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What would it take to turn you into a suicide bomber? How would you interrogate a member of Al Qaeda? With access to formerly classified documentation and interviews from the CIA, the U.S. Army, MI5, MI6, and the British Intelligence Corps, acclaimed journalist Dominic Streatfeild traces the history of the world's most secret psychological procedure. From the cold war to t What would it take to turn you into a suicide bomber? How would you interrogate a member of Al Qaeda? With access to formerly classified documentation and interviews from the CIA, the U.S. Army, MI5, MI6, and the British Intelligence Corps, acclaimed journalist Dominic Streatfeild traces the history of the world's most secret psychological procedure. From the cold war to the height of today's war on terror, groups as dissimilar as armies, religious cults, and advertising agencies have been accused of brainwashing. But what does this mean? Is it possible to erase memories or to implant them artificially? Do heavy-metal records contain subliminal messages? Do religious cults brainwash recruits? What were the CIA and MI6 doing with LSD in the 1950s? How far have the world's militaries really gone? From the author of the definitive history of cocaine, Brainwash is required reading in an era of cutting-edge and often controversial interrogation practices. More than just an examination of the techniques used by the CIA, the KGB, and the Taliban, it is also a gripping, full history of the heated efforts to master the elusive, secret techniques of mind control.


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What would it take to turn you into a suicide bomber? How would you interrogate a member of Al Qaeda? With access to formerly classified documentation and interviews from the CIA, the U.S. Army, MI5, MI6, and the British Intelligence Corps, acclaimed journalist Dominic Streatfeild traces the history of the world's most secret psychological procedure. From the cold war to t What would it take to turn you into a suicide bomber? How would you interrogate a member of Al Qaeda? With access to formerly classified documentation and interviews from the CIA, the U.S. Army, MI5, MI6, and the British Intelligence Corps, acclaimed journalist Dominic Streatfeild traces the history of the world's most secret psychological procedure. From the cold war to the height of today's war on terror, groups as dissimilar as armies, religious cults, and advertising agencies have been accused of brainwashing. But what does this mean? Is it possible to erase memories or to implant them artificially? Do heavy-metal records contain subliminal messages? Do religious cults brainwash recruits? What were the CIA and MI6 doing with LSD in the 1950s? How far have the world's militaries really gone? From the author of the definitive history of cocaine, Brainwash is required reading in an era of cutting-edge and often controversial interrogation practices. More than just an examination of the techniques used by the CIA, the KGB, and the Taliban, it is also a gripping, full history of the heated efforts to master the elusive, secret techniques of mind control.

30 review for Brainwash: The Secret History of Mind Control

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    This low rating is not because this was a bad book. On the contrary, it is well-written, well-researched, interesting, and informative. It's just that the subject material is SO DARK. Torture. The CIA giving drugs to unsuspecting people. The CIA preying on criminals and prostitutes - people who can't or won't go to the cops - and experimenting on them. More torture. Hypnotism. Does heavy metal make teenagers kill people? - I think this is total bull and the author seem to agree with me. Psychiatrists who This low rating is not because this was a bad book. On the contrary, it is well-written, well-researched, interesting, and informative. It's just that the subject material is SO DARK. Torture. The CIA giving drugs to unsuspecting people. The CIA preying on criminals and prostitutes - people who can't or won't go to the cops - and experimenting on them. More torture. Hypnotism. Does heavy metal make teenagers kill people? - I think this is total bull and the author seem to agree with me. Psychiatrists who abuse and torture their patients in the name of "science" or because they're getting funding from the CIA to do so. Moonies and other religious cults and why so many young people convert and leave their families behind, giving all their possessions to the cult and sometimes committing mass suicide. A whole chapter dedicated to a man who was accused (falsely) by his two daughters of raping them. A modern day witch hunt, the girls soon named 5 or so other cops (their dad was an ex-cop) and their mom in the "rapes" and "satanic rituals." The dad was put in prison for 14 years and dozens of other people's lives were ruined - their mom's, their brother's, the cops they accused. Torture, torture, and more torture. Did I mention torture? The worst thing about it all, the absolute worst thing - is that all cases in this book are real, proven, and researched up the yin-yang. God, it makes me sick what human beings do to other human beings. It's just disgusting. Now, the book is great. Like I said, interesting, well-researched, well-written - but it's about things I never wanted to know and I never want to think about. Read only if you have a strong stomach for this kind of thing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Savo

