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Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist

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Alston Chase presents an interpretation of the infamous Unabomber. He projects Ted Kaczynski's life against the sinister background of the Cold War, when the prospect of nuclear conflict generated a fear of technology and a culture of despair on American college campuses. On these same campuses, federal agencies enlisted psychologists in a covert search for technologies of Alston Chase presents an interpretation of the infamous Unabomber. He projects Ted Kaczynski's life against the sinister background of the Cold War, when the prospect of nuclear conflict generated a fear of technology and a culture of despair on American college campuses. On these same campuses, federal agencies enlisted psychologists in a covert search for technologies of mind control and encouraged ethically questionable experiments on unwitting students. Harvard University, to postgraduate study and to the edge of the wilderness in Montana, where he put his unthinkable plans into action. His reign of terror is rendered in detail and interwoven with this narrative is the chilling counterpoint of Kaczynki's coded journal entries on the efficacy of materials and techniques - the stark record of a killer's learning curve. A cautionary tale about modern evil, the conditions that provoked Kaczynski's alienation remain in place and may be getting worse as the War on Terrorism replaces the Cold War.


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Alston Chase presents an interpretation of the infamous Unabomber. He projects Ted Kaczynski's life against the sinister background of the Cold War, when the prospect of nuclear conflict generated a fear of technology and a culture of despair on American college campuses. On these same campuses, federal agencies enlisted psychologists in a covert search for technologies of Alston Chase presents an interpretation of the infamous Unabomber. He projects Ted Kaczynski's life against the sinister background of the Cold War, when the prospect of nuclear conflict generated a fear of technology and a culture of despair on American college campuses. On these same campuses, federal agencies enlisted psychologists in a covert search for technologies of mind control and encouraged ethically questionable experiments on unwitting students. Harvard University, to postgraduate study and to the edge of the wilderness in Montana, where he put his unthinkable plans into action. His reign of terror is rendered in detail and interwoven with this narrative is the chilling counterpoint of Kaczynki's coded journal entries on the efficacy of materials and techniques - the stark record of a killer's learning curve. A cautionary tale about modern evil, the conditions that provoked Kaczynski's alienation remain in place and may be getting worse as the War on Terrorism replaces the Cold War.

30 review for Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist

  1. 5 out of 5

    John

    One of the best books I have every read. As one of my professors would say, "it will make your fingers burn". It is about Kazcynski but it it more about modernity and modern science. Chase indicates early on that science has lost its telos, or its trajectory and aim. The underlining theme of this book is that a science without a telos or morality is a science that leads to inhuman tragedies. His upbringing, his Harvard experience, the psychological experiments and obviously his personality all One of the best books I have every read. As one of my professors would say, "it will make your fingers burn". It is about Kazcynski but it it more about modernity and modern science. Chase indicates early on that science has lost its telos, or its trajectory and aim. The underlining theme of this book is that a science without a telos or morality is a science that leads to inhuman tragedies. His upbringing, his Harvard experience, the psychological experiments and obviously his personality all played a role in his actions, but more importantly we are all culpable in many of these modern tragedies.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Seth

    Chase wrote what I believe is the best book ever on the politics of ecology, "In A Dark Wood." I was hoping this would be as good. It is written with an eye toward pacing and is consistently interesting. His thesis is that Ted Kaczynski was affected adversely by a) the atmosphere of moral relativism that prevailed at Harvard and b) some psychological experiements in which he was a subject, conducted by an irresponsible researcher. The problem is that he doesn't make a strong case that the experim Chase wrote what I believe is the best book ever on the politics of ecology, "In A Dark Wood." I was hoping this would be as good. It is written with an eye toward pacing and is consistently interesting. His thesis is that Ted Kaczynski was affected adversely by a) the atmosphere of moral relativism that prevailed at Harvard and b) some psychological experiements in which he was a subject, conducted by an irresponsible researcher. The problem is that he doesn't make a strong case that the experiments did anything that would have made Kaczynski into a murderer. And the fashionable nihilism at Harvard could have been found at scores of other American universities at the same time. It may well be that Kaczynski was damaged by his time at Harvard. But I did not find in this book the key to understanding this bizarre and sad serial killer.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Isobel

