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The Close Encounters Man: How One Man Made the World Believe in UFOs

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  168 ratings  ·  21 reviews
The wildly entertaining and eye-opening biography of J. Allen Hynek, the astronomer who invented the concept of "Close Encounters" with alien life, inspired Steven Spielbergs blockbuster classic science fiction epic film and is the subject of History Channel's Project Blue Book, and made an entire nation want to believe in UFOs.

In June 1947, private pilot Kenneth Arnold
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ebook, 416 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Dey Street Books
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Will Byrnes
Although I know of no hypothesis that adequately covers the mountainous evidence, [he] said in closing, this should not and must not deter us from following the advice of Schroedinger: to be curious, capable of being astonished, and eager to find out.
Quiz time. Ok, what is a close encounter of the first kind? Second kind? Third? You might be forgiven for not knowing with much precision the answers to the first two, but I bet you can answer number three. You probably think you have Stephen
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Leo Knight
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had only known about J. Allen Hynek from his work on UFOs, and his cameo in "Close Encounters," a term which he coined, by the way. He also had a long and prestigious career as an astronomer and teacher. He was born in 1910, when Halley's Comet was in the sky. Perhaps this was an omen.

The book gives a concise history of the UFO phenomenon, from the mystery airship stories of the late 1800s, through the postwar sightings, starting with the Arnold case, on up until Dr. Hynek's death. It also
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James
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book Ive read all year.

Its hard for me to stick with non-fiction because its usually pure information with no real story, but OConnell does an amazing job of balancing the career, family life, and paranormal exploration of Hyneks life in such a way that youre always intrigued.

The quality of the prose is perfect. Its beautiful but not flowery, and definitely not dull. The author finds beautiful notions and analogies to cap each major moment that help you understand the
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Chris Harris
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it
As the title suggests, this biography of the astronomer J. Allen Hynek focuses primarily on his work with the United States Air Force as part of their investigation into UFOs, Project Blue Book. As such, it's an interesting read. Hynek worked with some extremely colourful personalities during his career and they are portrayed unflinchingly; his Air Force boss, Hector Quintanilla, appears to have been a particularly unpleasant character, dismissing the testimony of one police witness to a ...more
Amber Atchley
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to win a copy of this compelling book through a goodreads giveaway. I was drawn in from the beginning, and O'connell's writing is superb. Informative, detailed, and humorous in all of the right places.
Absolutely loved this book.
Highly recommended!
Steven
Giving up on this one, even though it's interesting. The material's a bit too "in the weeds" in terms of early details and I'm losing interest enough to let this go back to the library unfinished.

Your mileage may vary, depending on your interests in UFOs et al.
Xander
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What I learned from this book: Carl Sagan was a dick.
Rob Kristoffersen
J Allen Hynek is one of the untold heroes of ufology, well at least to the uninitiated in the area of UFO research. But even within the ranks of ufology, few realize his contributions to astronomy as a whole, or his contributions to World War II technology. Among the pages here, the reader is treated to the life story of an amazing man. The one I call my UFO dad.

Hynek is most known for creating the Close Encounters scale within ufology, being a metric to gauge a witnesses interaction with UFOs.
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Allison Thurman
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've known who J. Allen Hynek was since childhood: the Air Force-associated UFO researcher who started a skeptic but became a believer, best known for his cameo as the bearded, pipe-smoking scientist in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". Sad to say I don't think I've read any of his work though. After reading this fine biography I've determined to rectify this!

O'Connell shows how Hynek's background in astronomy and seemingly conflicting interests in esoteric/hermetic thought informed his
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Lea Wiggins
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I won this amazing book in the Giveaway. I am so glad I did. It was the book I wanted most to win! How cool is that.

I grew up hearing and watching a lot of stuff about J Allen Hynek. I have always been fascinated about stars, space, astronomy, even as a child. Of course I am of that generation that watched the news on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC.

I found in the course of reading this book that I had some preconceived and biased beliefs about Mr Hynek, that this book was able to correct.

I had
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Karl
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The quintessential book on the legendary UFO researcher, J Allen Hynek, and not just because such books were basically non-existent before this. Thoroughly researched, with just enough of the classic and famous UFO stories peppered throughout to provide an idea of context, reminiscent of the UFO books written by Hynek and his invisible crew throughout that period, but with enough biographical information throughout to keep the narrative moving in a way that many of the more conceptual books can ...more
Katy Koivastik
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would give this book 10 stars if I could. It is well-researched, well-organized, highly readable and a perfect book to read while awaiting season 2 of History Channels Project Blue Book.

I had never heard of J. Allen Hynek until watching the aforementioned show about his work with the United States Air Forces attempts at debunking UFO phenomena, code name Project Blue Book. Reading this book inspires me to want to know more about this most interesting astronomers life, work and legacy. As
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Phyllis
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such an interesting life and subject. An astronomer by education developed an interest in the sightings of UFO's and ends up pursuing them and their stories all his life. He becomes involved in the Air Force project, Blue Book ,which like many of his contacts is more intent on making fun of UFO's than studying them scientifically .
He works with the government on several other projects and has some brilliant scientific works.

Well written, sticking to the facts where it could have gone off into
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Michael
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, biography
Full of interesting and new to me information. Gives a great look t the life and work of J. Allen Hynek. Written in a very informational and entertaining manner. I would recommend to anyone interested in UFO's. I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway.
Mrklingon
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, science
Fascinating. A biography of a scientist who went where his curiosity took him.

O'Connell does an excellent job charting the course of J. Allen Hynek's life - a serious scientist who worked in many corners of astronomy - and defined the way we think about UFOs.
Mike Collins
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this, having watched the Project Blue Book TV series, which is - sometimes loosely - based on events covered in this book.
J. Allen Hynek evidently led an amazing life and this book is a fascinating journey through that life, of a giant in astronomy and the pursuit of the truth about UFOs.
Kevin
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good biography of Hynek, but also serves as a history of UFOlogy.
Joni Krantz
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like this book.
Kevin
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great biography of a fascinating figure in 20th century history. Learned a lot about UFO phenomena and their place in scientific and popular thought.
Manuel P. Revuelta
Other than Leslie Keans book UFOs this is the most interesting and academic take on this subject which is so poorly understood. The key take away point is that UFOs need further investigation. Not that this subject is some bizarre wacko conspiracy theory. Fortunately, since this book came out, there had been a considerable amount of interest in the subject. I cant recommend this book highly enough. Read it and learn. ...more
Gordon
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Henry Bohler
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Mark O'Connell has written several episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine -- one of which, the DS9 episode Who Mourns For Morn?, was named by Hugo-winning science fiction writer Charlie Jane Anders as #72 on the io9.com list of the Top 100 Star Trek episodes of all time. Mark has had feature film projects in development with Disney, DreamWorks Animation, ...more

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