    Dominic Streatfeild has done an incredible amount of research and conducted numerous interviews with those who used the methods he writes about and also the victims of such methods. The author does not insist on his point of view, but compares and contrasts available information and leaves the room for the readers to come up with their own conclusions. This is a must-read book for anyone interested in the history of mind control and the current use of it in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and Dominic Streatfeild has done an incredible amount of research and conducted numerous interviews with those who used the methods he writes about and also the victims of such methods. The author does not insist on his point of view, but compares and contrasts available information and leaves the room for the readers to come up with their own conclusions. This is a must-read book for anyone interested in the history of mind control and the current use of it in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    First off, the author, Dominic Streatfeild should be commended for a very solid job of reporting. A rare skill today. Brainwash answered for me a question * Is a Manchurian Candidate style brainwashing possible ? Where an individual is unaware of secret instructions implanted through brainwashing techniques; instruction that can be triggered by a handler in the future. My take away from the book is no. People can be seriously temporarily & permanently messed up: confused, physiologically broken, First off, the author, Dominic Streatfeild should be commended for a very solid job of reporting. A rare skill today. Brainwash answered for me a question * Is a Manchurian Candidate style brainwashing possible ? Where an individual is unaware of secret instructions implanted through brainwashing techniques; instruction that can be triggered by a handler in the future. My take away from the book is no. People can be seriously temporarily & permanently messed up: confused, physiologically broken, physically -mentally-socially impaired and coerced to do things they would not ordinarily do but not secretly implanted with instructions. In most cases in this book, you could interchange the word brainwash with torture. The authors sites some famous cases of modern brainwashing: The Russian torture of the Hungarian Catholic Church head Josef Mindscensty and American POWs in Korea to describe the process. First stage starts with a period of solitary which allows the prisoners self doubts to work. Feeling of aloneness , abandonment, uncertainty,powerlessness and despair. Second stages-Physical Mental and Social torture. Everything in the prisoners world that is comfortable, predictable and controllable is gone. Excess stress, not allowed to eat, changing things so there is no schedule, sensory deprivation/hooded , time uncertain of date /if it is night or day,beatings, irregular periods of sleep, incorrectly told of confessions and statements,given misinformation of family and political events, noise piped in,petty actions that annoy, verbal arguments,kept in a drugged or barely awake state, prisoner may go asleep in one outfit and wake up clothed differently, may be fed and fed again 10 minutes later, forced to stand till collapsing, force to soil oneself in front of guards, Pavlov was a decorated Soviet scientist. Asked by Lenin to report how his conditioning theories to humans . An anecdote: a 1928 flood in St Petersburg, left dogs fighting for their lives as their basement room filled with water. This dramatic event removed their conditioning; they no longer drooled when bell was rung. Once again retrained to drool on ring of a bell but conditioning was again removed when flooding conditions were recreated. A noted English psychologist, William Sargant postulated a theory that these techniques could cause man to reverse his most personal belief. Sensory Deprivation being hooded, being isolated and feed tapes on propaganda leads to better acceptance of propaganda. An awful section on British deep interrogation techniques on IRA suspects in the 70's. Prisoners hooded for a week straight, in an undisclosed place. Told they would be thrown from a moving helicopter while blindfolded and thrown from a three foot height. Publicity from this event has been noted by Sinn Fien Members as overwhelmingly helping their fund raising and recruitment efforts at the time. More to follow.....