    This book is so thoroughly researched and well written. It covers American social paradigms (I hope that's the right word) back to 1939. I feel mean for only giving it three stars. It probably deserves four, but there is a big chunk in the middle of the book I felt could have been compressed; I felt that it dragged on, but the author was clearly trying to pack in as much information as possible. The conclusion is thought-provoking and chilling; very relevant to recent terrorism in the US. This book is so thoroughly researched and well written. It covers American social paradigms (I hope that's the right word) back to 1939. I feel mean for only giving it three stars. It probably deserves four, but there is a big chunk in the middle of the book I felt could have been compressed; I felt that it dragged on, but the author was clearly trying to pack in as much information as possible. The conclusion is thought-provoking and chilling; very relevant to recent terrorism in the US.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kurt Keefner

    This is a very interesting book, although I'm not sure I agree with all of it. But the best thing for me was Chase's analysis of the ideas that were prevalent at Harvard during Kaczynski's time there. Various authors in the curriculum thought technology was a scourge and that the "system" reduced human beings to pawns. Sound familiar? It's what Kaczynski thought, too. In fact, according to Chase, most or all of Kaczynski's ideas have been commonplace in academia and even the general culture for d This is a very interesting book, although I'm not sure I agree with all of it. But the best thing for me was Chase's analysis of the ideas that were prevalent at Harvard during Kaczynski's time there. Various authors in the curriculum thought technology was a scourge and that the "system" reduced human beings to pawns. Sound familiar? It's what Kaczynski thought, too. In fact, according to Chase, most or all of Kaczynski's ideas have been commonplace in academia and even the general culture for decades. The Unabomber took ideas more seriously than other people, and he was willing to kill for them, but he was not particularly controversial in his ideology. So why don't other anti-technology people kill for their cause? Chase would say it's for two reasons: 1. They didn't have Kaczynski's life. Although he had a few friends in grad school, he was unable to find a girlfriend and was very sexually frustrated. Apparently he blamed the "system" for making him a genius-freak and he was going to have his revenge. 2. They weren't damaged like Kaczynski was. Chase speculates that the very cruel Murray experiments that Kaczynski underwent over three years at Harvard traumatized him. I don't know whether this is a sufficient explanation, but it is plausible because Kaczynski was very angry about psychologists trying to control human behavior. This book has a lot of background explanation about Harvard, philosophical and cultural trends and the like. The verge on digressions, but I found them all interesting and worth reading on their own. I look forward to reading Chase's book on environmentalism: In a Dark Wood: The Fight Over Forests & the Myths of Nature

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ronald

    Ted Kaczynski (a.k.a The Unabomber), pursued over a few years a terrorist campaign to undermine modern society. The publication of his manifesto by some media outlets eventually led to his arrest and conviction. The author of this book, Alston Chase, presents an interpretation of the Unabomber. The author, like Ted Kaczynski, was a student at Harvard, pursued an academic career, but left it and moved to the wilderness in Montana. The author claims that there were two factors which shaped Ted Kaczy Ted Kaczynski (a.k.a The Unabomber), pursued over a few years a terrorist campaign to undermine modern society. The publication of his manifesto by some media outlets eventually led to his arrest and conviction. The author of this book, Alston Chase, presents an interpretation of the Unabomber. The author, like Ted Kaczynski, was a student at Harvard, pursued an academic career, but left it and moved to the wilderness in Montana. The author claims that there were two factors which shaped Ted Kaczynski into the Unabomber. One factor, which I did not know about until I read this book, was that Ted Kaczynski, when he was a Harvard student, was a subject in a highly unethical psychological experiment conducted by Henry A. Murray, a veteran of DoD psychology experimentation. The subjects were deceived about the nature and length of the study, and they underwent highly stressful interrogations. A second factor, in the author view, was Harvard's curriculum at the time. Alston Chase calls it "a culture of despair." Students had to read analytic philosophers who argued that moral statements were mere expressions of feeling; anthropologists who advocated cultural relativism; and social critics of science and technology. I'm not convinced about Chase's second factor. Intellectuals, such as Chase (who was a philosophy professor), have a tendency to overrate the influence of ideas. Nevertheless, I found this book a fascinating study of Ted Kaczynski.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dan R. Celhay

