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

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Stephen Kinzer

Narrated By: James Linkin

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Date: September 2019

Duration: 12 hours 18 minutes

Summary:

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.

Genres:

  • Michael W.

    I found the book very thorough and interesting. It compounded to my distaste for what has gone on with unchecked authority.

  • Kenneth S.

    Stephen Kinzer has done an amazing job uncovering and synthesizing information about Sidney Gottlieb and the role of the CIA in a number of unethical experiments in pursuit of mind control drugs and techniques. I was turned on to this book after hearing Kinzer interviewed on Fresh Air and later Open Source. I would recommend tracking down those interviews if you want a nice 30-45 minute summation of the book's key findings. I’m now a third of the way through the audiobook and so a full review of the book is premature. My biggest gripe, which may kill my interest in listening to the full 12 hours, is the narrator’s interpretation of different voices quoted in the book. Most annoying of all is the voice of Gottlieb, a painful attempt to emulate someone who is struggling through a speech impediment. It is true that Gottlieb was a lifelong stutterer but Linkin’s attempt to weave a stutterer’s voice into the narrative is very distracting. Other key characters in the book he inconsistently gives them different voices, sometimes sounding like a bad parody of an announcer in a WWII propaganda movie. I think this audiobook would be much better without the attempted dramatization of character voices.

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

by Stephen Kinzer

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Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control, Stephen Kinzer
Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control, Stephen Kinzer
This title is due for release on September 10, 2019.

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Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control, Stephen Kinzer
This title is due for release on September 10, 2019
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Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control, Stephen Kinzer
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Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control, Stephen Kinzer

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