THE MIND STEALERS: Psychosurgery and Mind Control by Samuel Chavkin

THE MIND STEALERS: Psychosurgery and Mind Control

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An alarmed overview of contemporary methods of mind control which recoils at government agencies' unconstitutional techniques and willingness to finance dubious research and finds evidence of equally grim attitudes ingrained in scientific research practices. Chavkin has gathered together many headline stories of recent years (CIA brainwashing and LSD experiments, the Jensen-Schockley controversy, prison behavior modification attempts, Tuskegee's untreated-syphilis patients) and examined the work of influential theorists like Ervin and Mark (Violence and the Brain) and E. O. Wilson (Sociobiology), and he perceives distressing patterns of contempt and denial of rights. The impressment of the institutionalized for experiments raises ethical questions most scientists rarely discuss, and their readiness to ascribe social deviance to biological origins (XYY genetic endowment) rather than social or economic causes colors the issue even more. Further, invasion-of-privacy questions arise from those practices and others, such as Delgado's electrode implantations. Much of this is grim indeed--some examples seem more like science fiction. Chavkin goes to the heart of the matter, indicating his sources and rationing his expressions of outrage; for an even more forceful indictment, see Schrag, below.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1978
Publisher: Houghton Mifflinn