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

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The bestselling author of All the Shah's Men and The Brothers tells the astonishing story of the man who oversaw the CIA's secret drug and mind-control experiments of the 1950s and '60s. The visionary chemist Sidney Gottlieb was the CIA's master magician and gentlehearted torturer--the agency's "poisoner in chief." As head of the MK-ULTRA mind control project, he directed The bestselling author of All the Shah's Men and The Brothers tells the astonishing story of the man who oversaw the CIA's secret drug and mind-control experiments of the 1950s and '60s. The visionary chemist Sidney Gottlieb was the CIA's master magician and gentlehearted torturer--the agency's "poisoner in chief." As head of the MK-ULTRA mind control project, he directed brutal experiments at secret prisons on three continents. He made pills, powders, and potions that could kill or maim without a trace--including some intended for Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders. He paid prostitutes to lure clients to CIA-run bordellos, where they were secretly dosed with mind-altering drugs. His experiments spread LSD across the United States, making him a hidden godfather of the 1960s counterculture. For years he was the chief supplier of spy tools used by CIA officers around the world. Stephen Kinzer, author of groundbreaking books about U.S. clandestine operations, draws on new documentary research and original interviews to bring to life one of the most powerful unknown Americans of the twentieth century. Gottlieb's reckless experiments on "expendable" human subjects destroyed many lives, yet he considered himself deeply spiritual. He lived in a remote cabin without running water, meditated, and rose before dawn to milk his goats. During his twenty-two years at the CIA, Gottlieb worked in the deepest secrecy. Only since his death has it become possible to piece together his astonishing career at the intersection of extreme science and covert action. Poisoner in Chief reveals him as a clandestine conjurer on an epic scale.


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The bestselling author of All the Shah's Men and The Brothers tells the astonishing story of the man who oversaw the CIA's secret drug and mind-control experiments of the 1950s and '60s. The visionary chemist Sidney Gottlieb was the CIA's master magician and gentlehearted torturer--the agency's "poisoner in chief." As head of the MK-ULTRA mind control project, he directed The bestselling author of All the Shah's Men and The Brothers tells the astonishing story of the man who oversaw the CIA's secret drug and mind-control experiments of the 1950s and '60s. The visionary chemist Sidney Gottlieb was the CIA's master magician and gentlehearted torturer--the agency's "poisoner in chief." As head of the MK-ULTRA mind control project, he directed brutal experiments at secret prisons on three continents. He made pills, powders, and potions that could kill or maim without a trace--including some intended for Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders. He paid prostitutes to lure clients to CIA-run bordellos, where they were secretly dosed with mind-altering drugs. His experiments spread LSD across the United States, making him a hidden godfather of the 1960s counterculture. For years he was the chief supplier of spy tools used by CIA officers around the world. Stephen Kinzer, author of groundbreaking books about U.S. clandestine operations, draws on new documentary research and original interviews to bring to life one of the most powerful unknown Americans of the twentieth century. Gottlieb's reckless experiments on "expendable" human subjects destroyed many lives, yet he considered himself deeply spiritual. He lived in a remote cabin without running water, meditated, and rose before dawn to milk his goats. During his twenty-two years at the CIA, Gottlieb worked in the deepest secrecy. Only since his death has it become possible to piece together his astonishing career at the intersection of extreme science and covert action. Poisoner in Chief reveals him as a clandestine conjurer on an epic scale.

30 review for Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control

  1. 4 out of 5

    David Wineberg

    One of the (many) problems with the CIA is who knows what. The less you know, the less you have to lie about and potentially get caught on. Or catch the agency on, which is worse. The result is illegal actions at will, from torture to drug experiments on the unwitting to assassinations of political leaders around the world. The extreme case, we can only hope, is the story of Sidney Gottlieb, the star of Stephen Kinzer’s Poisoner in Chief. The title is the actual nickname Gottlieb had at the One of the (many) problems with the CIA is who knows what. The less you know, the less you have to lie about and potentially get caught on. Or catch the agency on, which is worse. The result is illegal actions at will, from torture to drug experiments on the unwitting to assassinations of political leaders around the world. The extreme case, we can only hope, is the story of Sidney Gottlieb, the star of Stephen Kinzer’s Poisoner in Chief. The title is the actual nickname Gottlieb had at the agency. He had an incredibly broad mandate to find drugs that would be useful in the field, and fashion them into weapons in order to inject victims directly, or poison their food or their clothing. In order to test them, he routinely tortured unwitting victims both in the USA and around the world. International norms, treaties and laws were of no concern. The CIA reported to no one, dreamed up its own projects and acted on its own missions. All in the name of truth, justice and the American way, of course. Budgets could be unlimited, and scope was a wide as the imagination. In addition to all the torture, Kinzer gives the example Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, who was about to be poisoned when the CIA’s Deputy Director Lucian Truscott Jr. found out about it. He dressed down his boss, CIA director Allen Dulles until he relented and canceled the operation. Otherwise we could have had a(nother) major war and distrust lasting decades. This was the world Sidney Gottlieb stepped into. It subsumed him. He went farther faster than anyone, relying on things like science fiction and paranoid news items to inspire his work. They led him to believe “the Communists” had mind control as a weapon. So the USA had to have it too. And better. The lengths he went to are astounding. He set up brothels in New York and San Francisco to test johns on the effects of LSD with sex. He dosed total strangers with LSD depending on what agents said were their weaknesses, from physical disabilities to depression. He got hospitals in Canada and the US to overdose patients with LSD to see if it would erase their memories. Same with prison inmates, who were lied to that it was a test of a schizophrenia drug cure. The results of all these things were all too often completely ruined lives, people who were admitted to get better and left mentally crippled. Thousands of people, all over the world. All so Gottlieb could find his holy grail, a drug weapon that could make a victim into an assassin, a traitor or an informant against his own will. Gottlieb used his MK-ULTRA project to fund all kinds of outside projects he did not personally lead. Neurologist Harold Wolff at Cornell Medical was given a million dollars (in 1950s money) to study “changes in behavior due to stress brought about by actual loss of cerebral tissue.” The patients in the study did not know they were in the study, what they were taking or why, which was typical. They were, in the CIA’s classification, “expendables”. “Expendables” were subjected to baking, freezing, constant light, constant dark, starvation, sleep deprivation, unbearable sounds and unbearable silence. They were sourced all over the world – prisoners, derelicts, hospital patients – anyone the country could do without, for cash. The CIA disposed of the bodies, guaranteed. It was all very reminiscent of the Nazis. In fact, the CIA secured the services of Nazi concentration camp doctors to learn from. If Joseph Mengele hadn’t escaped, he would have been offered a contract and moved into comfort for life in the USA courtesy of the CIA. Several others laundered their lives this way. Gottlieb also played Q to the CIA agents. He developed poisons no one in the world could identify. He invented pens and cameras and all the other accoutrements that spy pulp fiction wrote about. He even developed a hollow silver dollar chain. It contained a straight pin, the grooved tip of which had a poison so strong it would kill in seconds just rubbing it on the skin. Agents, including Francis Gary Powers, the CIA U-2 spy plane pilot, wore them around their necks in case of capture. With no limitations, Gottlieb’s organization just kept growing in all directions. He got cocky and secretly spiked a bottle of Cointreau so his own staff drank LSD at a retreat. One of them died as result, either jumping or being pushed from a 13th story hotel room window in Manhattan. As usual, fixers covered it up. And after all this, the result was nothing. “As of 1960 no effective knockout pill, truth serum, aphrodisiac, recruitment pill was known to exist…Years of MK-ULTRA experiments had failed,” Kinzer says. This marked the beginning of Gottlieb’s acknowledgement that his search had been in vain, though it cost thousands of lives interrupted or terminated. Incredibly, Gottlieb was a spiritual, positive family man, into solar and sustainable living decades before anyone had heard of them. He studied, practiced and taught folk dancing. Everyone thought the world of him, not knowing what he did for a living. When he retired, he and his wife sold everything, travelled the world and volunteered everywhere they went, in places like leper colonies. Then one day a subpoena caught up to him. He spent pretty much the rest of his life testifying before Congress and in court cases. He demanded and received immunity from Congress. But as private cases started to name him personally, he did his duty as a good spook one last time, and is assumed to have committed suicide rather than risk exposing or even denigrating his life’s work at the CIA. He was 80. It’s an awful story, told fast and well by Stephen Kinzer. Using numerous other biographies and public reporting, Kinzer has put together a revolting look at the champions of freedom in the USA. David Wineberg

