Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review: AREA 51

Summer's here.
Need something interesting to read? I did..and so I picked up a copy of Annie Jacobsen's Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base. This fascinating book gives us a new look at one of the favorite subjects of conspiracy theorists. Furthermore, it's a peek back at the Cold War mentality that so gripped this country during the forties, fifties, and sixties- a time when the American psyche was balanced between hope and desperation, between innocence and snarky awareness. This era, often distorted through romanticization (is that even a word?) and a need to reshape history for various reasons related to ideology and political correctness, is a complex and compelling time to study. And while Ms. Jacobsen doesn't set out to examine culture, her book nonetheless gives insights to that time and adds another piece to the puzzle.
So what's in Area 51? Annie Jacobsen's researched the topic, pouring through declassified material and interviewing employees who were once sworn to secrecy.. Her writing is convincing and ultimately the secrets revealed are what you would expect them to be. Area 51 was a site used for developing new weapons systems. Here scientists and the military worked on all manner of stealth technology and delivery systems.

The book is a quick read, and compelling. And of course, Jacobsen throws a few curves through the narrative, such as when she dishes speculation about what was recovered at Roswell. I won't spill the  beans on that one, but if you want more check out the videos below (all from, specifically the third video.


Charles Gramlich said...

If only it were all true. We drove past Roswell on our recent western trip.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Obviously Area 51 the testing part is true...but I sort of remain skeptical about the Roswell part. Still, it remains fun.

Joe Ponepinto said...

Just started reading this. Fifty pages in and, yes, it's fascinating, but I am withholding judgment on the flying disk until the end, since it is claimed to have had the ability to hover, and if the US reverse engineered the thing, we would likely have used the technology. Interesting, though, that many of the technological concepts we still employ today were invented those 60 years ago. Since then I see mostly refinements and incrementalism. The bulk of our scientific efforts today appear to be directed towards entertainment and consumer products.

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