by Jon Ronson - £9.99 Picador (2005)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780330375481 | ISBN 10: 0330375482
This is the story of what happened when a small group of men - highly placed within the United States military, the government and the intelligence service - began believing in some very strange things. In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the U.S. army. Defying all known accepted military practice - and indeed the laws of physics - they believed that a soldier could become invisible, walk through walls, and kill goats just by staring at them. Entrusted with defending America from all known adversaries, they were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren't joking. What's more they're back and fighting the war on terror.
With first-hand access to the leading players in the story, Ronson traces the evolution of these bizarre activities over the past three decades and sees how they are alive today within U.S. Homeland Security and post-war Iraq. Why are they blasting Iraqi prisoners of war with the theme tune to Barney the Purple Dinosaur? Why have a hundred de-bleated goats been secretly placed inside the Special Forces command centre at Fort Bragg, North Carolina? Has the US army really enlisted the help of Ur Geller? Jon Ronson answers these and many more questions, revealing some of the extraordinary beliefs at the core of the War on Terror.
"Funny and gravely serious, what emerges is a world shrouded in secrecy, mystery and wackiness, where Warrior Monks and psychic spies battle it out for military thinking. Mind-blowing stuff"
(Price & availability last checked: April 2018)