    Nice read, very complete analysis of Kaczynski's downfall from Harvard to his log cabin in Montana. Nice read, very complete analysis of Kaczynski's downfall from Harvard to his log cabin in Montana.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    Fascinating. This book is really only half about Ted Kaczynski and only partly about Harvard. It's about the 1960's and about Terrorism and Henry Murry and the CIA and educational curricula and cultural and chronological primitivism and includes a brief history of Philosophy and more. It's all over the place, but in an organized way. Very intelligent and highly researched book, it even references the Enneagram (Ted was a 5). Fascinating. This book is really only half about Ted Kaczynski and only partly about Harvard. It's about the 1960's and about Terrorism and Henry Murry and the CIA and educational curricula and cultural and chronological primitivism and includes a brief history of Philosophy and more. It's all over the place, but in an organized way. Very intelligent and highly researched book, it even references the Enneagram (Ted was a 5).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Reinhardt

    This is really 2 books. This first half is a good summary of the unabomber’s terrorist activity followed by the trial. It includes a number of journal entries from Ted Kaczynski’s journals. It also comments on the media reporting of the crimes and the trial as well as the commentary on Ted himself. An effective summary as you’ll find. It demonstrates his motive was revenge and a desire to kill. The second half of the book is centered around the shaping of the Unabomber. Central to this is his ti This is really 2 books. This first half is a good summary of the unabomber’s terrorist activity followed by the trial. It includes a number of journal entries from Ted Kaczynski’s journals. It also comments on the media reporting of the crimes and the trial as well as the commentary on Ted himself. An effective summary as you’ll find. It demonstrates his motive was revenge and a desire to kill. The second half of the book is centered around the shaping of the Unabomber. Central to this is his time at Harvard in the late 50’s. Entering Harvard as a precocious 16 year old on a scholarship, he was influenced by the milieu of despair. Harvard at the time was a place embracing dualism science as the savior or science as the force of destruction. Central was the value free presentation of classics. The mantra became ‘don’t make value judgements.’ Logical positivism undermined ethics as mere emotion. This tension between the power of science to shape the world as a loss of ethical foundations created a sense of despair and hopelessness. (The author was also at Harvard at the time). The elevation of reason to the role of supreme judge denied any meaning to the world. This philosophy shaped the Unabomber. In his journal, he repeatedly dismissed ethics as mere emotion and the product of “brainwashing”. The second major factor at Harvard was his involvement in psychological experiments designed to ‘break’ the individual. Performed by Murray, likely as part of CIA research, it involved drawing out the personal philosophy of the subjects and later destroying and demeaning it under interrogation. Murray, a literal sadist, seemed to get a thrill from the process. There is extensive background on the psychological research done not only at Harvard, but at many campuses at the behest of the military. The military was by far the largest finder of psychological research. Murray himself was interested in the use of psychology to shape the masses to improve democracy. He ultimately wanted a one world government - yes not kidding - and thought one needed to use psychological techniques to make the masses accept it. This use of psychology to control people influenced the Unabomber to reject it and the system it propagated. Moral relativism and Cold War paranoia both influenced Ted. Ultimately, the provided the intellectual framework for his worldview, but the aren’t the motivating force behind murder. Ted was motivated by a hatred and bitterness to his family, especially his father. He felt mistreated. The dual pressures to excel academically and to fit in socially caused him great pain. How intense the pressure from his father is unknown, but all parents wound their children to some degree. But Ted harbored bitterness. He would not forgive, but instead nursed his anger. This anger spilled over to anger against the system that did not reward him. He felt superior to everyone, yet they did not treat him as superior. His pride bordered on narcissism. Nursing these angers, and accepting no ethical restraint, let to the creation of the Unabomber as revenge against the system and his family. Knowledge without virtue is dangerous, virtue demands humility. What this bodes for the future is unclear. Moral relativism is stronger now than ever and humility is a lost virtue. Psychological techniques of conformity are ubiquitous(mob). May society return to it moral heritage and seek and speak truth in and for freedom.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David