  2. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    Stephen Kinzer demonstrates his research skills by reconstructing MK-ULTRA and Sidney Gottlieb’s deep involvement. Good reviews of this book can be found through most media sources, so I will only comment on Kinzer’s portrayal of Gottleib and two points that deserve follow up for this story and others. The bulk of the book is on Gottlieb’s work. He is portrayed as the consummate bureaucrat. The last chapters have information on him as a person. Gottlieb had a well honed (or was it real?) image of Stephen Kinzer demonstrates his research skills by reconstructing MK-ULTRA and Sidney Gottlieb’s deep involvement. Good reviews of this book can be found through most media sources, so I will only comment on Kinzer’s portrayal of Gottleib and two points that deserve follow up for this story and others. The bulk of the book is on Gottlieb’s work. He is portrayed as the consummate bureaucrat. The last chapters have information on him as a person. Gottlieb had a well honed (or was it real?) image of a family man. His lifestyle (farm, yoga, folk dancing, yoghurt, use of solar energy in the 1990’s, community service in retirement) is that associated with a liberal… a bleeding heart one. How is it that he not just allowed these life threatening tests, but led them? How did Gottlieb feel about giving dangerous and unknown drugs, electric shocks and sensory deprivation confinements to prisoners, patients who trusted their doctors and unwitting people who crossed his path? As his staff and CIA operators administered these “procedures” there was terrible suffering. Some patients died; others were permanently damaged. This went on for 10 years and in reduced forms, for another 10. By all accounts Gottlieb kept good records (which he later destroyed) so only he would know the scale of what he authorized and seemingly designed. KInzer poses a theory that Gottlieb could have been a patriot, inspired by the trauma of WWII and the spread of communism. Sometimes little things betray. Advising Eric Olson that he might try therapy to deal with his father’s suicide, when he had to know his father was murdered (and Gottlieb may have authorized the murder) reeks of cynicism. There is one domestic scene from a childhood friend of one of Gottlieb’s children, suggesting that the guilt of his work spilled into his home and that his 4 children were conditioned at an early age not to speak about their father. In one part of the book, Kinzer says Gottleb’s 4 kids do not speak to him; but later on they are portrayed as a happy family. There are two items mentioned that beg follow up. These are not central to Gottlieb, but are worthy of exploration beyond and including the mind control programs. On p. 71 Allen Dulles confessed to CIA agent James Kronthal that he was caught on tape in an act of pedophilia and that this “personal compulsion” had been known by both the Nazis and Soviets who then used him as a double agent. Kronthal died at home that night where a vial of poison (presumably made by Gottlieb) was found. There are several references to Eisenhower’s approval of the CIA’s assassination programs. The original plan for the murder of Patrice Lumumba was to use one of Gottlieb’s poisons. Kennedy, suspicious of the CIA, who fired Dulles, presumably would have done something about it if he knew and if he could. Lyndon Johnson is said to end the CIA assassination programs, noting that “we have been operating a goddam Murder Inc. in the Caribbean”. What, if anything, did these presidents know about the “mind control” programs and how they were administered? This is probably the only assemblage of this material to date. It demonstrates Kinzer’s research skills. At times it reads like a reference book. Unlike the 2 other Kinzer books I've read, the info is incomplete and the portrait of Gottlieb is hazy. This may not be the fault of the author. The portrait of Sydney Gottlieb and his research may be all that can be gleaned for now.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    Between 4 and 4.5; full post here: http://www.nonfictionrealstuff.com/20... As the reviewer of this book for The San Francisco Review of Books wrote, Poisoner in Chief is an "awful story, told fast and well." I couldn't have said it better myself. According to author Stephen Kinzer, the early years of the 1950s were a "fearful time for Americans," citing among other things the "ugly stalemate" of the Korean War and Senator McCarthy's warnings that "Communists had infiltrated the State Department." Between 4 and 4.5; full post here: http://www.nonfictionrealstuff.com/20... As the reviewer of this book for The San Francisco Review of Books wrote, Poisoner in Chief is an "awful story, told fast and well." I couldn't have said it better myself. According to author Stephen Kinzer, the early years of the 1950s were a "fearful time for Americans," citing among other things the "ugly stalemate" of the Korean War and Senator McCarthy's warnings that "Communists had infiltrated the State Department." The success of the Soviets' first nuclear weapons test led to the fear of being "attacked at any moment," and we also learned that the Communists "had found ways of controlling people's minds." Indeed, the term "brain-washing" was introduced to Americans in 1950; Americans were urged to "prepare for psychological warfare" against "psychic attacks" from the Chinese. There was no real evidence that any of this was actually true; nevertheless Allen Dulles along with "other senior officers" of the CIA feared that "they were losing a decisive race." As Richard Helms would put it many years afterward, they believed that they couldn't afford to "lag behind the Russians or the Chinese" in this area. The CIA became convinced that "there is a way to control the human mind, and if it can be found, the prize will be nothing less than global mastery." In a memo written in 1951, CIA officers posed a list of several questions along the lines of "Can we 'alter' a person's personality?" or "How can [drugs] be best concealed in a normal or commonplace item..." , the answers to which, they decided, would be "of incredible value to this agency." Realizing that their current Project Bluebird needed "an infusion of expertise and vision" from outside of the agency, Dulles and his officers decided to bring in a chemist "with the drive to pursue forbidden knowledge, a character steely enough to direct experiments that might challenge the conscience of other scientists, and a willingness to ignore legal niceties in the service of of national security." Enter Sidney Gottlieb. Poisoner in Chief is not at all easy to read on a human level -- it's shocking, it's graphic, and even worse, it's frightening to think that all of what the author details over the course of this book was sanctioned and done in the name of national security and the defense of freedom. It also makes you wonder if anyone involved ever had the least qualms of conscience. "Awful" this story may be, but at the same time, it's compelling enough that you absolutely cannot stop turning pages.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    I won this book in a goodreads drawing. In the early days of the cold war, the CIA rose from the ashes of the OSS. The higher ups were obsessed with the ideas of brain washing and mind control. They were convinced that the Russians led the way. Sidney Gottlieb got a job experimenting with drugs and hypnosis techniques, and also untraceable poisons, and all the stuff we read about in spy novels, and quickly became head of the department. The book examines Gottlieb's life, and the events that allowed I won this book in a goodreads drawing. In the early days of the cold war, the CIA rose from the ashes of the OSS. The higher ups were obsessed with the ideas of brain washing and mind control. They were convinced that the Russians led the way. Sidney Gottlieb got a job experimenting with drugs and hypnosis techniques, and also untraceable poisons, and all the stuff we read about in spy novels, and quickly became head of the department. The book examines Gottlieb's life, and the events that allowed him to become so powerful without any real checks. Not bad, but through it all, Gottlieb himself remains a cipher.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steven Z.

