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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting exposition on the UFO phenomenon, 7 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Earth: An Alien Enterprise - The Shocking Truth Behind the Greatest Cover-Up in Human History (Hardcover)
Timothy Good is an articulate and well-known UFO researcher who contends that extraterrestrials have been visiting Earth for many years. He believes that they have bases here, and that there's been considerable, but mainly covert, liaison between them and humans. He cites claims that there have been face-to-face meetings between aliens and US presidents, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower. He thinks that there are different groups of aliens, with different agendas, some being positive towards the human race and others (e.g. those involved in abductions and the creation of human-alien hybrids) having sinister intentions. Along with other prominent researchers, such as Richard M. Dolan, he contends that there's been a long-running official cover up of the UFO subject, particularly in the USA.

The book cites a mass of case material and reports, although some of it is controversial. For example, Good (pp. 118-126) discusses the case of a UFO that supposedly crashed in Mexico (close to the US border) in 1955, the event allegedly having been witnessed by a military pilot called Robert B. Willingham. Good believes that the case has substance. But, as he notes, Kevin Randle, another UFO researcher, has criticized Willingham's assertions.

In the course of his extensive research, Good has corresponded with, and met, many people, some of whom have had military or intelligence backgrounds. For example, he refers (pp. 237-239) to the late Pamela Handford, who, he states, served with Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (popularly known as 'MI6'). She informed him about an occasion, in 1984, when she was attending a conference in Italy. It turned out that her hotel suite was adjacent to one occupied by Neil Armstrong, who'd been on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 and was the first man to walk on the Moon. She reportedly overheard him telling a Professor Schwartz that large, technologically superior, alien craft were present on the Moon, and were menacing. (It's not clear whether he meant that the craft acted menacingly or whether he was simply referring to their appearance.) Later that day, at a cocktail party, Handford spoke to him, and he confirmed that the story was true. But he declined to go into further details, other than to say that the CIA was behind the cover-up. Good made some enquiries and eventually obtained a list of people who'd attended the second forum of the conference, but Armstrong, Handford and Schwartz's names weren't on it. This could be seen as detracting from the credibility of the story, although maybe the list was incomplete, or perhaps Armstrong, Handford and Schwartz had attended the first forum, not the second. At any rate, there have been other claims of alien craft being seen by astronauts.

At various points, Good mentions the late Lt Col. Philip J. Corso, author of a 1997 book entitled 'The Day After Roswell'. Good explains that it "caused a sensation with the revelation that [Corso] had been instructed [...] to steward alien artefacts from the Roswell incident in a reverse-engineering project that led to today's integrated circuit chips, fiber optics, lasers, and super-tenacity fibers" (p. 131). But Good fails to mention that Corso's claims have been challenged in a detailed critique by Dr John B. Alexander (himself a former colonel in the US Army) in a 2011 book entitled 'UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities'. Chapter 2 of Alexander's book is headed 'The Corso Conundrum', and Appendix A reproduces a long letter that Alexander sent to Corso, after the publication of the 'The Day After Roswell', querying many of its assertions. Good's book refers to Alexander (pp. 377-378), although not in connection with Corso's claims, and he references Alexander's book in an associated endnote. It's therefore disappointing that he's failed to mention Alexander's critique of Corso's claims. Arguably, in the interests of objectivity and balance, he should have done so, even if he doesn't agree with Alexander's points.

Good appears to believe that some of the UFOs seen over recent decades have been secretly constructed man-made craft, based on alien science and technology. He quotes a story contained in Richard Dolan's 2009 book 'UFOs & the National Security State: The Cover-Up Exposed, 1973-1991'. It concerns an aviation designer, Brad Sorensen, who told Mark McCandlish, an aviation illustrator, about something that Sorensen had supposedly witnessed in November 1988 at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works (a facility where advanced aircraft are produced) in Palmdale, California. According to Sorensen, he was with someone who'd formerly been senior in the USA's Department of Defense. They saw some advanced aircraft in a hangar, including three flying saucers. The latter were floating off the floor. A general, addressing some people nearby, reportedly described the saucers as "Alien Reproduction Vehicles" (ARVs). He claimed, among other things, that the ARV could operate at "light speed or better"! Dolan explains that when Sorensen first told McCandlish and others about this, he said that he'd seen the ARVs at Norton Air Force Base (California) rather than at the Lockheed facility. His changing his story could be seen as diminishing its credibility. But Dolan states that, in 1992, McCandlish met a man called Kent Sellen, who, in 1973, at Edwards Air Force Base (also in California), reportedly saw a craft exactly matching Sorensen's description of the ARV.

