I just finished "Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base" by Annie Jacobson. This book lifts the veil of secrecy that has surrounded the Nevada Testing Facility, aka, Area 51, showing what men, wrapped in the flag and in the name of the common good, are capable of accomplishing when they have total secrecy, unlimited budgets, and greatest scientific minds of the 20th Century. What the conspiracy theorist want you to believe is nothing to what the CIA, the Air Force, the Atomic Energy Commission, and the Dept of Energy have hidden in Area 51 for 60+ years. The tools for the War on Terrorism were developed there - the U2, the Oxcart, the Blackbird, the Predator, etc. The atomic bomb and the nuclear rocket for the trip to Mars were tested there. If you enjoy the fiction of a Tom Clancy novel, you will love the true story of "who done it", when and how they did it, and how it remained a secret for so long.
To be fair, Area 51 is my passion. I heard two minutes of this book and stopped listening because I already know more than she does and it was a waste of a credit. I have read several other articles such as her article on the TSA, etc. where she excels.
When it comes to Area 51 and the whole black ops subject, she should have known early in her research that she does not have the time or contacts necessary to tell this story. If you saw the “National Geo Channel” special on Area 51you don’t have to read or listen to this book because she wonders off into too much world history and gets off focus. And, the “National Geo” special was just a rehash of old stuff with some new pictures and brief glimpses from the newly declassified material which she uses quite a bit in her book.
I give her credit for attacking this subject but I have been reading and listening to interviews of retired and ex-employees from and about Area 51 for 5 years now and the story is a huge, multifaceted, highly classified topic and we will never know even one fifth of the story. One of the clues that you have found a dependable and accurate supplier of information is if he or she uses, knows of or refers to the term “UFO fever” regarding a witness or speaker on the subject. Once someone on the inside gets it you can't trust their answers.
If you are just becoming interested in the subject then use the internet and be very selective who you trust there. I finally have about three people I trust after all these years. If you do not become obsessed about the subject you will never get to the level deep enough to find the beginnings of the truth.
Now I know what really happened in 1947 at Roswell. The story in the book makes much more sense than all the previous ones that I've heard over the past many years.
This book's historical account of Area 51 & it's surrounding properties barely scratches the surface of all the highly classified projects both past & currently being researched within that complex. So many people who were involved have already carried these secrets to their graves.
great history and very well told. Story flows very well and is very entertaining
Interesting, Insightful & Informative
Not really a book that gives way to a favourite character as it does the power battles within a country and how it positions itself to the world.
Again, not about the characters it's more a sum of the parts and each like a link in a chain not just of command but one that had the opportunity to conquer and impact the way people thought and science. A religion of military positioning.
Discovering all the secrets of the science movement unfolding under the guise of E.T.
Unable to prove or disprove the content, I'd have enjoyed this if it were fiction and I find little time to indulge in such titles. An excellent book for entertainment, interest and intrigue and caused me to unplug from the car to plug in my headphones and continue. A title worth sharing.
The documentation of the Area 51 history is fascinating.
My favorite character was the personification of evil on this planet. Dr. Joeseph Mangela.
The real story, or is it?
Creepy and disturbing.
Absolutely! While Jacobsen didn't discuss Hangar 18 so much, she surely shed light on much of mysticism of Area 51 and the arms race between us and the (former) Soviet Union. Now I know why all the alien lifeforms resemble human beings (i.e. two eyes, two arms / legs, etc.) because they were human beings. Her research stems from primary sources, people who worked there and of course her sources on the defense contractors are reliable.
I really liked how she exposed just how inept our science was on military technology to the extent that we had a stolen Russian MiG so we could try to match Soviet technology. Also, I liked the behind-the-scenes bickering from top-level military and government personnel. Were personal agendas put in front of budgets and national defense?
Her voice is relaxing and brings the story to life somehow.
Area 51: Uncovering the Cover-Ups
This is a very good book and though I'm sure many will remain skeptical, at some point, when an author uses primary-source information, you gotta adjust your beliefs. As with most books that have a great beginning and middle, the end of this book wasn't so great. Still, I think it was a very well researched and well-written book and the author narrates her work very well. Ms. Jacobsen, you did a damn good job with this book! -Derrick
I don't understand how the mythology of the jet-flying gorilla hasn't been more widely circulated. I guess it's not as spectacular as a crashed alien flying saucer. Oh, well.
There are a lot of secrets uncovered in this book. Some amusing, some long-suspected, some bizarre, and some just plain sad. But all are fascinating and well worth the time and the listen. I'm often reluctant to listen to a book narrated by the author, but when Annie Jacobsen is not busy researching or writing she could do well with a second career as a narrator.
I only gave the "Story" attribute 4 stars because, well, it isn't a story. It's history. I don't think it could have been structured any better than it was, but by being reality instead of fiction, there was necessarily a certain lack of flow to the narrative, especially as changing subjects required jumping back in time.
Overall it’s a compelling look at what people do when they have unlimited budgets and no oversight. Sometimes the results are amazing, and sometimes they're just criminal. But what they should never be is secret.
Thanks, Annie, you’ve done us all a favor bringing these things to light. Maybe it will make some people think in the future before deciding to walk down some of these paths again.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
As the daughter of a 4 decade Lockheed employee during the cold war era, and whos dad was gone a lot during that time, this book opened a lot of memories for me. My dad couldn't talk about why he was gone during the week but I suspect now that he was at Area 51. I wish he could have talked about it, but he apparently stuck to his clearance rules.
I'm not a Area 51 alien freak, so I very much enjoyed the research Ms Jacobson did along other lines for this decade spanning book. Yes it's written and told with reporter exaggeration to some extent but I found the science of it correct and the story very interesting...it held my attention.
Recommended for those who enjoy light science. A disappointment for those who are convinced the Aliens have been with us since the 1940s. I was glad I learned why Area 51 is called Area 51.
Retired nightclub performer/computer technician, I now teach hula and ukulele to seniors, and record Hawaiian music for my halau!
I have told myself that I am not going to review books anymore until I have finished reading them, but here again, I just can't hold back. What a great story. Okay, I grabbed the book because it was about "Area 51"...expecting more crazy stuff about aliens, UFOs and the like. Hello?
To my surprise and DELIGHT, it presents a much more plausible scenario of exactly what is Area 51's purpose. My interests definitely do not include war stories, airplane statistics, or politics, international affairs, etc., all of which take up 90% of this narrative, but I was never bored or put off by the author. Instead, I was thoroughly caught up in the natural unfolding of the story. Ms. Jacobsen delivers a well-researched timeline of the events that have occurred there over the past 60 years. It just makes a lot of sense, what else can I say?
One last thing -- Ms. Jacobsen is reading her own work, and she does it very well. I am always glad when the author does the narration because that person is most familiar with the subject, and the nuances and expressions, pauses, etc. are so natural. I can also sympathize with those folks who have found flaws in her pronounciation of some place names. I, myself, did not realize that she mispronounced anything, so it didn't affect me.
I am having a great time with this book, even though it is not what I expected. Of course, I have not gotten to the epilogue, which I gather from reading other reviews, will be eye-popping. I do recommend this book, no matter what your interests are. Your time will definitely not be wasted, no matter what your tastes in reading material.