    Stephen Kinzer’s latest book, POISONER IN CHIEF: SIDNEY GOTTLIEB AND THE CIA SEARCH FOR MIND CONTROL is a very troubling and disconcerting book. The fact that the United States government sanctioned a program designed to conduct what the author terms, “brain warfare” highlights a policy that allowed for torture, the use of chemicals to develop control of people’s thoughts, murder, and the disintegration of people and their quality of life making one want to question what these bureaucrats, the Stephen Kinzer’s latest book, POISONER IN CHIEF: SIDNEY GOTTLIEB AND THE CIA SEARCH FOR MIND CONTROL is a very troubling and disconcerting book. The fact that the United States government sanctioned a program designed to conduct what the author terms, “brain warfare” highlights a policy that allowed for torture, the use of chemicals to develop control of people’s thoughts, murder, and the disintegration of people and their quality of life making one want to question what these bureaucrats, the military, and the intelligence community as well as the president were thinking. Those who are familiar with Kinzer’s previous works, THE BROTHERS, a duel biography of the John Foster and Allen W. Dulles; ALL THE SHAH’S MEN, which describes the errors of American policy toward Iran and the overthrow of the Shah; BITTER FRUIT, an analysis of the CIA coup in Guatemala in 1954; OVERTHROW, a history of CIA coups including Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s, among the author’s nine books will recognize his fluid writing style, impeccable research, and pointed analysis. In his current effort all of these qualities are readily apparent and apart from a certain amount of disgust by what they are reading you will find the book an exceptional expose. Kinzer’s deep dive into the lethal and unscrupulous world of “brain warfare” must be seen in the context of time period that he discusses. The United States found itself in the midst of the developing Cold War with the Soviet Union with intelligence focusing on Russian research into mind control. With Soviet aggressiveness in Eastern Europe and beyond, the rise of Communist China, the Korean War, and the domestic ramifications of McCarthyism the mindset of the American military, intelligence organizations, and politicians were open to anything that could keen up and surpass the Communist bloc in any area that was deemed a threat to American national security. The story originates with World War II with German and Japanese scientists researching how people’s thoughts could be controlled and how chemical and biological weapons could be employed against civilians and soldiers. At the outset the book focuses on how the American government handled enemy scientists following the war, particularly “Operation Paperclip,” a program to integrate captured scientists and flip them to provide their expertise and research for the United States – see Anne Jacobsen’s OPERATION PAPERCLIP and books by Ben Macintyre for a detailed description. Many of the scientists were guilty of crimes against humanity during the war, but that did not stop what policy makers believed to be a matter of extreme importance. Once Kinzer provides the origins of the programs developed he delves into the life of Sidney Gottlieb, a rather ordinary individual from the Bronx whose interest growing up included biology and chemistry which eventually led to a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin where he would meet Ira Baldwin who would recruit him and become his boss which eventually placed Gottlieb in charge of America’s mind control program beginning with research into the application of mind altering drugs including LSD, and the title, “Poisoner-in-Chief.” Kinzer finds Gottlieb to be a free spirit who cultivated spirituality and wanted to be close to nature as he chose a personal voyage that was remarkably unconventional. At work he did the same; “rejecting the limits that circumscribed more conventional minds and daring to follow his endlessly fertile imagination. This approach allowed him to conduct research into numerous areas all designed to see if a person’s thoughts and behavior could be reoriented in a way that would benefit American national security. Kinzer will build his narrative block upon block of the infrastructure that the CIA created to conduct its brain research. Beginning with Operation Bluebird in 1951, which was designed to be a broad and comprehensive, involving domestic and overseas activity including “safe houses” all over the world to conduct experiments. Later the program was renamed Artichoke which would take it to the next level, and finally MK-ULTRA which would harness chemicals, biological agents, assassination, torture, and sensory deprivation in order to carry out the mission. Kinzer describes in detail the scientists and doctors involved, with particular focus on Gottlieb; the roles of CIA head Allen W. Dulles and his second in command, Richard Helms; the experiments themselves conducted with “expendables” who were likely prisoners, unsuspecting foreigners and American citizens, coopted doctors and scientists, as well as CIA employees. The impact on people’s lives is explored in detail and in the case of Frank Olson, a scientist who had an expertise in the distribution of airborne biological germs, was involved in research who began to question his role winds up jumping out of the thirteenth floor window of a New York hotel shortly after he was given a drink laced with LSD that he was unaware of. The programs described by Kinzer are hard to fathom and the fact that no one was held accountable is even more upsetting. Those involved in the programs believed they were all that stood in the way between their country and devastation. Kinzer has benefited from the Freedom of Information process, numerous interviews by participants and victims, in addition to other types of research. His conclusions are damning and if one follows the chain of command it was President Dwight D. Eisenhower who approved experiments and the program in general. It took the failure of the Bay of Pigs to cost Allen W. Dulles his position and later the Watergate break in which linked Gottlieb’s research and inventions to bring about a degree of change and congressional investigations. This resulted in the end of Gottlieb’s career as President Gerald R. Ford appointed the Rockefeller Commission to investigate actions taken by the CIA outside its charter in 1974 and finally the Church Committee hearings. The problem for investigators was that Gottlieb had destroyed a great deal of the evidence of CIA murders, plots, and research and the 1950s and 60s. Further, President Ford did not want too much information to enter the public realm as the Rockefeller Commission result was not as damning as it could have been. In the end Gottlieb would testify anonymously before Congress, but with a “grant of immunity” which protected him from prosecution. It is interesting that by the early 1960s after years of relentless MK-ULTRA experiments Gottlieb reached the conclusion that there was no way to take control of another’s mind. The author introduces a number of interesting and important characters into his narrative. The saga of Frank Olson is important as it took years for the truth about his death to emerge. George Hunter White a sadistic narcotics officer who opened a “national security whorehouse” to carry out his activities. Dr. Carl Pfeiffer of Emory University, one of a number of psychiatrists who worked with the CIA. John Mulholland, a magician who would write THE OFFICIAL CIA MANUAL OF TRICKERY AND DECEPTION. Dr. Ewen Cameron of McGill University who conducted experiments at the Allen Memorial Institute in Montreal. Whitey Bulger, the Boston mobster was a victim of one of Pfeiffer’s drug experiments. Dr. Harold Abramson, a New York allergist who shared almost total knowledge of MK-ULTRA with Gottlieb. John Marks, the author of THE SEARCH FOR THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. The work of these individuals and others was very impactful for Gottlieb’s work, but in the end, it will be for naught. Kinzer’s research brings out a number of fascinating tidbits. First, Gottlieb developed the cyanide capsule that Francis Gary Powers was supposed to use when his U-2 plane was shot down over Russia. Two, Gottlieb delivered and developed the poison the CIA was to use to assassinate Patrice Lumumba in the Congo in 1960. Third, Gottlieb helped develop poisons designed to kill Fidel Castro. Lastly, the drug that Gottlieb and his associates hoped would allow them to control humanity had the opposite effect. The LSD experiments and their results would fuel a generational revolt unlike any in American history as they were popularized by the likes of Ken Kesey, the author of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST, the poet Allen Ginsberg, and Harvard professor Timothy Leary. Kinzer’s description and summary of results pertaining to “brainwashing” experimentation and implementation brings to the fore the paranoia of the 1950s and 60s. It is an important book as it shows how the government can engage in processes that violate the civil rights of Americans as well as foreigners on their own soil, in addition to the numerous deaths that took place. It remains astounding that Gottlieb’s successors would resort to other types of illegal activities like waterboarding in addition to other techniques from an earlier period, again in the name of national security. Detention centers and CIA “black sites” for rendition of prisoners, the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, Guantanamo Bay etc. are all legacies of Gottlieb’s work. Kinzer takes the reader to some very interesting places both inside and outside the human psych with Sidney Gottlieb as our guide, but in the end his contribution to our knowledge of the period is greatly enhanced and it makes for an amazing read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    doug bowman

    Thanks to Fresh Air As so often happens, most of the non- fiction works that I read come out of hearing an episode of the National Public radio show, Fresh Air. I have never been disappointed by a book presented on the show. This book was engrossing and horrific at the same time. It's subject is at once sinister and compelling.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    A disturbing portrait of Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA research into mind control. He believed as it the USA that there was a potential for communists to develop mind control drugs and experimented on the same. During the 50s and 60s, Gottlieb and his team lured homeless, prostitutes, criminals and people they decided would not attract attention if they disappeared and conducted experiments on them. Some were discredited, others permanently injured and a few died. Sidney Gottlieb told his stories A disturbing portrait of Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA research into mind control. He believed as it the USA that there was a potential for communists to develop mind control drugs and experimented on the same. During the 50s and 60s, Gottlieb and his team lured homeless, prostitutes, criminals and people they decided would not attract attention if they disappeared and conducted experiments on them. Some were discredited, others permanently injured and a few died. Sidney Gottlieb told his stories under immunity from prosecution in 1975 in front of Congress. World leaders such as Castro and Lumumba were targeted for assassination. Prisoners and college students were used as guinea pigs. His nickname was Dr. Death.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    What You Need To Know: After the United States spent billions heroically sacrificing and conquering the Nazi party in World War II we then turned around and hired a bunch of them (start by Googling “Project Paperclip”). The reason was to compete against the new threat known as the Soviet Union. Because of patriotism, we couldn’t let the Reds get to the advancements in technology before we did. The problem is the BEHAVIOR adapted. Example: this book. The stuff Sidney Gottlieb and his cronies did What You Need To Know: After the United States spent billions heroically sacrificing and conquering the Nazi party in World War II we then turned around and hired a bunch of them (start by Googling “Project Paperclip”). The reason was to compete against the new threat known as the Soviet Union. Because of patriotism, we couldn’t let the Reds get to the advancements in technology before we did. The problem is the BEHAVIOR adapted. Example: this book. The stuff Sidney Gottlieb and his cronies did was straight out of the Nazi playbook, their predecessors. Read this true story and prepare to be horrified. Today is October 31st. Happy Halloween.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sami Eerola

