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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2012
As a 'professional scientist' and 'open-minded realist' I was initially sceptical of delving into the whole world of UFOs until I came across this book and the glowing reviews it seems to be getting from well respected members of the scientific, political and military communities. Whilst I, like many of us I would imagine, have little time for the generally uncorroborated and insubstantial hype, stories and shaky video footage of what are blanket termed 'UFOs' that seem to litter the internet, Leslie's book stands out as a beacon of hope for rational, measured and scientific research into a potentially hugely significant phenomenon. For those who have perhaps held a sense of resolute and yet apprehensive curiosity towards the subject of these unexplained events and objects, here is a book that allows one access to a great deal of well researched case studies that leave out potentially inane speculation and focuses on what has actually transpired. Leslie has spent over 10 years in research with, amongst others, the Belgian, Peruvian and French military as well as with government organisations from around the world charged with researching UFOs, including a section of the MoD and French Space Agency. In reading this book, one hopes that more people will learn to approach the subject as Leslie and her co-authors have, rationally, empirically and with a sense of honesty and integrity. Whilst it is all too easy to maintain the childish, frightened and overly defensive attitudes that many of us may hold in hastily ridiculing this phenomenon, well documented military evidence (photos, radar tracks, pilot encounters) and credible observer testimony suggests that it is clearly time to start taking this subject seriously. Whilst, as Leslie writes, 95% of all UFO sightings are generally explainable and/or lacking sufficient data to do so, there seems to be a worldwide margin of around 5% that simply defy present understandings of the laws of physics. There was once a time not very long ago when we could be ridiculed and even put to death for suggesting that that the earth was flat or that it orbited the sun. How have we come to the state of affairs where these days we champion the sciences and the questioning of what we are told and yet we refuse to engage in measured, rational study of a phenomenon which is clearly taking place? As Nick Pope, former researcher at the MoD's UFO desk once said, if just one UFO turned out to be an extraterrestrial spacecraft, the implications are incalculable. In a similar vein, if you were to read just one book on the subject, you could certainly do a great deal worse than to start with this one.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2010
I've been interested in UFOs for about 5 years now ever since my Grandfather told me about the 'foo fighters' (not the band!) that accompanied him and other allied pilots during WW2. I've read about all of the cases included in this book but it was still fascinating to see which of the hundreds of UFO cases "out there" made the cut. Leslie Kean included only those cases which had the most compelling and verifiable evidence, as you'd except from a sharp investigative journalist. It was also fascinating to read the cases from those who had experienced them directly, or from the authorities charged with investigating them. It was very different from what I was used to, which was researching these cases online where you always question the source and the motives of the author. In the book, Kean's sources are impeccable and her motives and those of her co-authors are clearly and reasonably spelled out.

This book represents the best review of the UFO phenomenon to date. It is written from a sceptical perspective and includes only the best cases on record from 1970 to 2010 including the Chicago O'Hare UFO (2006) and the Alaskan 747 UFO (1986). Even though I've read about these cases before I still get excited when I read about them and the details included for each case really make it easy to imagine you are there, experiencing these thrilling events for yourself. Fortunately, I was on holiday when I read it because I don't think I could have focused if I had to take a break to go to work! I almost wish I had not known about UFOs before I read this book because before it was published, finding the quality cases within required many challenging hours of research. I can only imagine what it would have been like to have read one fascinating case after another, in dazzling, unnerving, clarity, while not having to worry if it was fabricated or exaggerated.

The final third of the book talks about the history, psychology, sociology and politics of the UFO phenomenon and ends with a plan of how to move forward on this issue, both from within the scientific community and as interested observers. It's an incredibly powerful piece of writing, researched over 10 years and written in the last 2 years, it actually manages to wipe the UFO slate free of the lunatic fringe and misinformation on both sides (debunkers and believers). It's an attempt to drag all those who will listen into the middle ground of agnostic scepticism. Let's hope it succeeds and a new open, rational era in UFO research is starting.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Leslie Kean is an independent investigative journalist known for pioneering human rights work in Burma. As Director of the Coalition for Freedom of Information, between 2005 and 2009 she fought and won a FOIA federal lawsuit against NASA to release "lost" records on the 1965 Kecksburg PA incident. She is patient, persistent, tenacious and skeptical. Her new book, ten years in the making and two years in the writing, has received open endorsement from so many leading politicians and scientists that it just might be a game-changer.

The intended audience is not the committed reader steeped in the lore of UFOs or discussions of the ETH and competing origin-hypotheses. Plenty of books explore these subjects and their readership is, against the mainstream, pitifully small and marginalised. Such works, however well-researched, are often self-published or condemned to share shelf-space with political CTs, channelling and new-age mush; often undeservedly consigned to the ghetto of the kooky, ridiculed fringe.

