The Men Who Stare At Goats by Jon Ronson was another of Nick Hornby's suggestions from his excellent collection of columns on books he has bought and read, The Polysyllabic Spree. I saw it on sale at a book store not long ago and picked it up. It started out a little slow for me as it stated chronicling The First Earth battalion, which was created in order to get ideas form people thinking out of the box. This included outlandish experiments like trying to kill goats by staring at them to make their hearts stop, employing Uri Geller the spoon bender, and many other strange and unusual experiments like walking through walls and levitation. The book became more provocative when it showed how these ideas were being used in the war on terror and in Gitmo and Abu Graib by the army's PsyOps (Psychological Operations) battalion. He explains how this administration has filtered more money into these "experimental" programs than any preceding it. The detainees give them an opportunity to try out new methods of interrogation that would break enemy combatants. It included the sensational "soft" news story of playing the Barney song to detainees. Ronson has done a lot of research and talked to many different people and I found his history of other dark dealings like giving LSD to people in the 1950s to see if it made them more likely to to tell the truth and other government cover ups or ruses by other government agencies like the CIA's failed assassinations of enemy leaders. I guess sometimes it comes off as fantastic populist fables like those in The National Enquirer. And it seems as this seedy aspect of American culture and media is much loved and ridiculed by the British and Europeans (Ronson is a British journalist). However, an entertaining and sometimes fascinating book.