    This is one of the most well researched, well written and impartial book about the one of the most darkest figures of the US cold war The author lets the facts speak for themself and rarely puts his personal opinion on them. He even writes about the CIA and Gotlieb own point of view, so the reader can make his own conclusions if he was just a patriot that was carried away by cold war paranoia or just a sadistic psychopath. At the end of the book the author calls Gottlieb a monster and a sadist. This is one of the most well researched, well written and impartial book about the one of the most darkest figures of the US cold war The author lets the facts speak for themself and rarely puts his personal opinion on them. He even writes about the CIA and Gotlieb own point of view, so the reader can make his own conclusions if he was just a patriot that was carried away by cold war paranoia or just a sadistic psychopath. At the end of the book the author calls Gottlieb a monster and a sadist. The facts of Gotlieb and his MKultra-project are crazy and are enough in themselfs, so it was good that the authors personal opinions and interpretations are held back till the end.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Matt Vargo

    I love a good story about the evils of the US government and this is a fun one! It turns out we hired all the evil Nazis and Japanese after WWII to help us torture people at CIA black sites in the 50's. How else were we going to figure out how to control people's minds? This book also features a nice chunk of material on Frank Olson and Fort Detrick so it has a nice Frederick local flair to it. After watching Amazon's film The Report about CIA torture after 9/11 and then reading this book I have I love a good story about the evils of the US government and this is a fun one! It turns out we hired all the evil Nazis and Japanese after WWII to help us torture people at CIA black sites in the 50's. How else were we going to figure out how to control people's minds? This book also features a nice chunk of material on Frank Olson and Fort Detrick so it has a nice Frederick local flair to it. After watching Amazon's film The Report about CIA torture after 9/11 and then reading this book I have to say that movie was a bit overly dramatic. We've been torturing people since we landed on this continent. This is not new. Christian Conservative Republicans forgetting that torture is evil might be new however. Did politics always override morality? Maybe the best case scenario is that we'll get back to having a moral compass and return to business as usual - keeping this shit a secret.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elisha Condie

    Holy smokes, this book is SO UPSETTING. I heard author Stephen Kinzer interviewed on Fresh Air (NPR) and could hardly believe the story he was telling, and went right home and got this book. This book is all about Sidney Gottlieb, the scientist who ran decades long experiments in the CIA to try and find mind control drugs. He basically had a endless budget and no supervision to do what he saw necessary to get the job done. And it just KILLED me. He's a family man at home, who believes in Holy smokes, this book is SO UPSETTING. I heard author Stephen Kinzer interviewed on Fresh Air (NPR) and could hardly believe the story he was telling, and went right home and got this book. This book is all about Sidney Gottlieb, the scientist who ran decades long experiments in the CIA to try and find mind control drugs. He basically had a endless budget and no supervision to do what he saw necessary to get the job done. And it just KILLED me. He's a family man at home, who believes in sustainable living and folk dancing but at work he lives in this morals free zone where anything goes. And seriously, anything goes. The U.S. started recruiting Nazi (NAZI!) doctors and scientists who, yeah, they are monsters, but we need to know what they know. After FDR died the US began the secretive Operation Paperclip which gave war criminals a free pass to the US and freedom from prosecution if they'd just come work for us. Because the US didn't have to abide by the rules established in the Nuremberg Convention, we basically had an open door for torture. I couldn't believe it. FDR and Captain America would be SO disappointed. And nothing was off limits to Gottlieb. They used LSD on anyone they could get their hands on. Especially prisoners, hospital residents, students, and at least once even on his own men. He gave them all punch at a party that was laced with LSD, and one man committed suicide after. There were secret experimental labs and houses all over the world where they took people (like German POWs) and gave them lethal doses of LSD over long periods of time to just SEE if any of it would turn out to be the mind control drug they were after. Gottlieb also had a James Bond Q side to him, where he packed poisons into innocuous things for agents to carry around and use - to assassinate world leaders, enemies, whatever. The whole time I read this I felt like the book might burst into flames I was so mad. I just couldn't believe it. But it was so interesting and I appreciate Kinzer bringing this whole thing to light. It really made me think about where we draw our own lines for what is wrong and right, and how so many people - SO many - could have erased those lines completely.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Llew