  4. 4 out of 5

    Donna Ledesma

    when i saw this among the bargain books, i was like, this book is really for me. i read this almost a year ago and prior to that i already had enough idea of MK-ULTRA, CIA brainwashing and all the conspiracies here in this world we live in. so the moment i took hold of Brainwash, there's no turning back. surprises me that even the music industry mind control was included in the book. Brainwash is a very interesting, entertaining book. especially for those interested in conspiracies and whatnot. t when i saw this among the bargain books, i was like, this book is really for me. i read this almost a year ago and prior to that i already had enough idea of MK-ULTRA, CIA brainwashing and all the conspiracies here in this world we live in. so the moment i took hold of Brainwash, there's no turning back. surprises me that even the music industry mind control was included in the book. Brainwash is a very interesting, entertaining book. especially for those interested in conspiracies and whatnot. the stories are amazing. lots of parts are definitely disturbing-- sensory deprivation, electric shock, subliminalism, etc. the effects are horrifying. Streatfeild is a critical journalist. i'm still hoping for more though. say, what about this Lady Gaga brainwashed theory, and other famous artists allegedly victims of mind control. also topics like Bill Clinton and Barbara Bush under hypnoses. those are more recent brainwash theories. nevertheless, truly, this book opens your eyes and put things in perspective to the reality of the world we live in. this is a wake-up call. like a slap-in-your-face eye-opener.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Blanca

    This guy is amazing, but this subject did not keep my interest enough. It is very thorough investigative journalism, but the conspiracy theory has never been a big draw for me, despite the writing being good. His book Cocaine is fantastic and I think more appealing because he draws the relevance of cocaine in anyone's life, and makes us think how ingrained it is in our lives without us being aware. Government mind control is a little less impacting to everyone, and I think that where it lost me. This guy is amazing, but this subject did not keep my interest enough. It is very thorough investigative journalism, but the conspiracy theory has never been a big draw for me, despite the writing being good. His book Cocaine is fantastic and I think more appealing because he draws the relevance of cocaine in anyone's life, and makes us think how ingrained it is in our lives without us being aware. Government mind control is a little less impacting to everyone, and I think that where it lost me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    I enjoyed this book but it fucked me up.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cherryls Books

