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Flying Saucerers: A Social History of UFOlogy Paperback – 19 Apr 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Alternative Albion (19 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905646003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905646005
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 1.7 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 964,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'... there is no doubt in my mind that Flying Saucerers is one of the most important ufological contributions of the last few years; and it is vital reading for anyone and everyone that has an interest in belief systems, how beliefs, ideas and theories originate, grow, mutate, become accepted, and are then perceived as hard fact... ' -- Nick Redfern

'Invaluable insight into a key period of ufology 9/10.' Peter Brookesmith
-- Fortean Times

'The best book on the flying saucer phenomenon for 20 years, by the two most sane commentators on the subject.' Paul Screeton -- Folklore Frontiers

About the Author

David Clarke is a British university lecturer. He obtained his PhD in `Folklore and Cultural Tradition' in 1999, and now teaches Media Studies at Sheffield Hallam University. He also lectures on the subjects of supernatural belief and urban legends at the National Centre for English Cultural Tradition (part of the University of Sheffield).

Andy Roberts is a veteran fortean writer, researcher and broadcaster. He has written eight books on the subjects of UFOs and folklore and has contributed to many journals including The Guardian and Fortean Times.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Richardson on 21 April 2007
Format: Paperback
This is without doubt the most interesting and worthwhile book I have

read on the topic of UFOlogy. You will not find any detailed

discussion of secret underground research facillities in the

Nevada desert! However you will find a fascinating social history of

UFOlogy in Britain from the 1950s to the late 1970s. Generally the UFOlogists in

themselves make far more interesting subjects than do UFOs, the same can

be said for 'contactees'. Clarke and Roberts provide their account of the history

of UFOlogy with a social and political background, the Cold War climate

played a crucial role in allowing the idea that Earth could

be visited by Martians or Venusians to gain credibility amongst the

public, and certain figures within the establishment. The book is

written with humour, but that is not to say that the authors simply

mock or ridicule the characters they describe, however I defy anyone

not to laugh out loud when they read the story of George King's

tranformation from taxi driver to spiritual guru:

"According to King himself, following several years of yoga and

estoteric study,that moment came on the morning of 8 May 1954 as he

was washing up in his Maida Vale flat, when he heard a disembodied

voice anounce, 'Prepare yourself you are to become the voice of

Interplanetary Parliament'"

The Flying Saucerers is a superb book that combines a serious social

and historical narrative, with undeniably entertaining accounts of some very

eccentric and quite appealing personalities. In some respects the world

is probably duller place for their absence.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
You can study the dream but not the pudding... 9 Aug 2013
By Cato - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Flying Saucerers is a great book. Its subject is not flying saucers (or UFOs) but the people who see, report or study them and the people who write about them.

The authors give many facts which may disappoint you at first glance, but that doesn't mean you can ignore them. Just a few:
1) People who report UFOs are not necessarily people who see them. There have been many false reportings. Some of them for fun, others to gain attention, fame or money. Many hoaxers confessed their 'crime', but true believers seldom change their mind. They rather hide behind strange conspiracy theories, talk about threats (mostly from the Men In Black) or harbour other ideas which are more outlandish than the alleged UFO sighting in the first place.
2) There is no hard evidence in the form of engine parts or something like that. So the ufologists have been studying reports (vague) photographs and such, and not the UFOs themselves.
3) Fake reports have engendered many corroborating stories. When Sir Patrick Moore, an astronomer with a particular sense of humour, said he had seen a UFO, many people testified they had seen the same thing.
4) Ufology has the character of a religion. Believers are not very interested in facts, but in keeping the myth alive.

Well, just buy the book and read the rest for yourself.

The authors come to a conclusion I heartily agree with. When I explain my opinion about UFOs, I always compare it with a person who dreams a lot about puddings. Doctors may study the dreams, but not the puddings. Why? Because it isn't there.
The same with UFOs. People certainly think they see them. Some people even DO see them, for all we know. Just as people see the Virgin Mary, fairies or ghosts. What would be very interesting to study, are the underlying systems: how come pleople see things that are not there?

The authors give several possible answers. Fist: people NEED to see them, as they are afraid and/or feel lost. That would explain why the modern UFO phenomenon started right after WW II and flared up when things threatened to go horribly wrong, as during the Cold War. People were losing confidence in politics and religion, and needed other myths. Another aspect is: people were being fed with images. Most of the time by newspapers and books (fiction), which planted the roots of the myth, if not whole stories, in the readers' minds. This was not done out of some sinister motive, but because journalists, authors and editors recognized a good story when they found one.

One point of critique about the book is the VERY unpunctual language. It gives you the impression that especially the word 'the' was extremely expensive, as it is omitted countless times. Verbs are lost or appear twice (which may result in a fair average). My native language is Dutch, but even I got rather irritated about the number of errors in the text.
If it would have been edited better, this book would have earned the fifth star.

Even so: this is a very interesting book. Read it.
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