The occultly inclined will be duly enchanted. The materialists—well, not so much.

READ REVIEW

PHENOMENA

THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT'S INVESTIGATIONS INTO EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION AND PSYCHOKINESIS

Jacobsen (The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency, 2015, etc.) journeys into the realm where the paranormal and the bureaucratic meet.

By the author’s account, places like Area 51 and Roswell are the real deal, landing sites and contact points for ETs and those who love them. In her latest book, she looks into the men-who-stare-at-goats investigations of the government, programs born of the Cold War and the need to combat the Red Menace on all fronts, including the extrasensory. So it is that, she writes, during the 1950s, the CIA was swept up in a “quest to locate an ESP-enhancing drug,” which included plenty of trial runs and a budget line for, as an official memo put it, “studying and collecting hallucinogenic species of mushrooms of interest.” Other projects, chemically assisted or not, fell under the aegis of various branches of the government, mostly military, with experiments taking place at venues like Fort Meade—home, of course, of the National Security Agency. Some venues were farther-flung. In an odd moment during the Apollo 14 moon landing, an astronaut conducted “mind-to-mind telepathy tests” with a couple of earthbound psychics. Later in the book, the Israeli phenomenalist Uri Geller enters the picture, which may set off the BS detectors of those who remember the controversies surrounding his heyday. Jacobsen’s narrative, punctuated by Zener cards and secret government outposts, makes for entertaining reading, but as with her book Area 51 (2011), either you’re disposed to believe it or not from the outset; there’s not much in the way of compelling evidence here despite all the players from various agencies and the large amounts of money spent on keeping them busy. And speaking of agencies, there’s the obligatory throwback to the paranormal researches of the Third Reich, the stuff of The Morning of the Magicians.

The occultly inclined will be duly enchanted. The materialists—well, not so much.

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-34936-9

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

OPEN BOOK

The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more