    A very interesting and vast topic. Truth drugs, trauma and hypnosis - I'd never heard of truth drugs before!! Could it really be possible that the mind of a human being can be tampered with to the point that the person literally loses their mind. Tamprered with to the point that they can be somewhat programmed - e.g. programmed to believe they have committed crimes that they didn’t commit and request to be executed as punishment. Could drugs, or induced hypnosis be responsible for this? Or maybe ope A very interesting and vast topic. Truth drugs, trauma and hypnosis - I'd never heard of truth drugs before!! Could it really be possible that the mind of a human being can be tampered with to the point that the person literally loses their mind. Tamprered with to the point that they can be somewhat programmed - e.g. programmed to believe they have committed crimes that they didn’t commit and request to be executed as punishment. Could drugs, or induced hypnosis be responsible for this? Or maybe operant conditioning - using unpleasant or tourturus and severely traumatic experiences to condition the mind to react to things in a certain way. Fear and trauma in animal experiments saw their learned behaviours and personalities do a complete u turn. In humans the same effects have been documented - even to the point where people have changed their religious beliefs. Psychologists refer to this type of thing as behaviourism, and it has been argued to be a means of controlling/programming and predicting human behaviour, moulding a human personality. Pavlov did lots of reared experiments/research ( a bit of A Level Psychology is coming back to me now lol, and Bandura was another theorist who did similar experiments around operant conditioning). If someone is brainwashed doesn't that make them a slave to the brainwasher, controlled and programmed, their freedom and liberty stolen..... Streatfeild also goes on to explore the use of brainwashing in warfare. Drugs that can alter your consciousness to a state between sleep man awake - a point at which the mind is less inhibited and reveals more truths and secrets and personal info that the sharp conscious mind ever would - and sticking a hypodermic needle in someone’s vein and increasing their dose as and when they seem to be shaping out of it during an ‘interrogation’ a general anaesthetic (barbiturate nembutal) research by Horsley (1931) showed women in labour under the influence of this drug started to reveal al sorts of things - inhibitions were removed in a matter of seconds. A truth drug had been discovered. This new way of getting into an unconscious mind was termed nacroanalysis. perfect for any shadowy figures wanting to interrogate someone they just can’t seem to break! Chemical brainwashing, which could also be done via/put in food. Subliminal messages, electric shock therapy, interrogation methods and torture.....intrigued? Then read on.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    4-4.5 stars. Non-fiction history books can border on being dull, but that wasn’t the case with this book. I enjoyed Dominic Streatfeild’s accessible and engaging writing style. I discovered this book while specifically researching about Project MKUltra, but now I’m inclined to read another non-fiction by Streatfeild on a different subject. I’ve never felt the need to stop reading a book to pin post-it notes on different pages to bookmark useful information I wanted to remember... until this book 4-4.5 stars. Non-fiction history books can border on being dull, but that wasn’t the case with this book. I enjoyed Dominic Streatfeild’s accessible and engaging writing style. I discovered this book while specifically researching about Project MKUltra, but now I’m inclined to read another non-fiction by Streatfeild on a different subject. I’ve never felt the need to stop reading a book to pin post-it notes on different pages to bookmark useful information I wanted to remember... until this book. Well-researched and interesting. Sometimes even creepy to read during late nights and early morning hours, especially the chapter on Judas Priest’s subliminal messaging. Definitely worth a read if you’re into this subject. It changed the way I view how impressionable the human mind is and the way certain trauma can “rewire” it. I’d consider this my favorite non-fiction I’ve read this year.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ava True

    -super interesting content, lot's of cases that I'd heard about, but Streatfeild went super into depth with them -the amount of research the author did for this book is amazing, he interviewed everyone that agreed to it! -writing was engaging and I appreciated his sense of humour which made reading this ultra depressing subject matter very enjoyable -sometimes he didn't really come back to cases which he started a chapter with, and things didn't really come to a close? on the other hand some things -super interesting content, lot's of cases that I'd heard about, but Streatfeild went super into depth with them -the amount of research the author did for this book is amazing, he interviewed everyone that agreed to it! -writing was engaging and I appreciated his sense of humour which made reading this ultra depressing subject matter very enjoyable -sometimes he didn't really come back to cases which he started a chapter with, and things didn't really come to a close? on the other hand some things/people kept cropping up but he wouldn't really link the last time he spoke about it, for example the stories about William Sargant are very much scattered throughout the book ?? -thought it would be more science based rather than historical and political but it was still a fascinating book, and I think the author did the subject justice!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Author Dominic Streatfeild has a strong journalistic eye for writing .... until he doesn't. I recommend that if any topics in this book interest you to the point of quoting them and bringing them up in conversations, explore these topics more with other materials. Find other sources and make sure. For example, if Mr. Streatfeild gave Cathy O'Brien the same consideration and in depth attention he gave the Hungarians and Pavlov, I would respect this book more. Instead he summed her up by giving a Author Dominic Streatfeild has a strong journalistic eye for writing .... until he doesn't. I recommend that if any topics in this book interest you to the point of quoting them and bringing them up in conversations, explore these topics more with other materials. Find other sources and make sure. For example, if Mr. Streatfeild gave Cathy O'Brien the same consideration and in depth attention he gave the Hungarians and Pavlov, I would respect this book more. Instead he summed her up by giving a "prize for the single most offensive, fantasy-laden account." Based on ...... what? His opinion. Zero journalistic integrity points, which makes the book dismissable in my estimation.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    You might be wondering what precisely this book is about based on its title. Is it some hodgepodge of conspiracy theory? Well the answer is no. This book came recommended to me by a political science professor from university. It seeks to delve into the history of attempts at mind control, loosely speaking. In actual fact it has served to dispel a lot of the nonsense out there. It turns out, that everything from ARTICHOKE to MKULTRA resulted in almost nothing but a lesson in wasted time and money You might be wondering what precisely this book is about based on its title. Is it some hodgepodge of conspiracy theory? Well the answer is no. This book came recommended to me by a political science professor from university. It seeks to delve into the history of attempts at mind control, loosely speaking. In actual fact it has served to dispel a lot of the nonsense out there. It turns out, that everything from ARTICHOKE to MKULTRA resulted in almost nothing but a lesson in wasted time and money. This book is a great read. Every chapter and every page was entertaining and shed light on a lot of bizarre things the government and military and various institutions have experimented with, in the hopes of discovering a way to control people and or gather information from them, unwittingly, or unwillingly. Some brief conclusions you will get from this book, some of which I already was aware of, which MAY SPOIL THINGS. Coffee and Beer are just about as effective at getting the truth out of someone as any truth drug. In fact, most information gathered using drugs is sketchy and questionable at best. It turns out making someone take LSD, Sodium Pentothal, Scopolamine, or Mushrooms, etc, doesn't produce the best information. Subliminal Messages don't do anything. Flashing the image "eat popcorn" at a theater for 1/3000 of a second, will NOT induce subjects to eat more popcorn. Hypnosis can at best suggest a person do something they are already very morally inclined to doing. You cannot use hypnosis to induce a person to betray their morals. So no, you cannot "program" a person unwittingly to assassinate someone. It's utter fictional nonsense, just as is splitting personalities to try to create a personality at your bidding.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kalle Wescott

