During the 50s and 60s the CIA directed a serious of programs in mind control, in which they used ordinary citizens as guinea pigs. None went as far as the Allan Memorial Institute set up in Montreal by the eminent psychiatrist Dr. Ewen Cameron, with the connivance of the Canadian government. In the name of research into brainwashing, he cruelly misused people who had minorostensibly temporarypsychiatric complaints, such as post-partum depression, as was the case with the author's own mother.
Nickson has employed the devices and textures of fiction to reveal the heart of this terrifying story. She tells it from the perspective of a family enmeshed in a web of treachery. She takes us from a Washington courtroom back to bitter-sweet scenes of an idyllic Canadian childhood which held frightening secrets. She shows us a girl, adoring and protective of her beautiful society mother whose behaviour increasingly puzzled and alienated her. Layer by layer, the truth is unwrapped as warily as if it were a time bomba time bomb the CIA anticipates with a barrage of lawyers and dirty tricks.
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