Big Brother … or Ferdinand the Bull?

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(5), 410–411. Reviews the book, War on the Mind: The Military Uses and Abuses of Psychology by Peter Watson (1978). The author divides the book into five sections. The first, on combat, contains chapters dealing with selection and training of the individual soldier, artillery performance including vigilance, and special skills such as bomb disposal, code breaking, and night aircraft landings. The second section looks specifically at stress. The third section is a consideration of the determinants of loyalty and treason, and includes chapters on captivity, interrogation, and brainwashing. A short fourth section looks at survival in adverse environments such as undersea, space, and the Arctic. The book, however, is quite uneven, with engrossing descriptions of investigations followed by dull and sketchy abstracts of laundry lists of findings. The author is to be commended for tackling a project of this magnitude and trying to provide an overview of an enormous and important area of psychological endeavor. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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