Readers familiar with the works of Allen Hynek, Jacques Vallee, Tim Good, Jerry Clark, Stan Friedman, Richard Dolan and writers of similar calibre will find little new here, though they will find a few interesting nuggets. They are already persuaded of the evidence, and not the target audience for this book. These writers, collectively, have never effected political attitude-change: the contributors to this book are such serious, credible, high-profile people they just might.

Kean's target audience is professional academia, those involved in politics and the media, the skeptically-minded scientist with little familiarity with the subject matter due to its long contamination with fringe elements, and the concerned, civic-minded man or woman in the street who has never read a book on the issue and knows little of the powerful evidence for the existence of persistent strange aerial phenomena. The book is carefully crafted to bring the subject out of the UFO conference fringe and place it firmly centre-stage into the political and academic mainstream where it belongs; to make it a respectable and important subject for discussion. The argument is: These are responsible officials going on the record, and here is serious evidence of something real. You are irresponsible if you ignore this subject, or allow it to continue to be marginalised.

To this end, the book's tone is deliberately sceptical. The tag-line "Generals, Pilots and Government Officials go on the Record" describes exactly the content: only incontestable cases with multiple official witnesses plus supporting evidence have been chosen for inclusion. The author worked for years to contact and gain the confidence of these military pilots and high-profile government officials and to bring them together at the National Press Club in DC in November 2007. High priority is given to cases involving air force encounters; documented, confirmed, official. The contributors are truly international, confirming the global reach of the phenomenon.

This cautious tone, the international perspective and the author's avoidance of contamination by book jacket-cover endorsement from anyone associated with the "UFO community" sets this book apart from other work on the subject. This will be extremely difficult for a debunker to deal with, and that is the intention. Journalistic standards are high, so there are no "anonymous whistleblowers", no ID kept secret, nothing flaky or un-checkable. These establishment people have gone ON THE RECORD, and write in total around half the content of the 302 pages of the book. Introducing the section written by Nick Pope, Kean writes: "He is yet another example of the many officials and military officers who, as they became acquainted with UFO investigations by accident, flexed their skeptical muscles only to find themselves absorbed by the unexpected power of the evidence they had initially expected to disprove." The accumulated evidence presented is virtually un-debunkable.

Kean contrasts the relatively open way the UFO subject has been managed in recent decades by nations such as France, Belgium, the UK, Brazil, Peru and others, with the history of stonewalling and ridicule from all government and military bodies in the USA. Since the closing of Blue Book, the phenomenon no longer officially exists in the USA even though pilots, operators of military facilities and ordinary folk encounter it all the time. It's an Orwellian environment. What is to be done?

In the third and final section of the book, the author explores the nature of UFO secrecy in the US. She sticks to the facts as known and documented, and acknowledges the unsupported speculations frequently put out by various people in the UFO field about the cover-up inhibit understanding of the issue and serve to marginalise the subject. Her reasoning is logical, thorough and grounded.

In Chapter 26, "Engaging the US Government," Kean lays out the reasoned objective sought by the CFI:

"The coalition is asking for responsible action on the part of the United States concerning UFOs. We make this request not as an accusation of wrongdoing in the past, but as an invitation to join an international, cooperative venture under way now...we are seeking the creation of a small government agency to investigate UFO incidents, and to act as a focal point for action at home and for research worldwide."

Her objective is to bring about legitimization of the subject, so that scientific interest might be encouraged and government grants enable scientists in the academic, research and aviation fields to pursue serious study free of ridicule. She is not impotently shouting for "Disclosure" whilst remaining forever shut outside. She, and the impressive contributors to this book, ask for official recognition of the UFO issue as real, and for the establishment of a small agency to co-ordinate international study as a first step. No assumptions about the origin of the phenomenon are made: just that it exists, and needs to be acknowledged as real. It's a reasoned, achievable objective, unarguable in the face of the unassailable evidence presented here. That's why this book might be the catalyst for permanent recognition of legitimacy: in other words, a game-changer.

The production quality of the book is first class and the writing from all contributors literate, straightforward and completely free of typos. It has a logical structure, is an easy and absorbing read containing nothing extraneous, concerned with the facts and testimonies. It builds a compelling argument. If you haven't read it yet, maybe you should.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 30 November 2011
Kean commendably attempts to address the UFO subject from a rational standpoint in an effort to lift the topic out of the realm of the nutters and into serious journalism.

She has presented statements from a variety of military, scientific, government and aviation personnel, many of them high-ranking and retired, who give their recollections or analyses of unexplained aerial phenomena.