    Absolutely fascinating and authoritative history of MK-ULTRA. Something I always read about, maybe in comic books or wild-eyed conspiracy theory stories, and I imagined to be true. But I always assumed it to be a quirky thing, like how the CIA also funded goat hypnosis. No, MK ULTRA was not just a one-off oddball test but an extensive program that was part of the agency's heavy focus on psychological and chemical warfare in the post-war era. The book is just filled with stories within the Absolutely fascinating and authoritative history of MK-ULTRA. Something I always read about, maybe in comic books or wild-eyed conspiracy theory stories, and I imagined to be true. But I always assumed it to be a quirky thing, like how the CIA also funded goat hypnosis. No, MK ULTRA was not just a one-off oddball test but an extensive program that was part of the agency's heavy focus on psychological and chemical warfare in the post-war era. The book is just filled with stories within the narrative that follows Gottlieb, the mastermind of the program: the LSD injection tests on prisoners like Whitey Bulger, the myriad CIA connections to the psychedelic movement, Operation Paperclip and the Nazi scientists that came to the U.S., the horrors of Japan's Unit 173, the CIA's LSD bordello in SF, Frank Olson's suicide (lots of great D.C. references there), and the story of James Kronthal. Kronthal isn't so much tied to MK Ultra, but what a crazy story that was, especially considering all the recent stories about Kompromat and the Russian investigation. Great read all around. Couldn't recommend higher.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Despite getting top billing, Gottlieb takes a back seat to his work in this breathless recounting of the CIA's immoral MKUltra program. If you ever need an example of how a false premise is going to lead to a false conclusion, this would be it. Based on the belief that the ONLY way U.S. trained soldiers would betray their country is if the enemy had developed mind-control capabilities, the CIA funded a 10-year project to research mind control techniques of their own. The good news is that at the Despite getting top billing, Gottlieb takes a back seat to his work in this breathless recounting of the CIA's immoral MKUltra program. If you ever need an example of how a false premise is going to lead to a false conclusion, this would be it. Based on the belief that the ONLY way U.S. trained soldiers would betray their country is if the enemy had developed mind-control capabilities, the CIA funded a 10-year project to research mind control techniques of their own. The good news is that at the end of their wide-ranging studies, they were able to say definitively that there was no chemical or mechanical way to control another person's mind. However, most readers will probably come to the conclusion that the human toll- not to mention the long-term damage to the CIA's credibility, which I'd argue continues to undermine the organization today- as well as a few of our other democratic institutions, probably wasn't worth it. Given the lack of documentation of the program (Gottlieb destroyed over 150 files once he was forced out of the CIA) and a lack of personal papers, Kinzer does a good job creating a cohesive narrative based on the available facts, but it's clear he doesn't have enough to satisfactorily answer the central question of the book- how could someone like Gottlieb, a man who was searching for spiritual enlightenment, be a torturer? Kinzer also makes the decision to tell the narrative twice (once in real time and then again as a Congressional investigation) rather than wrestle with other questions that naturally come up. I'd like to know how the CIA answered the questions about the troops' treasonous behavior once they realized that mind control wasn't a thing. I'd also like to know what they thought of other types of persuasive techniques that were being studied or developed at the time. (He could have gone there given how much time he spent discussing the ways in which fiction influenced thinking at the CIA at the time.) It's one of those books that probably would have been better as a long-form article.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Engrossing but also hard to read; not because of the writing, but because the subject is so frustrating. While much of the historical documents about the programs mentioned have been destroyed or are not yet declassified, this book has enough information to still horrify. Kinzer talks in circles sometimes, but the impression he leaves is nevertheless haunting – one of a young man joining the government for patriotic reasons, and rapidly turning into someone willing to push aside all morality to Engrossing but also hard to read; not because of the writing, but because the subject is so frustrating. While much of the historical documents about the programs mentioned have been destroyed or are not yet declassified, this book has enough information to still horrify. Kinzer talks in circles sometimes, but the impression he leaves is nevertheless haunting – one of a young man joining the government for patriotic reasons, and rapidly turning into someone willing to push aside all morality to try and discover how to control (or at least destroy) a human mind.

  15. 4 out of 5

    A. Redact

    ABOLISH THE CIA

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brendan

    Breezily written, stylishly articulated, wholly engaging, frequently startling.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Rose

    Interesting story and book which does what it says it will do. Fine! But I listened to the audiobook and I regret to report that a choice was made to replicate Gottleib’s real life stutter in the narration. Unnecessary!! Very distracting. Most of the direct quotes are from written sources anyway and presumably he did not reproduce his stutter in official CIA memos or legal depositions so WHY bother gah.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christian Orton

    5 STARS! Fascinating all the way through. The coverage the author gives to everything and everyone involved is stellar. What I take away most from the book is how Gottlieb was able to rationalize everything he was doing, despite how depraved it was...and not just Gottlieb, but so many others, including Eisenhower and JFK. Why did the rationalization work? Well, the author explains how the threat of communism growing in the world combined with it becoming more popular in the US for a time caused 5 STARS! Fascinating all the way through. The coverage the author gives to everything and everyone involved is stellar. What I take away most from the book is how Gottlieb was able to rationalize everything he was doing, despite how depraved it was...and not just Gottlieb, but so many others, including Eisenhower and JFK. Why did the rationalization work? Well, the author explains how the threat of communism growing in the world combined with it becoming more popular in the US for a time caused show much fear that it gave many people the "mission" to eradicate it at all costs as a means of protecting human rights. It's difficult not to see a parallel today in how many have accepted a similar "mission" to eradicate all forms of social injustice in the US and the world at large...which is why so many engaged in that mission have demonstrated the most egregious, morally repugnant behavior and easily rationalized it to themselves. Because the "mission" is most important. (It's also why words like "bigot" and "racist" continue to get redefined and get more absurd with each re-definition.) I'm no conservative (spent most of my adulthood very progressive), now more politically homeless than anything, but the impeachment efforts on Trump, attacks on Kavanaugh, the way the Covington kids got slandered by the media, and most recently this week as many in the media and progressive politicians celebrated the attack on a US embassy in Baghdad (because an attack meant Trump wasn't a good POTUS somehow and that proving that is Step 1 to eradicating social injustices in the minds of many, because he is the Great Satan that stands athwart true peace and harmony...which is deranged; Trump is no savior, but he's no Prince of Darkness either) demonstrated how far people can go in the bad direction all the while believing their efforts are actually for the good of human rights. My favorite part of the book was no doubt the various plots to kill Castro by the CIA. Some of their ideas were straight out bonkers, to the point where if a Bond villain attempted them everyone would laugh and the screenwriter wouldn't get another job. You'll read it with your jaw dropped, no doubt. I highly recommend this book. Very glad to start off the year strongly. And glad to have had the flu which allowed me to almost read the whole thing carefully and without much distraction over a couple days.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nihilistic Librarian

    This was a highly disturbing but necessary delve into a dark piece of United States history. A time where the United States pardoned Nazi scientists who performed medical experiments on concentration camp inmates and brought them into the U.S. because even though they were war criminals, their findings after torturing human beings was considered "valuable" enough to excuse them from punishment. A time where unsuspecting United States citizens, citizens with mental illness in the care of sadistic This was a highly disturbing but necessary delve into a dark piece of United States history. A time where the United States pardoned Nazi scientists who performed medical experiments on concentration camp inmates and brought them into the U.S. because even though they were war criminals, their findings after torturing human beings was considered "valuable" enough to excuse them from punishment. A time where unsuspecting United States citizens, citizens with mental illness in the care of sadistic doctors, and inmates were experimented on without any ethical guidelines or care. A time where murdering "expendables" and those who "knew too much" was expected, accepted, and deemed necessary. This book is a lens into the sickening "justification" for these actions of the United States. Those who were there, those who knew about this, and participated try to brush it off with "well, it was a different time," and "it was for the protection of the people," and "everyone was afraid during the Cold War, you had to be there."I think that a) this could be used an excuse for anything at any time, just replace Cold War with a past or current crisis, and b) a way to shirk responsibility by telling others and (more importantly) themselves that what they did was not wrong, while simultaneously tying to take credit for watching out for the greater good. Because who wouldn't want to believe that their government has the people's best interest in mind? Who wouldn't want to believe that their government will go to any length to keep its people safe? Well when you stop to consider "any length," what does that mean exactly? Trying to brush MK-ULTRA and the myriad of other horrific things our CIA, government, and multiple presidents did and condoned off with "it was a different time," is horrendously irresponsible and short-sighted. Trying to justify what was done to human beings with "it was to protect the country" is a vapid excuse for heinous acts. "Commitment to a cause provides the ultimate justification for immoral acts. Patriotism is among the most seductive of those causes. It posits the nation as a value so transcendent that anything done in its service is virtuous" (Kinzer, 279). This quote is as applicable today as it was in the 1950s and 60s. And it is just as horrifying to think about.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Rupert

