Stephen Kinzer – Poisoner in Chief

2019 Best Books of the Year

The best-selling author of All the Shahs Men and The Brothers tells the astonishing story of the man who oversaw the CIAs secret drug and mind-control experiments of the 1950s and 60s.

The visionary chemist Sidney Gottlieb was the CIAs master magician and gentlehearted torturer – the agencys 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 US clandestine operations, draws on new documentary research and original interviews to bring to life one of the most powerful unknown Americans of the 20th century. Gottliebs 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 22 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.

Author: Stephen Kinzer
Narrator: James Linkin
Duration: 12 hours 17 minutes
Released: 19 Oct 2009
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Language: English

User Review:

spaceship ten-year

The halting cadence of the narration combined with the decision to depict Gottliebs stutter were a distraction. I had to listen on double speed. Had somehow expected a little more info on the LSD counterculture based on hearing an interview of the author. Very little of that was covered here. But the main focus was still very interesting.