    I can't deny the appeal of blaming Harvard for one of America's most notorious serial killers (GO BULLDOGS...whoops, did I say that out loud?), but it just doesn't add up. Chase earns one star for a concise synopsis of Kaczynski's life and his crimes, one because he does his share to debunk the myth that Kaczynski was a left-winger (in reality his politics were all over the map, and made about as much sense as you'd expect of a serial killer), and one because I really have to admire his effort t I can't deny the appeal of blaming Harvard for one of America's most notorious serial killers (GO BULLDOGS...whoops, did I say that out loud?), but it just doesn't add up. Chase earns one star for a concise synopsis of Kaczynski's life and his crimes, one because he does his share to debunk the myth that Kaczynski was a left-winger (in reality his politics were all over the map, and made about as much sense as you'd expect of a serial killer), and one because I really have to admire his effort to provide an explanation beyond "he's a monster". But that effort really doesn't succeed. Chase makes a good case that Kaczynski had a fairly angst-ridden adolescence, but so have hundreds of millions of other people who never blew anyone up. He makes a number of valid points about disadvantages suffered by the "silent generation," but every generation has unique challenges and unfairnesses, before and since. He somehow hold Harvard's core curriculum responsible for fostering a culture of despair, but I couldn't make head or tail of why. (Amusingly, he lists about a dozen other elite colleges that followed Harvard's lead in that trend - including Grinnell, which is in fact famous for NOT having a core curriculum. Chase should have known that, as he interviewed a retired Grinnell professor at length for the book.) His case against Harvard psychologist Henry Murray for the sadistic study Kaczynski participated in as an undergrad is the strongest part of Chase's argument. I was persuaded that Murray may well have sown the seeds of the Unabomber. But even Chase himself acknowledges that alone can't explain Kaczynski's crimes, and indeed it doesn't. For all Chase's noble (and partially successful) efforts to clarify the reality of who Kaczynski really was and that the story was more complicated than "he's nuts", I for one was still left with the sense that the root cause of his evil really is that simple.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Inb rief: Outstanding history of not only Kaczynski's troubled youth, but of the intellectual and cultural currents that exacerbated his alienation -- as well of the brutal psychological experiments, funded by the CIA, that no doubt galvanized him into violent reprisal against 'the system'. Many surprises inside, including exposing Kaczynski as only being superficially interested in the environment at best. Full review: Ted Kaczynski was hunted fruitlessly by the FBI for eighteen years, until fina Inb rief: Outstanding history of not only Kaczynski's troubled youth, but of the intellectual and cultural currents that exacerbated his alienation -- as well of the brutal psychological experiments, funded by the CIA, that no doubt galvanized him into violent reprisal against 'the system'. Many surprises inside, including exposing Kaczynski as only being superficially interested in the environment at best. Full review: Ted Kaczynski was hunted fruitlessly by the FBI for eighteen years, until finally being done in by his own need to spread his message. However exceptional his mind, however, Alston Chase argues here that Kaczynski’s philosophy was one espoused by many of his generation — that it was one fomented by the educational culture that Kaczynski’s cohort were immersed in at Harvard. Subtitled The Education of an American Terrorist, Chase’s work is an outstanding and thorough review of not only Kacynski’s life but of the intellectual and cultural currents that exacerbated his alienation — as well of the brutal psychological experiments, funded by the CIA, that no doubt galvanized him into violent reprisal against ‘the system’. Chase opens with the FBI’s investigation of the UNABOMB case, then shifts to Kaczynski’s background as the son of working-class intellectuals who pushed their son to excel, heedless of the consequences. The better he performed in school, the more of a social misfit he became — especially after he skipped grades