    This is a most disturbing book. One that I feel the citizens of the United State should be reading. When we criticize the actions of other nations, we first should be aware of what the United States itself has done and is doing. "Poisoner in Chief" is the true story of Sidney Gottlieb, at best a Jekyll and Hyde character. This CIA operative led a private life of rural tranquility. Lived without electricity, was a seemingly good husband, father, and community leader. But the most terrible things This is a most disturbing book. One that I feel the citizens of the United State should be reading. When we criticize the actions of other nations, we first should be aware of what the United States itself has done and is doing. "Poisoner in Chief" is the true story of Sidney Gottlieb, at best a Jekyll and Hyde character. This CIA operative led a private life of rural tranquility. Lived without electricity, was a seemingly good husband, father, and community leader. But the most terrible things he did as a member of the CIA, convincing himself and those he recruited that they were saving the country. This was all happening after World War 2 and during the Cold War when so many believed that Russia was doing all these awful experiments with mind control. So much of the experimentation that the U.S. was doing under the MK-ULTRA program headed by Gottlieb was supposedly so secret that even the head of the agency and the head of our country knew little to nothing about it. Without giving too much away about this program and its sub-programs, I will only say that we used uninformed victims and submitted them to all manner of torture, inside our country and in foreign nations where we could get away with the more heinous experiments. Many people lost their lives as a result.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Most Americans have probably vaguely heard about "Project MK-Ultra", but I think most of us are not that familiar with the gruesome details. Well in this book we get plenty of gruesome details: (1) This book made me realize that there is probably a lot that we still don't know. The CIA is very good at keeping secrets and congress and law enforcement are reluctant to push them hard, so there a good chance that we will never know the worst. (2) What kind of stuff is the CIA/government doing now that Most Americans have probably vaguely heard about "Project MK-Ultra", but I think most of us are not that familiar with the gruesome details. Well in this book we get plenty of gruesome details: (1) This book made me realize that there is probably a lot that we still don't know. The CIA is very good at keeping secrets and congress and law enforcement are reluctant to push them hard, so there a good chance that we will never know the worst. (2) What kind of stuff is the CIA/government doing now that will only come out in 20 years? (3) It was horrific learning about the experiments done by the Japanese Unit 731. The Japanese government STILL hasn't acknowledged these war crimes. In fact, governments in general have proven extremely reluctant to hold their soldiers accountable for any actions committed during war, and the US is no exception. (4) I now realize why universities are so careful about approving human subject research via the notorious Institutional Review Board. Project MK-Ultra was one of the many contributing factors. In fact, the National Research Act of 1974, was passed around the same time all the revelations about the CIA's unethical activities were coming out.

  22. 4 out of 5

    SP

    Poisoner In Chief was a book I would consider hard to read. This is not because of the writing, the difficulty was caused by the frustrations I felt while reading on the topic of the CIA’s mind control experiments. This book gives you all the horrifying information on the top secret tasks of scientists the government and CIA hired. Although there is repetition throughout, Stephen Kinzer delivers the message of unethical people doing these tests. The book explains a situation where a man joining Poisoner In Chief was a book I would consider hard to read. This is not because of the writing, the difficulty was caused by the frustrations I felt while reading on the topic of the CIA’s mind control experiments. This book gives you all the horrifying information on the top secret tasks of scientists the government and CIA hired. Although there is repetition throughout, Stephen Kinzer delivers the message of unethical people doing these tests. The book explains a situation where a man joining the government for the country was easily manipulated and turned into someone who neglected morals to understand how the human mind can be controlled. The book focused on one main man that was very important to the CIA at the time, Sidney Gottlieb. Gottlieb has all the information and knowledge to test each chemical on victims. Not only did he torture victims from the USA, but he tortured humans all over the world with every resource he had. From describing the experiments given by Gottlieb, Kinzer found ways to include other examples of torture such as the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and the tests of LSD on innocent people. Using other biographies and public sightings, Kinzer created a book that was quick to read and gave the explanation of the CIA’s immoral testings.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    A chilling account of what was only rumored about what the CIA was up to during the cold war. As if the atom bomb wasn’t enough. The role of Sidney Gottlieb, the poisoner in chief of the title, is disturbing. He was given pretty much free rein and funding to seek out chemical and other means of mind control, often allowing the use of drugs on unwitting subjects in so called safe houses on the east and west coasts and in hospital settings with patients who thought they were being treated but were A chilling account of what was only rumored about what the CIA was up to during the cold war. As if the atom bomb wasn’t enough. The role of Sidney Gottlieb, the poisoner in chief of the title, is disturbing. He was given pretty much free rein and funding to seek out chemical and other means of mind control, often allowing the use of drugs on unwitting subjects in so called safe houses on the east and west coasts and in hospital settings with patients who thought they were being treated but were actually human guinea pigs. One of their most “promising” drugs was LSD, which, interestingly, they introduced into the mainstream via parties and through educational institutions where they had enlisted doctors and others to experiment with willing and unknowing subjects. Given the length of the bibliography, it appears that the author did a remarkable amount of research, some primary sources mixed in with secondary. My one criticism is that there was a bit of repetition of events from chapter to chapter.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    Reading about the torture conducted by CIA in the name of democracy--which still goes on--made me feel physically ill at times. Aside from the extensive LSD experiments conducted on unsuspecting US citizens, the US, under Operation Phoenix, murdered and tortured 20,000 Vietnamese in its colonial war there. In one experiment, CIA trained operatives cut holes in the skulls of two captives and implanted electrodes, hoping they could goad the men into attacking each other. It didn't work. So Green Reading about the torture conducted by CIA in the name of democracy--which still goes on--made me feel physically ill at times. Aside from the extensive LSD experiments conducted on unsuspecting US citizens, the US, under Operation Phoenix, murdered and tortured 20,000 Vietnamese in its colonial war there. In one experiment, CIA trained operatives cut holes in the skulls of two captives and implanted electrodes, hoping they could goad the men into attacking each other. It didn't work. So Green Berets took the victims out and shot them. Repeat scenes like this all around the world and do you wonder why the US is probably the most hated nation on earth? Read this book. It should haunt you unless you are totally brainwashed by popular culture which has morphed CIA killers into heroes an sheroes. Unfortunately, the author is an anti-communist, despite the clear-as-day fact that CIA exists to ensure the continued dominance of US capital, anywhere and everywhere and over everyone. Even you.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    The well balanced book and approach is both quite illuminative, thought provoking, and raises the awareness of people's aims and agendas. It is easy to see that humans can often treat others as slaves or experiments - whether they are in the CIA or government, CEOs, other other leaders of NGOs, governments, religions, Nazis/dictators, or companies. We hear of leaders who take advantage of customers, patients, immigrants, citizens, and employees or contractors and yet humans often want to exert The well balanced book and approach is both quite illuminative, thought provoking, and raises the awareness of people's aims and agendas. It is easy to see that humans can often treat others as slaves or experiments - whether they are in the CIA or government, CEOs, other other leaders of NGOs, governments, religions, Nazis/dictators, or companies. We hear of leaders who take advantage of customers, patients, immigrants, citizens, and employees or contractors and yet humans often want to exert power and control over others, while also fitting in with our immediate friends/groups. As humans we are used to small groups and outside of those we know we can often have very different empathies to others. Sidney Gottlieb seems to be little different than most people who learn to become indoctrinated in their belief that is stronger than any others.

