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I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed By Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World
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I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed By Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  305 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Updated with New Information and Additional Patches
 
They’re on the shoulders of all military personnel: patches showing what a soldier’s unit does. But what if that’s top secret?
 
“A glimpse of [the Pentagon’s] dark world through a revealing lens—patches—the kind worn on military uniforms. . . The book offers not only clues into the nature of the secret programs, but als
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Published November 3rd 2010 by Melville House (first published January 28th 2007)
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R.
Mar 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
In high school art class, I silk screen T-shirts with that said MAJESTIC 12 UFO RESCUE SQUAD...with a flying saucer hovering over an upside down triangle. I got a B- and ignored by the cheerleaders. If you want to be popular, don't seek the truth, kids.

***

Update: Not truly the blackest of ops, here. More off-white, gray or brown: test flights, satellites; to me, black-ops signals X-Files, reverse-engineered alien technology and secret moonbase operations.

Paul
May 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A nicely designed but short collection of uniform patches collected from classified military projects. The author tries to interpret the patches to derive information about the nature of the projects. For example, a lot of them have six stars on them, which he suggests refers Area 51 (5+1, get it?) in Nevada. I don't buy all of his speculations but I do respect that there are a few of the patches on which he just admits he doesn't know what the hell they are for. A perfect little book to thumb t ...more
David Gallin-Parisi
You should read this for the explanation of the title alone. Not sure why it took me so long to get this because I'm already familiar with Paglen's other works. Recommended for artists, patch collectors, true metal heads, military science buffs, and people who live for UFO sightings. Here is the covered-up colors that military personnel wear while working on black op projects.
Deni
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, weirdo
Intriguing, totally weird, little book. There's even a patch featuring a wraith from an ICP album cover.
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, war
Patches representing covert military programs. I could tell you but...well, maybe I have already said too much.
Robert Beveridge
Trevor Paglen, I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World (Melville House Press, 2007)

As is usual, I haven't read reviews for this book before I started writing this one, but I'd be willing to make you a small bet given (a) what I know about the reviews of Trevor Paglen's other books and (b) what I know of Amazon reviewers in general: there are going to be a sizable minority of reviews of this book that are going to complain, perhaps a
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Melville House Publishing
Shown here for the first time, these seventy-five patches reveal a secret world of military imagery and jargon, where classified projects are known by peculiar names ("Goat Suckers," "None of Your Fucking Business," "Tastes Like Chicken") and illustrated with occult symbols and ridiculous cartoons. Although the actual projects represented here (such as the notorious Area 51) are classified, these patches-which are worn by military units working on classified missions-are precisely photographed, ...more
Larry Rochelle
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trevor Paglen is an artist, an investigator and a provocateur. His book presents USA military patches used by the special foces or black ops troops. The patches are photographed and highlighted, their purpose and symbolism explained. Many of these patches were shown to him by black ops troops. The secrets these patches contain are fascinating. And, on another level, they wake us up to the fact that millions of dollars are spent on black ops and these secret troops now number 860,000, all on top ...more
Emily
Apr 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-comix-design
I read about this book in the NY Times
http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008...
and boy is it exciting. I just love how weird/adolescent/heavy metal these patches are, juxtaposed with the presumably pretty serious/scary world of black military ops. It also reminds me of my weird pog collection from the 90s...trying to decipher what these odd little circles might mean.
Lucas
May 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A collection of over 70 military patches tied to secret government operations. Some are explained, some are still technically classified and are eerily vague, like the one with an alien's head over a strange symbol with the message written in Latin "Let them hate so long as they fear."

Great little book, highly recommended.
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Trevor Paglen is an artist, writer, and experimental geographer whose work deliberately blurs lines between social science, contemporary art, journalism, and other disciplines to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to see and interpret the world around us.

Paglen's visual work has been exhibited at Transmediale Festival, Berlin; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Institute of Co
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More about Trevor Paglen...