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If the phrase “Let freedom ring” makes you quiver with so much patriotic fervor that you dislodge two or three magnetic car ribbons, pause for a moment to consider why. In World as Laboratory: Experiments With Mice, Mazes, and Men, historian and anthropologist Rebecca Lemov writes of our country’s recurrent enthusiasm for human engineering: “If one could quantify and control the internal area of the personal self…then the running of a modern society would require less brute external force.” Puts a new spin on “Compassionate Conservatism,” doesn’t it? Lemov’s book explores the notorious CIA-backed psychedelic experiments of the mid-20th century, as well as many less insidious—or less obviously insidious—academic studies and social programs. If you don’t think that there’s only a hairbreadth between Americans controlling others and Americans controlling Americans, have a look at who’s making that ringing sound: It might be Pavlov. Ask for whom the bell tolls when Lemov reads at 1 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Pamela Murray Winters)