MixedNatureSecrest focuses more on the Olivetti family than its products. There is a bare-bones description of the P101 and how it was developed...But there is little more on what must be an intriguing techie history ... Secrest thus also misses several opportunities to tease out intriguing storylines ... The book’s treatment of espionage is at times more detailed than its take on tech ... This conspiracy-mongering is a shame. Secrest does all the right research, and the clues to the company’s troubles (and Olivetti’s woes) are right in front of her. In an era of rampant conspiracy theories, we rely on scholarship to pull out the facts, not just the speculation ... Yet this book is, in other ways, a laudable attempt. It shines when describing Adriano Olivetti’s interest in architecture. Secrest writes well on the aesthetics of Olivetti machines...Her biographer’s instinct is also to be applauded. As she laments, \'the Programma 101 has not been well served by computer historians on or off the Internet.\' She is right. That record remains to be filled.
MixedThe New York Times Book Review... adds a key detail to this fascinating history ... Kinzer’s retelling of the MK-ULTRA story is unsparing in its gruesome details, but not overwrought. Those looking for entirely new revelations, however, won’t find them here — in part, because information from the surviving records has already come to light, first through the investigations of the Senate committee headed by Frank Church of Idaho in the mid-1970s, and then a few years later, in 1978, thanks to John Marks’s book The Search for the Manchurian Candidate. (Kinzer draws liberally from Marks and other secondary accounts, and occasionally one wishes he had cited more original source material.) ... Gottlieb has previously been treated as a historical footnote, but Kinzer elevates him to his proper place as one of the C.I.A.’s most influential and despicable characters ... Kinzer’s book is also a good reminder that there is rarely legal accountability for the C.I.A.’s misdeeds ... Given that this is a biography, it’s worth noting there is one Gottlieb endeavor omitted from an otherwise comprehensive book, the poisoner in chief’s role in another equally questionable, though less harmful, endeavor: parapsychology.