Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“This is a true story.”
Other than The Psychopath Test this is what I’d say is the most well-known of Jon’s books. In fact, in The Psychopath Test Jon visits a man called Toto Constant who was in Coxsackie Prison. Toto told Jon that ‘All the inmates were saying, “The guy who wrote the Men Who Stare At Goats book is coming to visit (…) Everyone in here has heard of that movie!’ Of course, they made a film of this book, and that’s probably where I heard of it first, too. I used to think it was literally about men who spent day in day out staring at goats. I didn’t wonder why they would be staring at goats, though. I also thought it was completely fictional, but as you can tell from the opening line, Jon wants us to know from the get-go that this is a true story.
Whether you believe it or not is a different matter, but I trust Jon as a writer and as a journalist. There are a lot of things we don’t know about. A lot of government-related things, or things concerning war and the army. It might sound cliche, but cliches are there for a reason, and when it comes to government conspiracies…even I have to admit that I become interested.
What I’m not so interested in is violence, the army, war, politics, and actually, the government. I’ve never been able to become interested in it. Only very rarely do I have a successful conversation about politics. What I’m saying is, this book is interesting to people who aren’t interested in its subject matter. Jon Ronson makes it interesting. So don’t be put off at the start, or by any preconceptions about the book’s content. Even if you don’t care much for any of the subjects I listed above, you can at least learn about why men stare at goats, and how the army can benefit from it.
This was a page turner for me, as are most of Jon’s books. There’s just something about his style that makes you want to read on and on. From reading this, I learnt new things, I was entertained, I was curious, and I was actually tuned in and never bored. Although his books are all non-fiction, they are like non-fiction books for people who enjoy fiction. This is no exception.
And once you’ve read it, you can watch the film, which stars George Clooney and Ewan McGregor, among others.
Link to the book on Goodreads: