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The Men Who Stare at Goats

The Men Who Stare at Goats Cover

The Men Who Stare at Goats

By Jon Ronson

Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9780743270601, 259pp.

Publication Date: April 10, 2006

From the bestselling author of Them: Adventures with Extremists, the "hilarious and unsettling" (The Boston Globe) true story about what happened when a small group of men--highly placed within the US military, government, and intelligence services--began believing in very strange things.

In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the U.S. Army. Defying all known accepted military practice--and indeed, the laws of physics--they believed that a soldier could adopt a cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls, and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them.

Entrusted with defending America from all known adversaries, they were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren't joking. What's more, they're back and fighting the War on Terror.

With firsthand access to the leading players in the story, Ronson traces the evolution of these bizarre activities over the past three decades and shows how they are alive today within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and in postwar Iraq. Why are they blasting Iraqi prisoners of war with the theme tune to Barney the Purple Dinosaur? Why have 100 debleated goats been secretly placed inside the Special Forces Command Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina? How was the U.S. military associated with the mysterious mass suicide of a strange cult from San Diego? The Men Who Stare at Goats answers these and many more questions.

Praise For The Men Who Stare at Goats

"A hilarious and unsettling book.... Ronson comes off as an unusual cross between Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh."

-- The Boston Globe

"Ronson sets his book up beautifully. It moves with wry precise agility from crackpot to crackpot in its search for the essence of this early New Age creativity.... "

-- Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Sunday, Nov 8, 2009

The new George Clooney movie, The Men Who Stare at Goats, is filled with tough-to-believe notions. Here's one — the U.S. Army teaching one of its squads how to walk through walls. Or how about stopping the hearts of goats just by staring at them? Sounds crazy, but author Jon Ronson tells host Guy Raz that the Army really tried those techniques and others in the late '70s and early '80s. Ronson wrote the book that became the basis for the movie. More at

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