics. In the 1950s, Sidney Gottlieb was a mild-mannered government chemist who lived in a cabin in the woods of Virginia with his family, pursuing a rustic, spiritual existence without electricity or running water. But he also had a knack for bureaucracy that coexisted alongside patriotic zeal, which led him to the top of PROJECT MK-ULTRA, the CIA’s clandestine pursuit of drugs and techniques intended for mind-control and political assassination. He pioneered “black sites” in Europe and Asia, secret prisons where – with the help of the darkest minds that ran the camps of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan – he implemented his psyche-busting experiments, including torture and the administration of LSD. Almost unbelievably, MK-ULTRA was only part of his legacy, which includes the development of a 007-worthy poisoned cigar meant for Fidel Castro, and the expansion of his “truth serum” experiments to unwitting American agents (see also: Errol Morris’s documentary, Wormwood). It’s quite the C.V., one which earned him the sobriquets “Black Sorcerer,” “Dirty Trickster,” and now “Poisoner in Chief” –the forthright title of Stephen Kinzer’s mind-blowing biography. As the author of Overthrow and The Brothers, Kinzer is well versed in the investigation of shadowy domestic intelligence services, and Poisoner in Chief similarly draws from the well of posthumously declassified materials and original interviews to craft a meticulous mosaic of a complicated paradox of a man. Spy-lit is a burgeoning subgenre filled with many thrilling and eye-opening books, but Gottlieb’s story is a must-read for any espionage aficionado. —Jon Foro, Amazon Book Review

About the Author

Stephen Kinzer is the author of many books, including The True Flag, The Brothers, Overthrow, and All the Shah’s Men. An award-winning foreign correspondent, he served as the New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua, Germany, and Turkey. He is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, and writes a world affairs column for the Boston Globe. He lives in Boston. --This text refers to the paperback edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07MQSX85W
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Henry Holt and Co.; Illustrated edition (September 10, 2019)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ September 10, 2019
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 12483 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 371 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 667 ratings

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Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. His articles and books have led the Washington Post to place him “among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling.”

Kinzer spent more than 20 years working for the New York Times, most of it as a foreign correspondent. His foreign postings placed him at the center of historic events and, at times, in the line of fire. While covering world events, he has been shot at, jailed, beaten by police, tear-gassed and bombed from the air.

Today Kinzer is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. He writes a world affairs column for The Boston Globe.

Kinzer’s new book, The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and the Birth of American Empire, builds on his career watching the effects of American interventions around the world.

From 1983 to 1989, Kinzer was the Times bureau chief in Nicaragua. In that post he covered war and upheaval in Central America. He also wrote two books about the region. One of them, co-authored with Stephen Schlesinger, is Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala.” The other one, Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua, is a social and political portrait that The New Yorker called “impressive for the refinement of its writing and also the breadth of its subject matter.” In 1988 Columbia University awarded Kinzer its Maria Moors Cabot prize for outstanding coverage of Latin America.

From 1990 to 1996 Kinzer was posted in Germany. From his post as chief of the New York Times bureau in Berlin, he covered the emergence of post-Communist Europe, including wars in the former Yugoslavia.

In 1996 Kinzer was named chief of the newly opened New York Times bureau in Istanbul, Turkey. He spent four years there, traveling widely in Turkey and in the new nations of Central Asia and the Caucasus. After completing this assignment, Kinzer published Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds.

He has also worked in Africa, and written A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa called this book “a fascinating account of a near-miracle unfolding before our very eyes.”

Kinzer’s last book was The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War. The novelist John le Carré called it “a secret history, enriched and calmly retold; a shocking account of the misuse of American corporate, political and media power; a shaming reflection on the moral manners of post imperial Europe; and an essential allegory for our own times.”

Kinzer’s previous book was Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future “Stephen Kinzer is a journalist of a certain cheeky fearlessness and exquisite timing,” the Huffington Post said in its review. “This book is a bold exercise in reimagining the United States’ big links in the Middle East.”

In 2006 Kinzer published Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. It recounts the 14 times the United States has overthrown foreign governments. Kinzer seeks to explain why these interventions were carried out and what their long-term effects have been. He is also the author of All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror.” It tells how the CIA overthrew Iran’s nationalist government in 1953.

In 2009, Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, awarded Kinzer an honorary doctorate. The citation said that “those of us who have had the pleasure of hearing his lectures or talking to him informally will probably never see the world in the same way again.”

The University of Scranton awarded Kinzer an honorary doctorate in 2010. “Where there has been turmoil in the world and history has shifted, Stephen Kinzer has been there,” the citation said. “Neither bullets, bombs nor beating could dull his sharp determination to bring injustice and strife to light.”

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
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5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 19, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars Well I didn’t know that
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
Reviewed in Germany on June 8, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars El drogador del gobierno que cambió la juventud
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