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Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base Paperback – 2 Feb 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (2 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409136868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409136866
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 3.5 x 14.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"An informative history...about the creativity, political acumen and courage of the high-flying Cold Warriors who sought to protect the free world in the decades after World War II."--Bloomberg "Andrew Dunn "

Book Description

The explosive, untold story of the Cold War's biggest secret. The REAL X-Files.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wish I'd tried the free preview with the Kindle. Then I'd have known that the author's first primary source (of the 70 or so people she claims to have interviewed) was (in)famous conspiracy theory superstar Bob Lazar. She glosses over most of his claims and outright ignores his most outlandish ones while playing him up as an authoritative source on this most secretive of places.

I'd have also noticed some of the quite bizarre and jarring factual errors/typos (claiming the CIA had no idea what the USSR was up to "west of the Volga, let alone west of the Urals" when she surely meant "east" being the most egregious example).

At this point I abandoned it as a serious work of research (try Trevor Paglens excellent book Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon's Secret World if you want that). Instead I pressed on with it as a sort of techno/conspiracy thriller and actually it works really well in that genre - and as such I won't spoil the twist.

Fans of the X-Files might like this book (and people who think the X-Files is a documentary definitely will), just don't expect a serious academic work.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
4 stars here. Inevitably, Area 51 drives conspiracy nuts crazy and anyone with more than half a mind knows that secret aircraft have to be developed somewhere and a secret airfield in the middle of the desert is a good place to do it ! SO it should be no surprise that someone has written a book to tell us that that is precisely what has been happening ! Year by year, the last "UFO wave" turns out to be the latest military stealth machine ... And I am sure this will get worse as unmanned aeroplanes are becoming more common and an unmanned plane can turn 90 degrees at MAch 7 without flattening the pilot because he's ensconced in a comfortable chair in an office somewhere and not in the plane at all ! A good read but rather disappointing as I was expecting to learn something about REAL UFOs and all I got was secret military developments !
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Format: Paperback
CAUTION; SPOILERS. Now, at first glance this appears to be a scholarly history of spooky old Area 51, where conspiracy nuts claim downed saucers are reverse engineered and alien bodies dissected.
But Annie's having none of that - she doesn't believe aliens are involved, and takes us through the fascinating history of this area and the various high tech armoury birthed there. There's also plenty of jaw dropping accounts of deadly A bomb tests that were ill advised at best but potentially planet- destroying at worst.
So far, so good; but any good work is undone by the last chapter where Annie loses the plot in a major way - SPOILER COMING - apparently, a UFO did crash at Roswell, but it was sent there by Stalin, and piloted by genetically engineered handicapped children who just looked like aliens.
Stalin got the technology from - guess who - the nazis, who had incredibly advanced tech but completely forgot to deploy it in any way to help them win the war; oh those crazy National Socialists.
So, in order to scare the Americans into thinking there were aliens, Stalin sends his most precious piece of technology straight into US hands where it can be studied and replicated. He also fills it full of children, making him officially a techno-liability-child-abuser.
WHY Stalin would hand over this tech, and WHY he thought he'd scare the US with his creepy alien children plan isn't really explained to any satisfaction, going, as it does, against any concept of logic or sense.
But Annie tells us that it's so, and that people who believe in UFO's are a bit sad, while she, who believes in Stalin's great Saucer/Handicap plot, is completely on the money. A shame, then, because the rest of the book really is fascinating, if true. But by the time you've read that last chapter, you do find the ground shifting beneath your feet somewhat.
Mind you, Stalin was insane so perhaps.......no. Oops she nearly had me there for a moment.
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Format: Hardcover
Annie Jacobsen's sensational "tell-all" book is nothing of the sort. Rife with factual errors, relying heavily on unnamed sources some of whom now have come forward to deny involvement with secret programs or the author, this should be relegated to at least the dubious, if not downright ridiculous. See Jon Stewart's interview where he rolls his eyes in disbelief of the cockamanny nonsense she spouts. Only for the gullible and easily distracted...
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Format: Hardcover
I truly wish i had read these reviews before i bought this book, this is not a history of area 51, it's a mish mash of views that towards the end of the book become insane add to that the factual mistakes and you have a OTT book that cannot be trusted as it seems the author cannot be bothered to get her facts right.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book written using a more pragmatic research based approach than many. As with other reviewers I was surprised to see Mr Lazar's name appear in the text, however if you read to the end of the book it does become clear why Ms Jacobsen included this part of Area 51s history. As with other books researching the UFO phenomenon, there are many unnamed sources and areas of grey that make you wonder whether this is true or disinformation. Piecing together other elements of research helps. Particularly the Roswell incident mentioned in the book. Ms Jacobsen's theory seems far fetched - but no more far fetched than thinking aliens were visiting - in fact the explanation here seems more plausible though lacking in corroboration. To expand on the theory (once you've read this) go to Body Snatchers in the Desert: The Horrible Truth at the Heart of the Roswell Story, which is a further exploration of this theory.
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