CHOICE: a publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries. A Division of the American Library Association. www.choicemag.org
CURRENT REVIEWS FOR ACADEMIC LIBRARIES
FEBRUARY 2013 VOL. 50 NO.06
SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES
History, Geography and Area Studies
The following review appeared in the February 2013 issue of CHOICE.
UFOs and government: a historical inquiry, by Michael Swords et al. Anomalist Books, 2012. 580 p. ISBN 9781933665580 pbk. $29.95
The bibliography of the UFO phenomenon is vast but often dreary. This straightforward study of the limited topic of government responses to sightings of UFOS–unidentified flying objects–is an exception. The idea that UFOs had extraterrestrial origins (a hypothesis not favored by governments) is only one of the many explanations the authors discuss. Although UFO sightings have supposedly occurred throughout history, the modern UFO phenomenon had its origins in the final days of WW II. Initially, Western officials feared that UFOs were NAZI or Soviet technology. Cold war fears caused the US and other governments to obsess about the national security implications of UFOs. Scientific investigation and transparency were only occasionally part of the response. Combined with inconsistent government policies, the response resulted in confusion and suspicion, which inspired conspiracy theories. Although these nine authors are part of the UFO community, they are not advocates of fringe theories. Their narrative is firmly based on the available sources. The writing can be dense and sometimes convoluted, reflecting the military sources that form the evidence. A useful resource for the study of a controversial topic. SUMMING UP: Recommended. All levels/libraries. — R. Fritze, Athens State University.