Dark Persuasion: A History of Brainwashing from Pavlov to Social Media

Dark Persuasion: A History of Brainwashing from Pavlov to Social Media

by Joel E. Dimsdale
Dark Persuasion: A History of Brainwashing from Pavlov to Social Media

Dark Persuasion: A History of Brainwashing from Pavlov to Social Media

by Joel E. Dimsdale


    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Thursday, December 14
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


A "highly readable and compelling" account (Science) of brainwashing’s pervasive role in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries

“Riveting. . . . Dimsdale . . . shows how the art of dark persuasion a generation ago led almost inevitably to today’s misinformation, cyberbullying and cultlike behavior on the Internet.”—Dina Temple-Raston, Washington Post
This gripping book traces the evolution of brainwashing from its beginnings in torture and religious conversion into the age of neuroscience and social media. When Pavlov introduced scientific approaches, his research was enthusiastically supported by Lenin and Stalin, setting the stage for major breakthroughs in tools for social, political, and religious control.  
Tracing these developments through many of the past century’s major conflagrations, Dimsdale narrates how when World War II erupted, governments secretly raced to develop drugs for interrogation. Brainwashing returned to the spotlight during the Cold War in the hands of the North Koreans and Chinese. In response, a huge Manhattan Project of the Mind was established to study memory obliteration, indoctrination during sleep, and hallucinogens. Cults used the techniques as well. Nobel laureates, university academics, intelligence operatives, criminals, and clerics all populate this shattering and dark story—one that hasn’t yet ended.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300271034
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 02/21/2023
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 688,791
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Joel E. Dimsdale is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry at University of California, San Diego. He consults widely to government agencies and is the author of numerous other works, including Anatomy of Malice: The Enigma of the Nazi War Criminals. He lives in San Diego, CA.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 Before Pavlov: Torture and Conversion 1

Part I Government and Academe

2 Pavlov's Dogs and the Soviet Show Trials 15

3 Extracting Information with Drugs: The Military's Quest in World War II 33

4 A Cold War Prelude to Korea 51

5 The Korean War and the Birth of Brainwashing 62

6 The CIA Strikes Back: Dead Bodies 82

7 Dead Memories: The Canadian Legacy of Ewen Cameron 103

Part II Criminals and Preligious Groups

8 Flash Conversion of Hostages: Stockholm Syndrome and Its Variants 125

9 Patricia Hearst: Where Stockholm Met Indoctrination 136

10 From Racial Harmony to Death in the Jungle 160

11 Heaven's Gate: Beliefs or Delusions? 184

Part III Into the Twenty-First Century

12 The Beleaguered Persistence of Brainwashing 205

13 The Future of Brainwashing in Neuroscience and Social Media 212

Afterword 227

Acknowledgments 229

Notes 233

Index 275

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews