” the best book about the UFO phenomena that was ever written” – a review by Giuliano Marinkovic

by rthieme on February 28, 2013

“UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry” is an exceptional and exciting book. Written by the UFO History Group – serious researchers and historians composed of Swords, Powell, Svahn, Olmos, Chalker, Greenwood, Thieme, Aldrich and Purcell – it brings analytical complexity of the UFO phenomena from World War II up to current days. Their work stands on the shoulder of facts, official documents, and sterling sources. The book is focused towards military and intelligence circles and describes in detail their long-term struggle on how to handle the unwanted problem of UFOs. If only the phenomena could simply go away and leave them in peace. But it persists, without mercy, over and over again. Historical treatment of the official UFO research within the United States is presented with great care along with the controversies that followed projects Sign, Grudge and Blue Book. Years passed. Different officials within different policies tried to deal with the issue, one way or another.

It was especially interesting to compare official policies with the internal notes of Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, former head of project Blue Book and who wrote a classic book “The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects.” “UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry” brought extended treatment to General Cabell’s 1951 meeting, which was mentioned only in passing in Ruppelt’s book. Notes from the meeting show that Cabell demanded a serious approach regarding UFOs. Ruppelt previously described in his original book that “every word of the two-hour meeting was recorded on a wire recorder. The recording was so hot that it was later destroyed.”

It was impressive to follow the chapter on the Colorado Project which caused the closure of the USAF investigation of the phenomena. Audiotaped lectures from the CUFOS archives of Robert Low to the JPL at Caltech from October 1967 shows how strong the subject was polarized between personal opinions and official inertia. This chapter is a great companion piece to previous works of Dr. J. Allen Hynek’s “The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry,” David. R. Saunders’ “UFOs? Yes!: Where the Condon committee went wrong,” and Wendy Connors’ audio set “Faded Discs.” Documents and facts from Sweden, Australia, Spain, France, Belgium, the former Soviet Union and Brazil, emphasized the international context of the whole problem.

In the Australian chapter, the Sea Fury radar-visual incident with UFO from August 31, 1954 was presented. The pilot was instructed by air-traffic control to turn his airplane in a circle for identification. That maneuver showed that his aircraft was discernable from two other close targets. A similar radar-visual case, that I am personally aware of, happened at the end of 1970s in the former Yugoslavia where a pilot was also instructed to turn his aircraft through a maneuver for identification purposes. At that moment, the UFO accelerated towards the aircraft almost causing a collision. The case involved AIRPROX which implicated aviation safety so it was interesting for me to compare similarities between both cases.

The book also explains the unique situation in France because their official UFO research program, from GEPAN, SEPRA to GEIPAN, is located within the French Space Agency CNES where a scientific approach is applied. Although the official UFO program in the United States was terminated after the review of Condon’s committee, other programs in other countries are still active. It can be argued that due to the lack of direct experience in the UFO field, countries that are still in the UFO business, will encounter the same obstacles and in the end, they will draw the same conclusions that Project Blue Book did. On the other hand, France is already 35 years into the UFO field, which is 13 years more than the length of the entire Blue Book mandate. Official projects and investigations of these complex aerial phenomena are ongoing, and that is the fact.

This book can serve as a perfect briefing document for every government employee, military analyst, non-commissioned officer, officer and researcher which could be, or already is, confronted with this issue. France has GEIPAN; Chile has CEFAA; Uruguay has CRIDOVNI; Argentine has CEFA, etc. If any employee of those projects, or any other serious scholar from any other field, will need a historical broad overview of the UFO phenomena, this book will provide a great service. If this issue will ever become academically recognized in the unpredictable future, “UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry” should be an obligatory literature at those colleges. My opinion is that this is the best book about the UFO phenomena that was ever written.

Giuliano Marinkovic
Former Military Intelligence SIGINT operator, Croatian Army
Journalist and Writer

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