    I read /Brainwash: the Secret History of Mind Control/, by Dominic Streatfeild: https://www.susanblackmore.uk/reviews... It was, at times, both fascinating (the drugs) and disturbing (various forms of torture and mind control). I read /Brainwash: the Secret History of Mind Control/, by Dominic Streatfeild: https://www.susanblackmore.uk/reviews... It was, at times, both fascinating (the drugs) and disturbing (various forms of torture and mind control).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marton Mashby

    Some really great chapters but others dragged.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eddie Devlin

    Great read ... opened many rabbit holes!

  15. 4 out of 5

    N

    This was one of those meaty, satisfying non-fiction reads that it’s nonetheless hard to say too much about. It was... good? I... enjoyed it? I... will probably have forgotten it by next month? Brainwash explores various avenues of mind control from the past century: from state-sponsored experimentation with ‘truth drugs’ to academic explorations of sensory deprivation tanks that cause participants to begin hallucinating within hours. Inevitably, some chapters are better than others (the ‘messages This was one of those meaty, satisfying non-fiction reads that it’s nonetheless hard to say too much about. It was... good? I... enjoyed it? I... will probably have forgotten it by next month? Brainwash explores various avenues of mind control from the past century: from state-sponsored experimentation with ‘truth drugs’ to academic explorations of sensory deprivation tanks that cause participants to begin hallucinating within hours. Inevitably, some chapters are better than others (the ‘messages hidden in rock records’ chapter is mostly bobbins), but Dominic Streatfeild keeps a good handle on his material, always taking things back to personal stories. (This is basically a masterclass on how to structure a non-fiction book. Lesser authors should take note.) Although it’s a genuinely engaging read, I do think Brainwash is over-long and there’s still a little bit of fat that could have been trimmed from the book. Plus, the publisher pulls the classic bait-and-switch, sneakily reducing the font size to make this look like 100,000 words when it’s actually much longer. But I can’t complain too much. One to read on a long journey. Preferably on an e-reader with the font size jacked up.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nick Davies

