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The Men Who Stare at Goats
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ALTERNATIVE THINKING BOOKS > The Men Who Stare at Goats, by Jon Ronson

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message 1: by James, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 10911 comments The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson - based on the movie of the same name starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor and Kevin Spacey.

The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson


Mikhayla Gracey | 270 comments I had/have a hard time calling his book fiction. He got so much of it write. It makes me want to ask him, "Who was your source?"


message 3: by James, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 10911 comments Agreed.

The book was better than the movie I thought.


Mikhayla Gracey | 270 comments Yes, and what business does a renowned investigative journalist have turning fact into fiction anyway? I would have liked to have seen the resource section for his novel.


Harry Whitewolf | 1745 comments Um... I'm confused. The book isn't fiction.
And the awful- let's make it slapstick funny- movie was based on the book, not the other way round. :)


message 6: by James, Group Founder (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 10911 comments Correct Harry.
It's a non fiction investigative book told with a lot of humor.
But the movie was heavily fictionalized and as a result lost the impact of ronson's extensive research.


Mikhayla Gracey | 270 comments Thank you James and Harry,
It sort of makes you wonder why. Is reserving the right to put: "from the 'Novel' by Jon Ronson" at the end of the movie a plot to keep the facts from the masses? Media control.


message 8: by James, Group Founder (last edited Aug 30, 2014 09:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

James Morcan | 10911 comments Did it say based on the novel or based on the book? I haven't checked the credits but doubt a Hollywood studio would make such an obvious error as clearly the book was non-fiction and definitely not a novel.


message 9: by Sterling (new)

Sterling Gate Books (sterlinggatebooks) | 21 comments The film's IMDb listing says Jon Ronson was credited with "based on the book" not based on a novel: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1234548/


message 10: by Robert (new) - added it

Robert Wright (rhwright) | 30 comments Been interested in this one for awhile. Movie was pretty good, but naturally had to take a different tone. Some parts of the facts are so naturally ludicrous and farcical that they just work better as comedy.


Mikhayla Gracey | 270 comments In the DVD I viewed it said "based on the novel." It most certainly is not a novel. Jon Ronson is an investigative journalist, not a novelist. Ronson plays the comedian quite a bit in all of his writing, but not because what he writes is not 100% true. It's his style. He has a way of making those who are nuts appear to be nuts by simply guiding an interview such that the facts the interviewee submits regarding the topic comes across as ludicrous as it is simply by quoting them, and leaving it alone. For example, in his book "The Psychopath Test," he interviews a man who is clearly a psychopath. He breaches the difficult inevitability of plainly stating that he is interviewing psychopaths, one being the man he is interviewing, and somehow the man comes across as pleased to be counted among the population of psychopaths. Then again, psychopaths by definition don't tend to give a rat's bum if people like them or not, unless it limits their ability to manipulate them. "Them," "Men Who Stare at Goats," and "The Psychopath Test," are all investigative journalism. They are not novels. Ronson specializing in investigating crazy sounding conspiracy theories to get to the bottom of them. He separates the fact from the fiction. He makes it pretty clear in "Them" that Bohemian Grove-Illuminati Conspiracy Theory nuts, are exactly that, nuts. But his investigation regarding MK-Ultra was an investigation that revealed facts. The nuts are those engaged in this nutty activity, and our government for allowing it, or rather US for allowing our government to engage in this sort of horrific crime against humanity, our own citizens. Let's face it, it comes across as a bit nutty that our government spent $$$ to explore the use of psychics in the military, but it is fact. They did.

In "Men Who Stare at Goats" Ronson finds that the Stargate Psychic program was not initially intended to be so unethical. It was after a certain (Name changed to protect the guilty) other took over the program that it became dark and unethical. I suspected it was Michael Aquino. I also suspect that I should have a lot more than a suspicion to make such a statement, because Aquino likes to sue the crap outta people who squeal on him; Linda Blood's publisher, for example.


message 12: by Lance, Group Founder (new)

Lance Morcan | 2656 comments Mikhayla wrote: "In the DVD I viewed it said "based on the novel." It most certainly is not a novel. Jon Ronson is an investigative journalist, not a novelist. Ronson plays the comedian quite a bit in all of his wr..."

Mikhayla - The story behind the story of "The Men Who Stare at Goats" is most certainly true...One of those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stories. And certainly booksellers like Amazon list it in non-fiction categories on their bookshelves.

However, if Amazon reviews of Ronson's book is anything to go by, the jury seems to be very much out out on this...

One book critic describes Ronson's book as "80% fantasy, 15% supposition and 5% factual enough to make the rest seem plausible." Of course, that is but one person's view.

The most popular review of Amazon's Kindle version of the book makes for interesting reading. Here's an excerpt...

"Some reviewers have completely missed the point. This is the author's journey researching an inane army experiment, and what manifestations may remain. This book is no more an investigative proof than Ronson's last novel was an argument for joining extremists. This book is Errol Morris, not Art Bell.

"Wholly enjoyable and entertaining, it's hard to remember at times this is non-fiction, as some of the interviews seem insane. The presentation base comes from declassified goverment documents. However, they are not included, nor are there any footnotes, because Ronson is not trying to convince the reader of anything. He is writing about his interviews and conversations investigating the chronology of the "First Earth Battalion" manual. I believe Ronson started this project intending it to be much funnier (he is a comedian after all), but some of the subject matter and personas he found, though entertaining, aren't laughable: staring at a goat trying to kill sounds funny, but imagine the views of a person who wishes they had the ability to kill people with their mind. So it is a perspective on the legacy of a few persons relieved of common sense, that were given a little power and a budget."


Mikhayla Gracey | 270 comments That was an excellent review, Lance. It says beautifully what I believe happened. Poor Ronson started off with the idea that interviewing a nutty group that believed that killing goats with their mind would be funny, and unwittingly uncovered a very unfunny group. He exposed a group that is so unfunny as to fear exposure enough to post reviews claiming that he, and other researchers, and survivor accounts, are all fantasizers writing fiction; a group with the power of the U.S. military, and the motive to cover-up what he unwittingly uncovered.


message 14: by Lance, Group Founder (new)

Lance Morcan | 2656 comments Agreed Mikhayla.
I digress but...I thought George (that's Mister Clooney to you) played the film's subject beautifully. Loved the "sparkly eyes" scene. The dvd's worth a watch if you haven't seen it.


Mikhayla Gracey | 270 comments Yes, I thought there was some great acting in this one too.


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