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Publisher's Summary

It is the most famous military installation in the world. And no credible insider has ever divulged the truth about his time inside of it. Until now. This is the first book based on interviews with scientists, pilots, and engineers - 58 in total - who provide an unprecedented look into the mysterious activities of a top-secret base, from the Cold War to today. With a jaw-dropping ending, it proves that facts are often more fantastic than fiction, especially when the distinction is almost impossible to make.

©2011 Annie Jacobsen (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Limited

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

A Very detailed historical anatomy of the Area 51 subject, highly recommended. No stone has been left unturned in this book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Greg
  • Perth, Australia
  • 11-21-12

great yarn

Where does Area 51 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the top ten books I have listened to in the last two years. well researched, does not sensationalize the facts, well read

What did you like best about this story?

well researched

What does Annie Jacobsen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

cant read when i'm driving!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

no

Any additional comments?

well worth getting

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • N. D. Lenehan
  • 01-30-12

fascinating listen - great narration

Brilliant listen. I couldn't put this down- well my ipod anyway! Interesting and informaive content without all the BS that you often hear about Area 51. The narrating is fantastic - easily listenable for long length of times without your concentration wandering. The' truth' about the Roswell crash is hard to believe but makes sense. But this is only a small part of the book. This really is an insight into the history of Area 51. If you're into conspiracy UFO stories then move on as this will disappoint you- this is about reality!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Glen
  • 04-13-13

Area 51 without the aliens.

Jacobsen's history of Area 51 provides something fresh to the mythology of the most well-known secret site in the world - historical research and testimony. Brushing aside talk of alien spacecraft and the conspiracy theories of adolescent fanboys, the book gives the first published accounts of the rather more mundane history of the founding and early days of Area 51. Jacobsen's sources are the people, almost exclusively men, who lived and worked at the Nevada Weapons Testing location and the base often referred to as the "Skunkworks". These stories are of the creation and testing of spy planes such as the U2 and the A12 (more popularly known by its military version the SR71 Blackbird). The development of these unique aircraft and the men who flew them are the main thrust of this history. There are secrets about nuclear powered spacecraft and fatal accidents, but the darkest secret, never revealed fully, seems far fetched due to its seemingly comical pointlessness. After having come so far at the outset, to have the big reveal be shortened to the interviewees shaking their heads and giving the excuse that it's too terrible to talk about, just leaves the reader feeling like this stuff has been made up. Surely after over 60 years Stalin-era technology can't be so advanced that it has never been revealed - even by later Russian engineers. In the end, Jacobsen's history of Area 51 is a great addition to other military histories but her Roswell seems just as absurd as that of the UFO conspiracists, but less interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Neil Ferguson-Lee
  • 07-30-18

Great but get a better narrator!

A fascinating book with the occasional fanciful sub-plot but nonetheless remarkably well-researched and written. My only problem is that Annie Jacobson's narration can be extremely soporific at times.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thermonuclear
  • 09-15-17

Superb but terrible narration

I was fascinated by this book and it's superb content. It would have been a joy to listen to, although it seemed the aim of the narration was to give a sexy, almost pointless ASMR feel to proceedings. It felt like seemingly inconsequential words were extended and softened to the point where I nearly found this book unlistenable. It is probably personal preference, but I really couldn't wait to finish this book (which I sped up to 1.45x), even though the content was so enjoyable. It got to the point where the little clicks and nubs in the voice, along with the ASMR style extended softenings, became stressful to listen to.
Other than what I consider to be terrible narration, the content of the book is brilliant. I would recommend the text version though if you are at all susceptible to stress by voice torture!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • james kirkup
  • 05-07-17

fascinating, Roswell aliens??

excellent work, way more than aliens covered ( don't buy for alien Roswell as it's minimal)spy planes, nukes,drones. a great listen

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • 03-15-17

Fantastic book about US black projects

90% of the book is fantastic and very informative, final chapter veers violently off the road with very hard to believe Roswell alien conspriacies. Doesn't spoil the book as a whole, but worth taking the subject matter with a pinch of salt.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Patrick Kerley
  • 02-20-17

A legitimate Area 51 History

Fantastic book! I couldn't put it down that is until the end. I had to stop and start and listen to it over and over again just to be sure I got what the author is talking about.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gordon B
  • 01-03-17

Some great information to inspire

Being ex military I find a lot of what's in this book to be of some truth. No I haven't worked at Area 51 but have seen some weird things in my time and many I could not explained

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. Alan R. Jenkins
  • 10-22-16

Area 51 debunked?

Having listened to the audio book (my first by Annie Jacobsen) first felt excited by what the book divulged; however, after a while, somethings began to become "clouded" and facts also stated were not true. I believe that the authors research is probably very extensive, but in order to draw some conclusions, facts are apparently "altered" to fit. The Horten brothers being one of the main issues, along with the "Russian Roswell connection"; available facts simply do not corroborate the assumptions!

In contrast, the book certainly outlines much of the "secret nature" of Area 51, and are correctly portrayed within the book, that make it a genuine and really admirable listen; and debunk some of the mysteries surrounding one f the most TOP SECRET MILTARY BASES in US; however, the errors put question marks over the books status.

The narration by Annie was not compelling, but understandable; and some of the pronunciations of personal names were difficult to ignore (something I found also evident in the next Annie Jacobsen book I listened to - Operation Paperclip).

Great writer nonetheless.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 06-19-16

eye opener

incredible book not sure who I fear the most now Russia or the USA how little joe public knows about politics and espionage

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike Carroll
  • 08-17-16

A story of arrogance and hubris.

Amazing research, fascinating and - for us mere mortals, a tragic story of war obsessed chauvinism.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Glenn
  • 02-24-16

A Great Listen

Well researched and seemingly factual. It would makec a great documentary series if washington ever lets it happen

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 09-20-15

Brilliant

I found this to be a great listen(/read?). If your into full blown conspiracy theories, don't bother BUT if your interested in facts (or official versions of them) this is for you. A lot of previously unreported information makes for an especially good read.

It was well written and obviously very well researched. The narration by Annie was very well done also.

Toward the end, the interview with the S4 Engineer was INTENSE!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Vincent
  • 12-09-14

Compelling history lesson on Area 51

Rivetting audiobook full of interrsting facts and figures around the people with the "right stuff". While the book contained many surprises possibly the biggest for me was the involvement of Stalin with the Roswell case.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 09-18-17

great book

Loved the book and the the factual history stats throughout the story along with the layout

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-12-18

Boring

Couldn't even finish listening to this book. Just lost total interest as it was so boring. Not what I was expecting at all. But the narrator done a good job.