    Difficult to say exactly why I enjoyed this so much, because there was nothing which stood out about the writing, but I thought it very good indeed. Perhaps it was that the information was put across seamlessly without 'owt jarring. The author examines a variety of situations in which 'mind control' has been used (or suspected) and discusses the facts behind them. Subliminal messages in heavy metal, interrogation of spies/terrorists, psychotherapy, religious cults, intelligence agencies, magic mu Difficult to say exactly why I enjoyed this so much, because there was nothing which stood out about the writing, but I thought it very good indeed. Perhaps it was that the information was put across seamlessly without 'owt jarring. The author examines a variety of situations in which 'mind control' has been used (or suspected) and discusses the facts behind them. Subliminal messages in heavy metal, interrogation of spies/terrorists, psychotherapy, religious cults, intelligence agencies, magic mushrooms, repressed memories of abuse and devil worship, sensory deprivation and so much more. I thought the book was well-paced, not getting bogged down in any area, had a good scientific basis and wasn't pitched patronisingly or oversimplified. The only negative thing I would have to say about it would be *suddenly adopts glazed expression and fixed smile* NOTHING BECAUSE IT WAS PERFECT AND GOD LOVES ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE AND I AM NOT A COMMUNIST AND I WON'T TELL YOU ANYTHING BECAUSE I AM NOT A SPY.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Caty

    In the middle of reading: As CIA's MK-ULTRA has long been an interest of mine, there's a lot I already know, but I love Streatfield b/c he seems to have no capacity to edit his research--he gives you EVERYTHING, in a chatty tone full of gallows humor. In this case, that's really working for me so far. Had no idea Robert Graves played such an instrumental role in the intro of shrooms to the West, for example. (See, he's tangential--what does that have to do w/mind control? Well, psyclobin was one In the middle of reading: As CIA's MK-ULTRA has long been an interest of mine, there's a lot I already know, but I love Streatfield b/c he seems to have no capacity to edit his research--he gives you EVERYTHING, in a chatty tone full of gallows humor. In this case, that's really working for me so far. Had no idea Robert Graves played such an instrumental role in the intro of shrooms to the West, for example. (See, he's tangential--what does that have to do w/mind control? Well, psyclobin was one of the drugs the CIA tried to develop into a truth serum in the 50s.) Ironically I've been watching the new adaptation of "The Prisoner" series on AMC while reading this. ** The fact that there is no sure fire way of extracting the truth from someone, after years of research on the subject, yet there are plenty of way to traumatize him/her deeply and all are being used in this current war was brought home grimly through this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Willow Redd

    A fascinating look at the various methods and attempts at mind control through the years. Starting with the Moscow Show Trials and Korean prisoners making claims against their own country, research began to discover if the human mind could be remade into something else, if memory could be tampered with, if what makes a person who they are could be altered or adjusted to fit the needs of a given operation. This book covers some of the stranger experiments in interrogation and brainwashing by gover A fascinating look at the various methods and attempts at mind control through the years. Starting with the Moscow Show Trials and Korean prisoners making claims against their own country, research began to discover if the human mind could be remade into something else, if memory could be tampered with, if what makes a person who they are could be altered or adjusted to fit the needs of a given operation. This book covers some of the stranger experiments in interrogation and brainwashing by government agencies and medical professionals from the end of WWII to today. To me, some of the most interesting elements include the tested pharmacology of marijuana, LSD, and "magic" mushrooms (which, of course, escaped the lab and became popular recreational drugs), while the more disturbing include the concept of false memory and a case in which a man went to prison for a series of horrible lies his children told. Definitely an interesting read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cypress Butane

