Brainwashing: Its History; Use by Totalitarian Communist Regimes; and Stories of American and British Soldiers and Captives Who Defied It
Publisher: Pantianos Classics
ISBN 10: 1789870186
ISBN 13: 978-1789870183
ISBN 10: 0359732631
ISBN 13: 978-0359732630
Intelligence agency veteran and journalist Edward Hunter shares the experiences of men he interviewed who were subject to brainwashing as prisoners in totalitarian communist societies.
A shocking yet informative expose of the history and techniques of brainwashing by communist military and security services, this book commences by delving into the origins of the practice. Ivan Pavlov, a vaunted scientist in the Soviet Union, was an unwitting aide to the process – his experiments on animals, and the discoveries he made therein, would form the basis of the incarceration and interrogation methods used in multiple communist states. The object of such procedures was to break down a person’s ego, and rebuild it in the form of an unwavering supporter to communist ideology.
Chapter by chapter, we are given a detailed guide to the physical and mental manipulations which comprise brainwashing. Supporting this information are multiple interviews and accounts of prisoners who lived to tell of their ordeals. Some of these men are intellectuals, persecuted for their mental prowess, while others are captured soldiers. Many retained their sanity by discovering ways to subvert the process – the harsh interviews, replete with threats, were rebuffed. In short, the playbook of the brainwasher is exposed as having exploitable flaws and weaknesses.
Although the subject is by nature grim and dark, Edward Hunter’s narration is interspersed with humorous narratives. The experiences of British and American POWs during the Korean War are humorous; to the bafflement of their guards, men would feign insanity and pretend to be hallucinating, be it through having an illusory girlfriend or riding a non-existent bicycle. The sense of camaraderie did much to strengthen the resolve of these soldiers, in spite of the adverse conditions of their camp.