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.