Author Series Event: Discussing Stephen Kinzer's "Poisoner in Chief"

  • September 20, 2019
  • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Qatar-America Institute, 101 Constitution Ave. NW 901 Washington, DC 20001

Registration is closed

Stephen Kinzer, the Bestselling Author of The Brothers and All the Shah’s Men, 

Tells the Astonishing Story of the Man Who Oversaw

the CIA’s Secret Medical Experiments of the 1950s and ’60s

In Cold War America, the United States government claimed that “no sacrifice in the fight against Communism—of money, morality or human life—could be considered excessive.” Enter Sidney Gottlieb, a stuttering, club-footed man from the Bronx and a visionary chemist, who would become known as the “poisoner in chief” and almost single-handedly led and shaped MK-ULTRA, one of America’s most infamous government operations. Stephen Kinzer’s POISONER IN CHIEF: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control (Henry Holt and Company; September 10, 2019; 9781250140432; $30; 368 pp.) explores the twisted, horrifying, and brilliant experiments Sidney Gottlieb carried out to examine what he believed to be the key to mind control: LSD.

Drawing on original interviews, survivors’ testimony, and documentary research, Kinzer brings to light this massive hunt for the secret of mind control that spanned several countries, including the work of Nazi scientists, and lead to experimentation on government employees (willing and unwilling), foreign politicians, children, prisoners, sex workers, and anyone else the poisoner in chief deemed threatening or “expendable.”


Stephen Kinzer is the author of nine books, including The True Flag, The Brothers, Overthrow, and All the Shah’s Men. An award-winning foreign correspondent, he served as the New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua, Germany, and Turkey. He is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, and writes a world affairs column for the Boston Globe. He lives in Boston.