    Great book. Covers a lot of material, goes in depth on many topics and manages to tie it all back in. Definitely a keeper. Don't know if it's entirely comprehensive but it definitely covers a good amount, and very well at that. And also has a lot of leads on other historical books about mind control. Recommend this in conjunction with Acid Dreams: The Complete Cultural History of the CIA, LSD and the Sixties Rebellion by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain Both share some ideosyncrasies and benefit f Great book. Covers a lot of material, goes in depth on many topics and manages to tie it all back in. Definitely a keeper. Don't know if it's entirely comprehensive but it definitely covers a good amount, and very well at that. And also has a lot of leads on other historical books about mind control. Recommend this in conjunction with Acid Dreams: The Complete Cultural History of the CIA, LSD and the Sixties Rebellion by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain Both share some ideosyncrasies and benefit from the same detached yet still watching tone, and that's one of my favorites in any case.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I was pretty disappointed by Streatfield's second book, since I loved his first so much. He definitely manages to exhaust the topic, but he doesn't have the personalized tone and humour that made Cocaine so enjoyable. Each chapter follows the same pattern. He tells a story about some mysterious case of brainwashing, backs up to give you the history and background of that particular type of brainwashing, and then finishes the story. I would only recommended it to people really interested in the s I was pretty disappointed by Streatfield's second book, since I loved his first so much. He definitely manages to exhaust the topic, but he doesn't have the personalized tone and humour that made Cocaine so enjoyable. Each chapter follows the same pattern. He tells a story about some mysterious case of brainwashing, backs up to give you the history and background of that particular type of brainwashing, and then finishes the story. I would only recommended it to people really interested in the subject or people who are Cold War nerds.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Arnav Shah

    This one is more about the journey than the destination. Streatfeild sets up a gripping story in the beginning that leaves you wanting to know what has happened - overly so. Then throughout the book, he explores a variety of cases where mind control and manipulation was pursued. They range from public court cases to under-wraps government experiments. His investigation appears thorough and thoughtfully conducted. And while this book is not an easy read, the cases are very engaging and revealing This one is more about the journey than the destination. Streatfeild sets up a gripping story in the beginning that leaves you wanting to know what has happened - overly so. Then throughout the book, he explores a variety of cases where mind control and manipulation was pursued. They range from public court cases to under-wraps government experiments. His investigation appears thorough and thoughtfully conducted. And while this book is not an easy read, the cases are very engaging and revealing about the sort of stuff that goes on behind the scenes. Therein lies the value of the book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    زينب

    Very good book to anyone interested in this topic. He pretty much covered everything (science, history... etc.). The only problem is the writing. It gets really boring at times that I am literally forcing myself to read on. He also keeps repeating stuff and giving unnecessary details. Other than this it was worth the read and I learned quite a lot about this interesting topic.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Liliana

    It is baffling to me to see how much human beings are able to hurt each other in the name of a goal that they are after be it patriotism, money, religion,search for the truth. All of these have been touted as a reason to brainwash another human being. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Pity the person who ends up in the power of another.

  24. 4 out of 5

    James

    A poorly written book, the author skips around, sometimes he comes back to a subject, sometimes not. He starts off with the case of Cardinal Mindszenty, but never tells us what really happened.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    I was very excited about reading this book because I loved Streatfeild's previous book, Cocaine. This book was also very well researched, but so so DRY. I was intrigued by the subject matter, but the book did not hold my attention the way Cocaine did. I was very excited about reading this book because I loved Streatfeild's previous book, Cocaine. This book was also very well researched, but so so DRY. I was intrigued by the subject matter, but the book did not hold my attention the way Cocaine did.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kjǫlsigʀ

    Occasionally at pains to exact the requisite amount of drama from events perfectly weighty as they already are, still a modest enough layman's introduction to the SURFACE of some widely known illicit programmes. Occasionally at pains to exact the requisite amount of drama from events perfectly weighty as they already are, still a modest enough layman's introduction to the SURFACE of some widely known illicit programmes.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ruby Mae Hearts

    Truth be told I skimmed through this book rather than read it fully. I thought this book was well informed and also well written. However, there was a lot of information to unpack and was difficult to read thoroughly. Hopefully I can get back to it and read it properly.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Laura Faughnan

    so good...and scary...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    An very interesting history of brainwashing and the efforts of intelligence services to harness it to their requirements.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bas

    A fascinating read. Well researched, and easily read. Each chapter is something of a vignette with a story to illustrate the point.

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