Brainwashed (Hardback)

A New History of Thought Control

Daniel Pick

A brilliant and mind-bending exploration of brainwashing and thought control

In 1953, a group of prisoners of war who had fought against the communist invasion of South Korea were released. They chose - apparently freely - to move to Mao's China. Among those refusing repatriation were twenty-one American GIs. Their decision sparked alarm in the West: why didn't they want to come home? What was going on?

Soon, people were saying that the POW's had been 'brainwashed'. Was this something new or a phenomenon that has been around for centuries? The belief that it is possible to marshal scientific knowledge to govern someone's mind gained enormous attention. In an era of Cold War paranoia and experimentation on 'altered states', the idea of brainwashing flourished, appearing in everything from critiques of CIA research on LSD to warnings of corporate groupthink, from visions of automaton assassins to conspiracy theories about 'global elites'. Today, brainwashing is almost taken for granted - built into our psychological and political language, rooted in the way we think about minds and societies. How did we get to this point - and why?

Psychoanalyst and historian Daniel Pick delves into the mysterious world of brainwashing in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, from The Manchurian Candidate to ISIS, TV advertising to online algorithms. Mixing fascinating case studies with historical and psychological insights, Brainwashed is a stimulating journey into the mysteries of thought control.

Publication date: 07/07/2022

£20.00

ISBN: 9781781257890

Imprint: Wellcome Collection

Subject: History & Classics, Science & Mathematics

Brainwashed (Ebook)

A New History of Thought Control

Daniel Pick

Preorder from

A brilliant and mind-bending exploration of brainwashing and thought control

In 1953, a group of prisoners of war who had fought against the communist invasion of South Korea were released. They chose - apparently freely - to move to Mao's China. Among those refusing repatriation were twenty-one American GIs. Their decision sparked alarm in the West: why didn't they want to come home? What was going on?

Soon, people were saying that the POW's had been 'brainwashed'. Was this something new or a phenomenon that has been around for centuries? The belief that it is possible to marshal scientific knowledge to govern someone's mind gained enormous attention. In an era of Cold War paranoia and experimentation on 'altered states', the idea of brainwashing flourished, appearing in everything from critiques of CIA research on LSD to warnings of corporate groupthink, from visions of automaton assassins to conspiracy theories about 'global elites'. Today, brainwashing is almost taken for granted - built into our psychological and political language, rooted in the way we think about minds and societies. How did we get to this point - and why?

Psychoanalyst and historian Daniel Pick delves into the mysterious world of brainwashing in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, from The Manchurian Candidate to ISIS, TV advertising to online algorithms. Mixing fascinating case studies with historical and psychological insights, Brainwashed is a stimulating journey into the mysteries of thought control.

Publication date: 07/07/2022

£17.99

ISBN: 9781782833314

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B01MZC0D6I

Imprint: Wellcome Collection

Subject: History & Classics, Science & Mathematics

Reviews for Brainwashed

'Daniel Pick's new book is a fascinating exploration of brainwashing, advertising and other mind manipulations. Focusing on the second half of the 20th century but bringing the story right up to date with a penetrating consideration of recent conspiracy theories, it is absorbing, accessible, scholarly and of profound contemporary importance'

Stephen Frosh, Professor of Psychology at Birkbeck College 

'An extraordinarily engrossing and wide-ranging analysis of a word and a concept. I fell under its spell immediately'

Simon Garfield 

'Praise for Rome or Death'

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'Pick scrupulously examines the scientific background to Garibaldi's obsession ... stimulating, often ingenious approach ... a clever and illuminating study'

 Independent on Sunday

'Tremendous ... Pick tells the story of Garibaldi's failed Tiber venture with flair, mingling psychological speculation with biography and history'

 Sunday Telegraph

'A fascinating dissection of a slice of European history'

 Economist

'A fascinating exploration'

 Daily Telegraph

'Richly absorbing, perceptive, often funny and moving'

 Literary Review

'Intelligent, discriminating, subtle, dispassionate, sensitive to context, and to nuance ... provides the indispensable perspective for further discussion and reasoned argument'

 Times Literary Supplement

Daniel Pick

Daniel Pick

Daniel Pick is a Professor of History at Birkbeck University and a practicing psychoanalyst.