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.
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.
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.
on 15 July 2016
If you're a gullible scientifically illiterate media brain-washed sheep then you'll probably think this is scientific. If this is what U F Off believers think is science they really are beyond help. I got halfway through, double checking each of the stories as I went along, and they all have much more likely explanations. (Occam’s razor). For example the Australian kid was a very inexperienced pilot, who failed 5 aviation exams, twice, was rejected from the air force, and was reprimanded for making a manoeuvre he wasn't qualified for. On top of that he was obsessed with UFOs. On the night in question three planets and a bright star where in close approximation, forming a diamond shape, and were the brightest objects in the sky. Did the author mention any of this? Of course not, because she already made up her mind, and chose to ignore it, yet she thinks she is being scientific. Science goes out of it's way to refute itself.
Am I saying these sightings were 100% not UFOs or aliens, no, but I would bet my life in a second they all have rational explanations.
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.
on 28 December 2015
It doesn't get any better than this when it comes down to the definitive 5% of sightings that come from first hand professional eyewitnesses in their own words. Leslie Kean's research and access to high level documents puts this book in a league of it's own. She is without question top of the league when it comes to the access she got on the subject of UFO's. Once you start to read this book you just don't want to put it down.
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.
on 15 December 2015
A well written, well researched book. Shame that Belgian dude has come forward since and admitted to faking those photographs. I feel sorry for the author because she bought into his lies along with many others over the years. The rest of the cases reviewed are from military and aviation sources so are much more plausible. Forget Roswell, which is a total mythology in my opinion, she reviews a mix of cases that have had public attention but also cases that are less well known. My fave is the Chicago o'hare case. Shame there aren't any photos or video evidence of that one. Very intriguing. A good read if you're into the subject and like a less sensational and no-nonsense approach.
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.
on 4 May 2016
Ever since I and around 200 other school children and a dozen teachers witnessed a glowing sphere hovering above the sea in West Wales, circa 1980, before shooting upwards into a clear blue sky at a speed you would have to see to believe, I have been fascinated with this subject and have amassed a huge collection of books and magazines attempting to shed light onto this mystery.
Without doubt this book is one of the best, if not the best. There is no agenda being pushed, no obvious bias being demonstrated, just good, clear examples of strange things happening to sensible people, from all over the world.
I know what I saw all those years ago, even if I don't fully understand it. It's always good to find out there are highly qualified people in their fields who would normally be regarded as 'sensible' who have also seen things they don't fully understand. This isn't a book full of sensationalist drivel, I've got loads of those in that huge collection of books I was on about earlier, too many infact. This is a well written, well researched, well presented book on a subject that needs more well written, well researched and well presented books.
Even if you're just dabbling here, read this, you'll be better off for it.