Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Stephen Kinzer Gives Book Talk on ‘Poisoner In Chief’

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Magical realism is defined as “a literary or artistic genre in which realistic narrative and naturalistic technique are combined with surreal elements of dream or fantasy.” Upon the first glance of Stephen Kinzer’s book, one might categorize ‘Poisoner In Chief’ under magical realism, with events too absurd to comprehend, but it is entirely nonfiction.

Kinzer came to Politics and Prose on Connecticut Avenue to have a discussion about his 10th book, highlighting the life of Dr. Sidney Gottlieb. Gottlieb was the chief chemist of the CIA and director of the controversial MK-Ultra program from its beginning in 1953 and served as director for 10 years. During his tenure, Gottlieb was responsible for spending $240,000 in order to attain the world’s entire supply of LSD in order to research the possibility of mind control after the CIA feared the Soviets were already capable of such a feat.

Kinzer is one of the most influential foreign policy journalists who served for 20 years covering foreign news for the New York Times. During his tenure with the times, Kinzer sat as the bureau chief for the New York Times offices in Nicaragua from 1983 to 1989, Germany from 1990 to 1996, and in Turkey from 1996 to 2000. His coverage of the political turmoil in Central America and Eastern Europe following the fall of the Soviet Union earned Kinzer multiple awards and recognition. He currently serves as a senior fellow at the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

Before the release of the book, little was known of Gottlieb and Kinzer even stated at the beginning of his talk.

“I think I discovered or stumbled across, the most powerful, unknown American of the Twentieth Century. Unless someone else conducted extreme experiments on human subjects across three continents, lived in complete invisibility, and had what amounted to what was the license to kill from the US Government” said Kinzer.  (more...)

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