  26. 4 out of 5

    William

    Another great effort by Kinzer! A well researched and well documented expose' of some US dirty laundry that most people would be perfectly happy to be unaware of. One must feel some conflicting emotions regarding Gottlieb. On one hand he was involved in some activities that are--by most reasonable objective measures--absolutely hideous. On the other hand, he was living in his own time where mind control seemed possible and would have been an existential threat to any nation's security. It is all Another great effort by Kinzer! A well researched and well documented expose' of some US dirty laundry that most people would be perfectly happy to be unaware of. One must feel some conflicting emotions regarding Gottlieb. On one hand he was involved in some activities that are--by most reasonable objective measures--absolutely hideous. On the other hand, he was living in his own time where mind control seemed possible and would have been an existential threat to any nation's security. It is all too easy to judge him from the relative "comfort" of the present where we believe/know that mind control is not possible. If we take away this current belief/knowledge then Gottlieb's actions are perhaps understandable.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    While the book contains a significant amount of information regarding Sidney Gottlieb's life, focused on the 10 prime years of MK-ULTRA, there appears to be very little new information or insight, as almost all of the citations are to prior books, previously available documents made public several years ago, and other public sources. While the author cites a number of interview with unidentified former CIA employees, the information cited is almost entirely brief personal observations of While the book contains a significant amount of information regarding Sidney Gottlieb's life, focused on the 10 prime years of MK-ULTRA, there appears to be very little new information or insight, as almost all of the citations are to prior books, previously available documents made public several years ago, and other public sources. While the author cites a number of interview with unidentified former CIA employees, the information cited is almost entirely brief personal observations of Gottlieb as a co-employee, rather than any factual revelation about his career. For me, the book is also marred by the frequent use of sensationalized wording such as "a phantasmagorical kind of science" or even titling the book "Poisoner in Chief." Disappointing.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    Tragic and devestating indictment of the C.I.A., and the men tasked with carrying out it's evil deeds. It is hard to believe that people are willing to commit such atrocities, that fly in the face of the ideals they believe they are protecting. It is a gruesome read, but sometimes the truth is hard to swallow. Sadly, nothing was learned from the mistakes of the past, and the evils perpetrated during Sidney Gottlieb's era in clandestine service, continue to this day. The only difference is, that Tragic and devestating indictment of the C.I.A., and the men tasked with carrying out it's evil deeds. It is hard to believe that people are willing to commit such atrocities, that fly in the face of the ideals they believe they are protecting. It is a gruesome read, but sometimes the truth is hard to swallow. Sadly, nothing was learned from the mistakes of the past, and the evils perpetrated during Sidney Gottlieb's era in clandestine service, continue to this day. The only difference is, that the public has become more willing to accept any and all excesses more readily than in the past. What was once shocking, is now commonplace, and the lack of consequences will always encourage worse behavior.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Natty S

    Fascinating -- and horrifying -- as a real-life Jekyll and Hyde in service of American imperialism. Kinzer works hard to contextualize Gottlieb's crimes -- and they are very much that, murder, torture, obstruction of justice -- within the larger Cold War hysteria. People were genuinely afraid of a Soviet takeover or a nuclear war. And yet, even with that disclaimer, it in no way absolves Gottlieb, the CIA, or Eisenhower of the suffering they caused or, in the case of Operation Paperclip, the Fascinating -- and horrifying -- as a real-life Jekyll and Hyde in service of American imperialism. Kinzer works hard to contextualize Gottlieb's crimes -- and they are very much that, murder, torture, obstruction of justice -- within the larger Cold War hysteria. People were genuinely afraid of a Soviet takeover or a nuclear war. And yet, even with that disclaimer, it in no way absolves Gottlieb, the CIA, or Eisenhower of the suffering they caused or, in the case of Operation Paperclip, the Nazis they protected from justice for the suffering they caused.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    A page turner if there ever was one. I feel so naive, I always thought America was the good guys, not after reading this book. Kinzer writes with such clarity that I was able to follow the complex web of ins and outs, upside down and every which way. And it is tragic story, gruesome and in the end so unnecessary. To say it was a "different time" is an awful excuse to try and justify the horrible acts that took place and the hubris of some men. Kinzer absolutely does not try to explain away the A page turner if there ever was one. I feel so naive, I always thought America was the good guys, not after reading this book. Kinzer writes with such clarity that I was able to follow the complex web of ins and outs, upside down and every which way. And it is tragic story, gruesome and in the end so unnecessary. To say it was a "different time" is an awful excuse to try and justify the horrible acts that took place and the hubris of some men. Kinzer absolutely does not try to explain away the bad deeds that took place in this dark tale.

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