I don’t read an awful lot of non-fiction books but this one is almost so far beyond the realm of belief that it may as well be a novel. Jon Ronson for me is the Louis Theroux of writing, making the most bizarre parts of our world visible and showing just how weird us humans can be. Them was the first Ronson book I read, and I completely blame him for my ongoing fascination with conspiracy theories – lizard queens, new world order, fake moon landings, the lot!
The Men Who Stare at Goats is in its essence an exploration of the bonkers world of military tactics, and the impact that one man had after returning from Vietnam, discovering the ‘’Human Potential Movement’ and creating a document to change the mentality of soldiers, and war, and the way we go about combat. The eponymous goats are a vital part, of course, but there is so much in here it’s hard to know where to begin. I first read this book a good few years ago, and reading it again with the knowledge a degree in international politics has given me, along with all that has happened in the world since 2004 (when the book was published) meant that I found it more disturbing than funny.
The level of information that Ronson gets, and the people he manages to meet, is quite remarkable and it is truly fascinating to see a small part of the inner workings of the US military and CIA. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in well, anything really, but I would push this into the hands of anyone who truly believes that the USA is a lean, mean, superpower; it really couldn’t be further from the truth.