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The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate": The CIA and Mind Control: The Secret History of the Behavioral Sciences Paperback – August 17, 1991
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“One of the most important books of the year. . . . We see the CIA on the cutting edge of inquiry into hypnosis, drugs, brainwashing, personality assessment, psychosurgery, electric and radio stimulations of the brain, the creation of involuntary amnesia, terminal shock therapy.”
“Perhaps the most compelling, well-researched, organized and well-written account of CIA operations ever.”
“A comprehensive, detailed and thoroughly readable account of the CIA safehouses, the brainwashing experiments, the involvement of the universities.”
- Washington Monthly
- Washington Post
From the Back Cover
A 'Manchurian Candidate' is an unwitting assassin brainwashed and programmed to kill. In this book, former State Department officer John Marks tells the explosive story of the CIA's highly secret program of experiments in mind control. His curiosity first aroused by information on a puzzling suicide. Marks worked from thousands of pages of newly released documents as well as interviews and behavioral science studies, producing a book that 'accomplished what two Senate committees could not' (Senator Edward Kennedy).
Top customer reviews
To be fair, I couldn't finish the book. It hit home so hard that I had to flee for my sanity.
I know of few books I have ever read that left me that way. But, if you really WANT to know, or need a good textbook for documentation, this is it.
What's interesting is not only what is included here, but what must also be out there still classified. This is only the information the CIA felt was mild enough to be disseminated for public consumption. That included giving LSD and other pharmaceuticals in various combinations to students, or, in most cases, to "throw-away" people like prostitutes, drug addicts and prisoners, where bad results could be easily hidden with fewer people asking questions.
Of course, almost all documentation has been destroyed, except some records that were found on MKULTRA. Is the CIA that inept or was these records "found" on purpose? If these were the only records, it would be useless for anyone to pursue the matter further, and the project could continue "black." As obsessed as the CIA was with mind control and hypnosis, it is hard to believe they would just cancel the programs.
Some good did come out of these CIA endeavors: Timothy Leary and Ken Keesey received their original LSD doses courtesy of the CIA grants to our institutions of higher learning. The rest is history.
I enjoyed the details set forth in the book seeing that the author had little to work with except for CIA financial records released because of the Freedom of Information Act, and interviews with people who worked for or were involved with the CIA. Anyone who has seen the Good Shepherd or the Bourne movies and then reads this book will realize that those movies may seem closer to reality than one first thought. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in how our government REALLY operates.
For those interested in this book, which I recommend, I would also like to recommend "Pyschiatry and the CIA" by Harvey M. Weinstein, M.D. Weinstein describes a specific account of CIA funded behavioral modification research that was unwittingly foisted upon his father via his father's psychological treatment by Dr. Ewen Cameron. I think this book would be a nice compliment to Marks' book.
Another book I might mention, although I'm sure many academics as well as other alumni would disagree with me, is "Michel Foucault: Ethics" Vol. 1 edited by Paul Rabinow. Pages 66-85 are especially relevant, which deal with the State's power over its population ("Bio-power").
Other books dealing with behavior modification, albeit with less emphasis on State complicity, are: "Age of Propaganda" by Anthony Pratkanis & Elliot Aronson, and "Battle for the Mind" by William Sargant.