and entered college two years early. At home, he’d been pushed in opposite directions — his parents demanded academic achievement, which isolated him, and yet chided him for being estranged socially. At Harvard, his isolation did not improve; he was placed in a residence for especially gifted minds, but he and his housemates all lived solitary lives, and were separated from campus life on the whole. His university studies offered no hope of a meaningful life; the general studies curriculum which had been drafted to ground and strengthen students in the western tradition was instead used to subvert it. Instead of understanding the US government as being based on natural law, for instance, students were taught that the government rested merely on power; that only statements which could be independently verified held any meaning, making beauty and much of the human condition irrelevant. Everything that students had previously taken for granted — morality, religion, culture, the rule of law — was being actively dismantled. Although the tools of science were being used to render everything else meaningless, there was little hope to be found in science itself, for the students were being steeped in Cold War dread that technology would destroy the world. The growth of ecology indicated that even if the world did not end in a bang, it would end with a whimper as human activity disrupted every natural system which sustained it. Kaczynski is not the only subject of Harvard and the Unabomber, however, for Chase also introduces us to the strange figure of Henry Murray, a scientist associated with the OSS/CIA and Harvard, a man fascinated by sex and violence (especially together), who called for volunteers to participate in philosophical discussions, and then subjected them to experiments that haunted the memories of many of its subjects years later. What Harvard allowed its students to be subjected by a professorial spook under its aegis is so embarrassing and incriminating that they sealed their records after Chase began his review of them. The section on the CIA’s obsession with mind control — and its contributions to the drug eruption of the sixties — is fascinating and indicates how long that particular organization has been dominated by the dark side of power. (Stephen Kinzer recently produced a history on this particular episode in CIA History: Poisoner in Chief.) Kaczynski’s treatment in the MKULTRA program left him psychologically troubled, increasingly fixated on revenge against ‘the system’, especially the psychologists who purposed to find ways to better manipulate people within society to conform. His course was already set before he began teaching professionally; that job he engaged in only to raise funds for buying land to escape society. Montana did not offer him peace, however; instead Kaczynski was steeped further in rage against airplanes, loggers, snowmobilers, and the like, and began looking for relief in striking back. His ‘environmentalism’, Chase suggests, was a spin tactic; the budding propagandist against the industrial system wanted public support, and going green struck him as an approach consistent with both his criticism and the student movements of the seventies. Harvard and the Unabomber is a fascinating cultural and intellectual history of the late fifties and early sixties, a time when social unrest was beginning to simmer. Chase and Kaczynski lived parallel lives — attending Harvard around the same time, and then lived in rural retreats — so his insight into the culture that Kacynski was immersed in is particularly helpful. Although understanding what Kaczynski different is the most valuable contribution made by this book, it’s also generally helpful in putting into perspective the usual narrative lies about Kaczynski — that he was a mental case early on, for instance, and that he had isolated himself in the middle of nowhere. Reporters on the Unabomber case talked to people who barely knew Kaczynski, not his friends; when Chase began doing his own interviews, he found that the ‘rural recluse’ lived four miles from town, right off a main road, and was favorably remembered at the local library. Harvard and the Unabomber is impressive work, a serious evaluation of Kaczynski, his work, and his times which offers insight into what really destabilized an otherwise brilliant mind.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Slagle Rock

