Monday, August 13, 2012

UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry

I haven't reviewed books in years, and my last attempts at reviewing really culminated in the Web pages of "UFO Updates," when researcher Wendy Connors (now retired) offered magnificent samples from her extensive UFO-related historical audio collection on compact discs.

But today I'm willing to take a giant step in blindly recommending a book I haven't even read, based simply upon knowing who was involved with its publication.

UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry ($29.95 trade paperback, 594 pages, 350 illustrations) is edited by Michael Swords and Robert Powell, names familiar to level heads in the UFO inquiry arena, and draws upon the work of U.S. and international UFO researchers who never fail to have something constructive to say about the phenomenon.  Jan Aldrich, Bill Chalker and Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos will instantly be recognized for their efforts, and I am very pleased that contributors include veteran researcher and author Barry Greenwood, who generously provided historical material for my blog (see link) about the 1956 United Artists documentary motion picture, "U.F.O." 

Because I won't actually review the book here, I'll shamelessly borrow directly from the Anomalist Books advertising blurb:


Governments around the world have had to deal with the UFO phenomenon for a good part of a century. How and why they did so is the subject of “UFOs and Government,” a history that for the first time tells the story from the perspective of the governments themselves. It’s a perspective that reveals a great deal about what we citizens have seen, and puzzled over, from the “outside” for so many years.

The story, which is unmasked by the governments’ own documents, explains much that is new, or at least not commonly known, about the seriousness with which the military and intelligence communities approached the UFO problem internally. Those approaches were not taken lightly. In fact, they were considered matters of national security. At the same time, the story reveals how a subject with such apparent depth of experience and interest became treated as if it were a triviality. And it explains why one government, the United States government, deemed it wise, and perhaps even necessary, to treat it so. Though the book focuses primarily on the U. S. government’s response to the UFO phenomenon, also included is the treatment of the subject by the governments of Sweden, Australia, France, Spain, and other countries.
This book is the result of a team effort that called itself the UFO History Group, a collection of veteran UFO historians and researchers who spent more than four years researching, consulting, writing, and editing to present a work of historical scholarship on government response to the UFO phenomenon.


Okay, it's me, Robert again.  The other irresistible thing about this book seems to be a glowing foreword from researcher Jerome Clark.  Any book held in good graces by Jerry Clark, himself a prolific author, must be something special.  Olympic gold medal stuff.  Again quoting from the Anomalist Books ad:


From the foreword by Jerome Clark: “While UFOs and Government revisits an often unhappy history, the reading of it is far from an unhappy experience. The authors, eloquent, intelligent, sophisticated, and conscientious, provide us with the first credible, comprehensive overview of official UFO history in many years… Most of the current volume deals with U.S. military and intelligence responses to the UFO phenomenon, but it also features richly informative chapters that expand the story across the international arena. If you’re looking for an example of a nation that dealt productively with the UFO reports that came its official way, you will take heart in the chapter on the French projects… From here on, every responsible treatment of UFOs and government will have to cite UFOs and Government prominently among its sources… this is the real story as accurately as it can be reconstructed in the second decade of the new century. I expect to keep my copy close at hand and to return to it often. While it cannot be said of many books, UFO-themed or otherwise, this is among the essential ones. Stray from it at your peril.”


And what's between the covers?  All of this, per Anomalist Books:

Foreword by Jerome Clark vii
Preface x
Prologue xii
Chapter 1. World War II and the Immediate Post-War Era 3
Chapter 2. Ghost Rockets 12
Chapter 3. The Flying Disks and the United States 30
Chapter 4. A Formalized UFO Project 48
Chapter 5. Grudge 71
Chapter 6. Duck and Cover 90
Chapter 7. Transition 112
Chapter 8. Tacking Against the Wind 139
Chapter 9. The CIA Solution 170
Chapter 10. Intermission 204
Chapter 11. A Cold War 208
Chapter 12. Something Closer This Way Comes 238
Chapter 13. Battle in the Desert 271
Chapter 14. The Colorado Project 306
Chapter 15. After the Close of Blue Book 336
Chapter 16. The Swedish Military’s UFO History 361
Chapter 17. The Australian Military and the Official Government Response 373
Chapter 18. UFO Secrecy and Disclosure in Spain 423
Chapter 19. UFOs and France—Beginnings of a Scientific Investigation 439
Chapter 20. Glimpses of Episodes in Other Countries 456
Epilogue 468
Appendix 472
Illustration and Photography Credits 530
Bibliography 540
About the Authors 559
Name Index 561
Subject Index 569
UFO Event Index 577

Intriguing, what?  As soon as you get over the astonishment of Leslie Kean's, Robert
Hastings' and Robert Salas' books of recent years, sober readers of UFO literature will want to check this one out.