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This is my favorite type of book: fast paced, intelligent, and makes me exclaim, “Ohh, nooo!” out loud while reading it. It’s history from the angles you weren’t meant to see, making the text that much more alarming. Reading about the acceleration from covert training for WWII offense to the more recent happenings in the Middle East was equal parts horror and fascination. Already a fan of her writings, the amount of work Jacobson (Area 51) put into this book is astounding. The clandestine nature of it all meant she went far beyond traditional research, and that effort shows in the details.
Praise for Surprise, Kill, Vanish
"As fast paced as a thriller."
—Fred Burton, Stratfor Talks' Pen and Sword Podcast
"Jacobsen here presents a tour de force exploring the CIA's paramilitary activities...this excellent work feels like uncovering the tip of the iceberg. VERDICT: Highly recommended for those seeking a better understanding of American foreign policy in action."
—Jacob Sherman, Library Journal
"In SURPRISE, VANISH, KILL, Annie Jacobsen takes us inside the darkest and most morally ambiguous corner of our government, where politicians ask brave men and women to kill-up close and personal-on America's behalf. She offers, in cinematic detail, the real story of recent geopolitical history, the plots and assassinations that in some instances presidents and diplomats have denied for years, including the CIA's biggest successes and its biggest fiascos."
—Garrett M. Graff, author of Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government's Secret Plan to Save Itself--While the Rest of Us Die
"A behind-the-scenes look at the most shadowy corners of the American intelligence community...Well-sourced and well-paced, this book is full of surprises."
"Having already demonstrated her remarkable aptitude for unearthing government secrets in books like Area 51
(2011) and The Pentagon's Brain
(2015), Jacobsen pulls back the curtain on the history of covert warfare and state sanctioned assassinations from WWII to the present...Jacobsen's work revealing a poorly understood but essential slice of warfare history belongs in every library collection."—BooklistPraise for The Pentagon's BrainPulitzer Prize Finalist in History
One of The Washington Post's Notable Nonfiction Books of 2015One of The Boston Globe's Best Books of 2015One of Amazon's Top 100 Books of 2015
"A brilliantly researched account of a small but powerful secret government agency whose military research profoundly affects world affairs."—The Pulitzer Prize Committee
"Filled with the intrigue and high stakes of a spy novel, Jacobsen's history of DARPA is as much a fascinating testament to human ingenuity as it is a paean to endless industrial warfare and the bureaucracy of the military-industrial complex."
"A fascinating and unsettling portrait of the secretive U.S. government agency....Jacobsen walks a fine line in telling the story of the agency and its innovations without coming across as a cheerleader or a critic, or letting the narrative devolve into a salacious tell-all. Jacobsen's ability to objectively tell the story of DARPA, not to mention its murky past, is truly remarkable, making for a terrifically well-crafted treatise on the agency most Americans know next to nothing about."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Jacobsen offers a definitive history of the clandestine agency.... She explores the implications of DARPA work on technology that will not be widely known to the public for generations but will certainly impact national security and concepts of war."
—Vanessa Bush, Booklist (starred review)Praise for Phenomena One of The Washington Post's most anticipated books of 2017One of USA Today's New and Noteworthy Picks!
, Annie Jacobsen has once again produced an utterly absorbing and brilliantly reported chronicle that truly breaks new ground. This is a boundary-breaking story of mental phenomena-extra sensory perception techniques-that is truly a pleasure to read. A mind-bending triumph!"—Alex Kershaw, bestselling author of The Liberator and Avenue of Spies
"Richly researched.... Jacobsen shows that, in the face of inexplicable events, even 'the most pragmatic, commonsense thinkers found themselves uncertain.'"
—The New Yorker
"Annie Jacobsen has written an entertaining narrative of the many salaried people in our government who have supported the exploration of psychic phenomena....Much of the information presented is already known, but Jacobsen has accomplished the gargantuan feat of bulldozing it all into one place. She has a keen eye for amusing anecdotes, and writes them up with convincing detail. More than that, Jacobsen has arranged her story in a kind of nonfiction picaresque novel."
—Dick Teresi, New York Times Book Review
"Annie Jacobsen is back with a new tome that should entice anyone who doesn't mind thinking outside the box; or as referenced in her book, as if there is no box.... A well researched and fascinating tale.... It's everything you could possibly want"
—Simon Constable, ForbesPraise for Operation Paperclip
"The most in depth account yet of the lives of Paperclip recruits and their American counterparts.... Jacobsen deftly untangles the myriad German and American agencies and personnel involved...more gripping and skillfully rendered are the stories of American and British officials who scoured defeated Germany for Nazi scientists and their research."—New York Times Book Review
"With Annie Jacobsen's OPERATION PAPERCLIP for the first time the enormity of the effort has been laid bare. The result is a book that is at once chilling and riveting, and one that raises substantial and difficult questions about national honor and security...This book is a remarkable achievement of investigative reporting and historical writing."