    This was a pretty engaging read in as much as it offered up some long-view perspectives on philosophical and cultural schools of thought in latter half of the 20th Century. I don't think it painted a complete picture of Ted Kaczynski however nor did it truly convince me that Harvard and Cold War politics turned him into the Unabomber. Yes, he was a student guineas pig in experiments conducted by one of his allegedly evil professors but all the book offered to prove this was circumstantial eviden This was a pretty engaging read in as much as it offered up some long-view perspectives on philosophical and cultural schools of thought in latter half of the 20th Century. I don't think it painted a complete picture of Ted Kaczynski however nor did it truly convince me that Harvard and Cold War politics turned him into the Unabomber. Yes, he was a student guineas pig in experiments conducted by one of his allegedly evil professors but all the book offered to prove this was circumstantial evidence. We never really see Ted strapped to the interrogation table with electrods stuck to his head, so to speak. That's something I suppose we should infer happened but the book's listing of novels and philosophers found in Kaczynski's reading rack don't convince me that he was a created monster. He may have been born with a bad gene, who knows? I'm still wondering.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brett Skeeter

    Randomly found this gem in one of those “Little Free Libraries,” and it absolutely blew me away. Not only a thorough and fascinating biography of Ted K., but also a brilliant explanation and analysis of the intellectual and cultural history of 20th century America. Highly recommended.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Payan

    Loved this book! Granted, not that I love or agree with Ted Kaczynski, but some of the ideas in this book I can be aligned with and Chase offers insight I wouldn't have thought of or known otherwise. So thought provoking!!! Loved this book! Granted, not that I love or agree with Ted Kaczynski, but some of the ideas in this book I can be aligned with and Chase offers insight I wouldn't have thought of or known otherwise. So thought provoking!!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephan

    A complete deep dive into all things Unibomber.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Samuelson

    Read Chapter 12 : “is intelligence evil?” Was incredibly well written and about so much more than the unabomber.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vasilios

    Outstanding. Not only a holistic look into a complex and very misunderstood figure, but also a comprehensive look into the philosophy that may or may not have led to his actions. Worth the read just to get the Unabombers reading list.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    A very different perspective from what the media shows you. He is not in fact nuts, despite his lawyers forcing him to plead insanity. A heartless bastard, yes, but insane, no. It shows how messed up the court system is currently. He really was ready to die for his ideas. His ideas are really not so far out of the mainstream (the small minority mainstream, but still the mainstream). He kind of reminds me of a modern John Brown (although in a more cowardly way). I think my main problem with Ted i A very different perspective from what the media shows you. He is not in fact nuts, despite his lawyers forcing him to plead insanity. A heartless bastard, yes, but insane, no. It shows how messed up the court system is currently. He really was ready to die for his ideas. His ideas are really not so far out of the mainstream (the small minority mainstream, but still the mainstream). He kind of reminds me of a modern John Brown (although in a more cowardly way). I think my main problem with Ted is that he used violence to send his message, and that he did so from secret. Violence only works for a short period of time, (and not always) and those who use it inevitably have it turned against them. The author's insights were an interesting perspective on why Ted did it. I don't know that the negative attitudes at Harvard or Ted's experience as an outcast there were the driving factors that the author presents. If that were the case how come there weren't more people doing this from that era? Something else pushed Ted over the edge. Probably a combination of small things. We can never know for sure.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cody

    This was very interesting non-fiction. It was a good analysis of the deeper story leading up to the bombings and the capture of the Unabomber. There is a surprising connection of the bomber to CIA psychological experiments administered to him during his time as an under graduate at Harvard. The story paints a picture of a deeply troubled person full of knowledge, opinions and rage, who may or may not have been sent over the edge by a number of stressful events and a rigid personality. The author This was very interesting non-fiction. It was a good analysis of the deeper story leading up to the bombings and the capture of the Unabomber. There is a surprising connection of the bomber to CIA psychological experiments administered to him during his time as an under graduate at Harvard. The story paints a picture of a deeply troubled person full of knowledge, opinions and rage, who may or may not have been sent over the edge by a number of stressful events and a rigid personality. The author, a Harvard graduate himself, is no kooky conspiracy theorist. He shows us that TK held close to a number of seemingly contradictory values carefully woven into a black and white view of the world. He shows how TK rationalized his sociopathic behavior with ease.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bonny

