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Harvard and the Unabomber : the education of an American terrorist

by Chase, Alston.

Format: Print Book 2003
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction HV6248.K235 C48 2003
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  HV6248.K235 C48 2003
Northland Public Library Biography B KACZYNSKI
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  B KACZYNSKI
Wilkinsburg Public Library Nonfiction 92 KACZNSKI
Location  Wilkinsburg Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  92 KACZNSKI
Alston Chase presents an intepretation 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 interweaved with this narrative is the chilling counterpoint of Kaczynki's coded journal entries on the efficiacy of materials and techniques - the stark record of a killer's learning curve. alienation remain in place and may be getting worse as the War on Terrorism replaces the Cold War.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Chase, who, like Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, graduated from Harvard and fled academe for the Montana wilderness, here offers a new slant on the triple murderer and doctor of philosophy. According to the author, the philosophical roots of Kaczynski's anti-industrialism began with Harvard's curriculum in the late 1950s. Chase writes that it cultivated the view, later to be called cultural or moral relativism, that democratic society and its institutions were sheer power relations and bereft of intrinsic value. Chase then sets forth the etymology, so to speak, of the killer's more particular thoughts, concluding that Kaczynski was a cherry picker among quite old and common execrations of technology. Tying in the killer's personal rages, Chase suggests that social awkwardness and participation in a traumatizing psychological experiment (led by the unorthodox psychologist Henry A. Murray) underlay Kaczynski's exaltation in planning and "justifying" his crimes. It takes an intellectual to think like that, and Chase astutely and provocatively delineates Kaczynski's metamorphosis into a Raskolnikov. --Gilbert Taylor"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Chase adds an important element to our understanding of the infamous Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. Part of what made Kaczynski an iconic figure after his arrest in 1996 for 16 mail bombings (resulting in three deaths) between 1978 and 1995 was his unusual background as a highly gifted, Harvard-educated mathematician. While the media found comfort in writing him off as a mental case, more remarkable was how seemingly typical Kaczynski was. Bucking the conventional wisdom, Chase (In a Dark Wood) identifies Kaczynski as a victim more of the anxious and contradictory Cold War 1950s than of the incendiary 1960s. With a background strikingly similar to Kaczynski's-including both a Harvard degree and self-imposed exile in Montana-Chase is in a unique position to probe the underlying tensions that led Kaczynski to commit dispassionate murder in the name of ideals. Chase persuasively isolates the turning point in his subject's years at Harvard, "where lasting human relations are more rare than championship football teams." In Cambridge he faced the typical Harvard pressures but, more importantly, was a subject of three years' worth of what many will agree were wildly irresponsible psychological experiments led by maverick psychology pioneer Henry A. Murray. While the conclusions Chase draws are unimpeachable, his description of the fateful experiments feels truncated, no doubt because some records remain sealed. Chase's disenchanted indictment of academia (represented here by Harvard) as lackey to the military-industrial complex is all the more compelling for the author's unruffled sense of perspective. With its unusual emphasis and sometimes surprisingly personal tone, this may become the definitive Kaczynski volume. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW. Agent, Deborah Grosvenor. (Mar.) Forecast: Chase's revelations about Murray's experiment could generate wide interest and controversy; no doubt this will be widely reviewed. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Kaczynski, Theodore John, -- 1942-
Serial murderers -- United States -- Biography.
Serial murderers -- United States -- Psychology.
Bombers (Terrorists) -- United States -- Biography.
Bombers (Terrorists) -- United States -- Psychology.
Publisher New York :W.W. Norton,2003
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description 432 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 377-419) and index.
ISBN 0393020029 (hardcover)
Other Classic View