The cases referred to will be familiar to those already interested in the subject, though some may be surprised that she gives little or no coverage to many well-known personalities and stories, including Roswell.

The underlying focus of the book is on why the US persists in avoiding any engagement with either its own citizens or official bodies in other nations on the subject of UFOs. She explains that several countries have an open policy on the matter and some, most notably France, take UFOs seriously, not least because they pose a potential threat to air safety and she cites some instances where American nuclear missiles appear to have been rendered inoperative by UAPs. The US, she observes, does not respond to requests from other nations for its participation in UFO research. She and some of her contributors consider why this is the case.

Kean spent ten years researching for the book, so she presumably heard many stories of reverse-engineering from persons claiming to have worked on such projects and counter-claims that UFOs are a man-made cover for Black Projects. These topics would benefit from her approach but she gives them little attention.

Overall, there is a sense that she has chosen her cases with great care to avoid being linked with sensationalists, which is understandable, but for some the book may seem only half complete. It would be interesting if Kean followed up with a second volume which addresses, in the same serious journalistic and investigative manner, the subjects which she seems to carefully side-step in this one.

The paucity of photographs suggests extreme selectiveness of material. Following publication, Kean was dismayed to learn that the famous delta-shaped Belgian UFO, pictures of which she presents as a good example of an unknown craft, was admitted to be a hoax.

Nonetheless, this is a worthy, if cautious, start on bringing a much derided and taboo topic into the public domain in a format which puts scientific investigation first and disassociates the subject from its more outlandish adherents. It remains to be seen if this will be a one-off or if other investigators will follow her lead.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2012
This book is very timely. With all the uncovering of hidden truths in the world of politics, finance, and other established institutions - as fissures in the very foundations of our world become ever larger and we become increasingly uncertain about our lives, investigative journalist Leslie Kean has carried out a superbly thorough job in proving the existence of something which has bothered governments, the military and the media for decades. But more importantly, why the phenomenon is treated with such ridicule.

Interviewing only credible witnesses such as pilots both military and civilian, and government officials willing to cooperate, Kean proves beyond all doubt that objects beyond our understanding criss-cross our skies, and on occasion interact remotely with humans.

The book never deviates into subjectivity, guesswork or little green men, but sticks rigidly to the facts. But above all, it explains in detail why the world in general treats this inexplicable phenomenon with such derision, and the lengths the American government has gone to in order to perpetuate this approach.

This book should be read by everyone, sceptics and believers. Because it brings to light something which could potentially shake the foundations of all religions, politics and science - in fact the very understanding of all life on Earth.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 25 December 2010
As an avid UFO believer, indeed my wife and I have been fortunate to witness things in flight that defy physics, as we understand them, I found this book to be extremely well balanced and presented all the corroborated facts.

There is something out there, their intentions are not clear at this stage, but to ignore the UFO 'problem' is a mistake that we will most certainly live to regret.

The USA either know more than they have, or ever will disclose, and are confident that their visitations are 'innocent' or they publicly ignore the UFO phenomena because they realise that they can't do anything about it. The Phoenix wave of UFO's in 1997 is a point in fact.

Their capabilities are immeasurably superior to our own and my fear is, as Darwin's theory appears to be replicated in all living things, that their intentions may signal the end for Humankind. A point that is covered in this book; colonisation or extinction.

This book is not for the faint hearted but I urge anyone who has a serious interest in the UFO issue and is prepared to examine our own existence, vulnerability and place in the Universe to read it.
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on 25 November 2014
If your mind is open, this is a compelling read. Anyone convinced that there is no such thing as E.T.s and UFOs might wonder why many believe in God without ever having seen him, yet deny the existence of UFOs, which have been recorded globally for centuries. This book relates some of the many convincing sightings and accounts by credible professionals, many of whose lives and beliefs have changed forever because of what they have seen with their own eyes. Some pilots have reported sightings belatedly because to have done so at the time risked losing their jobs.

The most convincing sightings and interactions are in fact between UFOs and pilots, from all corners of the planet, [seen on radar and confirmed by many other sightings], many occurring near or over sensitive military installations. The book makes it clear that the USA is hiding information, and the reader itches to know why. In terms of transparency France is way ahead, with the USA [who disengaged in UFO records by closing their Blue Book as far back as 1969] is so far behind as to be in itself suspicious. Despite near collisions between aircraft and UFOs, the USA states that there is no danger! On January 6th 1995 there was a near collision between a Boeing 737 and a UFO as it neared Manchester airport, with many other proven instances in the book.