    I have a slightly odd interest in Ted Kaczynski as a person because I've spent quite a bit of time in Lincoln, MT. I enjoyed reading about the part of his life that was spent in this interesting place, and reading about his interactions with some people that I have come to know well. I'm not sure that this book answers the question, "How did Kaczynski arrive at the point where extreme violence was the answer?" but it does a very good job explaining many of the circumstances that may have played I have a slightly odd interest in Ted Kaczynski as a person because I've spent quite a bit of time in Lincoln, MT. I enjoyed reading about the part of his life that was spent in this interesting place, and reading about his interactions with some people that I have come to know well. I'm not sure that this book answers the question, "How did Kaczynski arrive at the point where extreme violence was the answer?" but it does a very good job explaining many of the circumstances that may have played a part, including what he endured as a partipant in Murray's psychological experiments at Harvard. I do wonder why he continued to participate in the experiment for three years. What a shame that a brilliant mathematical mind turned into an evil genius.

  20. 5 out of 5

    David M

    I found the author's obvious sympathy for his subject very interesting. It's important to dispel the myth that Kaczynski was simply insane. He wanted to be taken seriously and had internally coherent reasons for what he did. Discontent with industrial civilization is a fairly widespread phenomenon. However, and here I seem to disagree the author of this book, I think if we do Kaczysnki the courtesy of reading his manifesto it's hard to avoid the conclusion he actually wasn't that brilliant or ori I found the author's obvious sympathy for his subject very interesting. It's important to dispel the myth that Kaczynski was simply insane. He wanted to be taken seriously and had internally coherent reasons for what he did. Discontent with industrial civilization is a fairly widespread phenomenon. However, and here I seem to disagree the author of this book, I think if we do Kaczysnki the courtesy of reading his manifesto it's hard to avoid the conclusion he actually wasn't that brilliant or original of a thinker. Even if we bracket the moral obscenity of sending bombs to people, I just don't find anything very impressive in this analysis. Judge for yourself, http://editions-hache.com/essais/pdf/...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I was annoyed to read right at the beginning of the acknowledgments that this book was a compromise from the book he really wanted to write - his view on "how the 1960s changed America". Though at times he employed sweeping generalizations, some of his social history was interesting, and also fairly convincing on how it related to Kaczynski. The information on Kaczynski himself is definitely illuminating. I was annoyed to read right at the beginning of the acknowledgments that this book was a compromise from the book he really wanted to write - his view on "how the 1960s changed America". Though at times he employed sweeping generalizations, some of his social history was interesting, and also fairly convincing on how it related to Kaczynski. The information on Kaczynski himself is definitely illuminating.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alex Jonas

    I read this book a while ago, but it was awesome so I thought I'd share. It's a great story about the Unabomber with a well-developed historical background of what life was like for him growing up, and throughout his life. The author seemed to take a really good impartial position, and try to tell what is a very interesting story. Great book. I read this book a while ago, but it was awesome so I thought I'd share. It's a great story about the Unabomber with a well-developed historical background of what life was like for him growing up, and throughout his life. The author seemed to take a really good impartial position, and try to tell what is a very interesting story. Great book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Paula Matuskey

    Story of David Kaczynski and how Harvard influenced him in a negative way.

  24. 4 out of 5

    A.J. Jr.

    If you are interested in this sort of thing, this is a fascinating and very important book you need to read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    This is a great look into academics and how Harvard, the alma mater of the Unabomber, could be held to blame for his terrorism.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michael Adcock

    Interesting insights into TK. Worth reading with his manifesto, which does make some compelling points against technology.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marcie

    The 3rd in a string of true-crime books I read for book clubs - which made me realize the genre is not for me. Well written, but disturbing.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Flora

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mark

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