Eric's Reviews > Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base

Area 51 by Annie  Jacobsen
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's review
Jul 31, 2011

really liked it

An amazing, informative read. Jacobsen does a fantastic job of reporting facts (which appear to be impeccably researched) and telling the stories of various major projects which occurred in Area 51. The politics and development of the SR-71, U-2, space policy, nuclear policy and practices, how all that affected the cold war are all in here, as well as a (semi) credible story behind the Roswell crash.

Jacobsen avoids engaging in conspiracy theories and instead explains all the topics as a good journalist should: based on official documents and interviews. At several points she goes so far as to debunk popular conspiracy theories.

The last chapter has become highly controversial, and I can see why. This is where the Roswell incident is fully explained, but instead of well-researched distillation of classified documents, we have to rely on the reluctant testimony of a single source, who would not name names or state specifics, nor would he do much more than fail to deny the author's suppositions. Since nearly all documents related to the incident and the Nazi scientists involved (both on the Soviet and US sides) are classified and will probably remain classified in perpetuity, we're forced to either accept or reject her explanation. (My feelings are that the core of her explanation is probably correct, but some of the details seem highly suspect.)

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