So little is known about interplanetary travel, worm holes, bending space, etc., that we cannot [yet] know the answers to all the burning questions and conclusions on this topic, from how-can-it-be-possible, to why-not? Prior to this book I had an open mind, but am now convinced that there are indeed UFOs and E.T.s monitoring our planet, and that the USA, while knowing this for a fact, disguise what they know by denying the phenomena exists.

I hope, however, that the author will forgive me correcting a mistake. She writes that in 1978 Sir Eric Gairy, then prime minister of Grenada, proposed to the UN General Assembly that an agency or department of UN undertake, coordinate and disseminate the results of research into UFO and related phenomena, but that Gairy’s efforts came to nothing because he was executed in a communist takeover. The person who was ‘executed’ in a coup in 1983 was Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, Gairy’s successor. In reality Gairy’s ousting occurred while his back was turned; in fact while he attending the ad hoc UN conference of UFO experts in Miami, [mentioned in the book] facilitated by his fellow enthusiast, Kurt Waldheim, UN Secretary General at the time. Following the UN conference Gairy was exiled in the USA until his return to Grenada in 1983. He didn’t die until 1997.
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on 9 November 2012
A very interesting and thought provoking book.

The author...Leslie Kean...makes the case that UFOs are objectively real and supports that claim by presenting a very impressive collection of actual UFO cases where the witnesses are of the very highest calibre not only in terms of their observational skills but also in terms of their honesty, integrity and their seniority in government, the military and in civil aviation. The witnesses are all well educated, well trained, very professional people occupying very senior positions and they are all saying the same thing. UFOs are a reality. They have seen them with their own two eyes and have had the courage to stand up and say so.

The author takes a truly sceptical position on the subject i.e. that this is a serious subject; that it's worthy of serious scientific (and properly funded) research; that there is currently no "hard evidence" that these UFOs are extra terrestrial; that the letter "U" in the acronym "UFO" means UNIDENTIFIED but that that the whole subject needs to be approached with an open mind that at least concedes the POSSIBILITY that extra terrestrial intelligence MIGHT be involved in the phenomenon.

The author firmly plants her standard on the middle ground between the "believers" and the "de-bunkers" and challenges the reader to make up his/her own mind on the issue. That's why this book is so refreshing.

For anyone with an interest in the UFO phenomenon this is a "must read" book and I would definitely recommend it
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on 30 September 2011
This book is a selection of UFO eyewitness accounts from high ranking officials around the world, interspersed with a history of the US government's stance on the subject through the decades, concluding with something of a roadmap towards possible transparency and scientific recognition of the phenomenon.

For the most part, it is breathtaking. Some of the accounts contained in this book are simply mind-blowing, and the background of the witnesses makes it all the more astonishing. Their official roles, along with their expertise in areas such as flight dynamics and radar technologies, lend each of the incidents a definite credibility. In short, these aren't your average UFO claims.

Despite the revelatory nature of the book I found the author's writing style quite difficult to get into. It's not that there's anything particularly wrong with it, but it reads like an academic paper at times and doesn't exactly make for a page-turner. It's not that it's particularly complicated, it's just quite monotonous. The sections that don't have eyewitness accounts feel drawn out and laborious. I'm aware that the book aims to avoid sensationalising the subject matter by presenting things as plainly as possible, but I don't think it should have dispensed with entertainment in such a severe way. That said, it doesn't take away from the quite remarkable content of the book as a whole.

All things considered, I think this book is a vital addition on the subject and I hope that it helps usher in a new era of serious debate. It certainly has the potential to.
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on 19 August 2014
Great book by Leslie Kean.
No guessing about facts, no speculation, no wild conclustions reached, just plain hard research and facts.
The book is so good because not only has Leslie Kean done so much research for this book, but the other people that she has got to give their stories are of the highest standard.
If this book doesn't convince you that something very strange is happening in our sky's on a regular basis & is being brushed under the carpet nothing will.
I already knew about a lot of the cases but still read things I didn't know until reading this book.
A skeptic or debunker doesn't need proof to deny that something isn't real & debunkers know this.
Anybody can change the facts to deny something like UFOs.
Where on the other hand getting hard proof that UFOs are indeed real is nearly impossible.
Leslie Kean gets as close to the real truth as I think is possible without Goverments telling all they know.
I know that drones are real and flying around our skys but that doesn't mean that I'll ever see one or get you a high quality picture or video of one.
So imagine how hard it is to get real evidence of a far more advanced UFO flying around our sky's.
Nobody claimes to know what UFOs are or where they are from.
But that doesn't mean that they are not real and flying around our sky's at will.
Read this book it may answer some questions that open minded people may have.
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