The late Ben Rich headed the Skunk Works for a time. Good notes (pp. 137-138) that during a lecture at the University of California in Los Angeles in March 1993, Rich reportedly said: "We already have the means to travel among the stars. But these technologies are locked up in black projects and it would take an Act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity." During discussion after the formal part of the programme, Rich was asked whether the Skunk Works employed theoretical physicists. He said they did, and that they'd proved that Einstein was wrong. (Good's source for this information was a report from an acquaintance of his, Tom Keller, who was present at Rich's lecture.)

On pp. 329-338, Good discusses alleged alien encounters experienced by a Maria M. Rivera and members of her family in north-west Puerto Rico between 2005 and 2010. I had some e-mail contact with Rivera myself after reading an article by her that appeared in 2009 in a now defunct UFO magazine. The article had also been posted on websites, along with video footage, obtained via a mobile phone, of a UFO she'd allegedly seen. Unfortunately, the recording was of rather poor quality. The events Rivera described included classic alien abduction-type experiences, and her seemingly being cured of cancer as a result of alien intervention. Drawing on the aforementioned article and additional information that she'd given me, I wrote an account of her family's experiences and sent it to her, interpolating some queries about specific aspects of what she'd reported. I also enquired whether she could give me an e-mail address for her daughter, so that I could ask her (the daughter) about her recollections of the events. But I received no reply, despite sending a reminder. I knew that Timothy Good had also been in touch with Rivera, and he kindly wrote to her on my behalf, in January 2010. Replying to him, she indicated that she'd been attending to a sick family member and that many e-mails had therefore gone unanswered. But she stated that she would send me an e-mail, although I've heard no more from her. I devoted several pages to the Rivera case in a book of my own ('Zones of Strangeness: An Examination of Paranormal and UFO Hot Spots', published in 2012), but Timothy Good's contact with her lasted until at least 2011, and his account of the case is therefore more up to date. However, I'm not sure whether he was ever in direct communication with anyone from the family other than Rivera herself. On p. 338, he quotes from her daughter-in-law, although it's not clear to me whether the daughter-in-law herself was personally in touch with him, or whether the quotation was included in a communication that Rivera sent to Good. Also on p. 338, he states that Rivera "has produced evidence to support her [Rivera's] abduction claims", but I don't know what he's referring to. Certainly, it would have been impressive if (with her consent) Good had adduced testimony from her doctors, confirming that she'd had cancer and that the disease had completely, and unexpectedly, remitted!

The book contains many lengthy sections of quoted material. They appear with quotation marks, without indentation, and with the same size of font as the rest of the text. I think it would have been neater, and clearer, if they'd been rendered with a smaller font and indented, thus obviating the need for quotation marks (except in the case of quotations appearing within the quoted material). However, Timothy Good informs me that his submitted manuscript did have indented quotations with a smaller font, but his publishers had their own 'house style'.

Although the general standard of writing is good, I found a few passages confusing. I noticed only a couple of grammatical errors, and no spelling errors. As for factual errors, there's one on p. 249, where the late Donald Keyhoe is described as having been an "Air Force Major". In fact, his military service was with the US Marine Corps. On p. 101, there's mention of the late Dr Berthold Schwarz, who's described as a psychologist. However, he was a psychiatrist.

Throughout the book, endnotes are linked to items in the main text with superscript numbers. The superscript numbers should, of course, correspond to the numbers of the relevant endnotes. Unfortunately, in respect of Chapter 15, this concordance has very largely broken down. But to be fair to Good, he's written a very substantial and detailed book, with myriad references, so it's not hard to imagine that errors of this type could accidentally occur.

CONCLUDING COMMENTS

Despite the minor problems mentioned above, I regard this as a very interesting book, and an important contribution to the literature on UFO-related matters.
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