15 September 2010

Book Review- "UFOs Generals, Pilots and Government Officials go on the Record" by Leslie Kean

I've had a strong interest in the subject of UFO's (more recently coined "UAPs"- Unexplained Aerial Phenomena") for many years and recently read an excellent book which is the subject of this article. Unlike many books and television programs on the subject, Kean's work is scholarly, well researched and contains a series of pieces written by men and women who have held very high positions of authority in military and civilian agencies around the world. The consensus of these opinions is that UAPs are real and operate with technology that is far beyond anything we have developed.

As I'm writing this, I can see my reader's collective eyeballs rolling skyward in skepticism but please stick with me for a moment. For individuals that have some done some reading on the UAP phenomena, many of the cases presented here are familiar- the silent black triangles reported by thousands of Belgians in the 1980's, the dogfight between an Iranian fighter and UAP over Tehran, Rendlesham Forest, the Japanese cargo plane over Alaska etc. What makes this book different is that the author has the format in which to expound on these stories, interview witnesses and present a very compelling case vs. trying to compress and cram the same information into a television documentary.

Of all of the accounts in the book, my favorite is that of wave of sightings in Belgium as recounted by Major General Wilfried De Brouwer of the Belgian Air Force. At the time of the sightings in late 1989, De Brouwer was a Colonel acting as chief of the Operations Division of the Air Staff of the Belgian Air Force. De Brouwer explains in this part of the book how thousands of Belgians, including significant numbers of police and military personnel, reported large, silent black triangles floating over the countryside. Some of this UAPs were photographed (analysis is included in the book) and triggered the scrambling of Belgian F-16's in pursuit which proved fruitless against the performance of these strange vehicles. For the Belgians, members of the NATO Alliance, these sightings were very distressing- large aerial vehicles were moving in their air space without authority and with impunity. De Brouwer made inquiries with NATO allies, including the U.S., and was assured both officially (and privately) that they were not new technologies being tested over Belgium.

I really enjoyed this book because it doesn't stretch out into the rampant speculation that usually surrounds the subject. It doesn't attempt to answer who is driving these things, where they are from or what their intentions are- despite the thousands of books on the subject of dubious quality that claim to know what's really going on. Rather, it focuses on hard data- aerial and ground radar returns, pilot reports, government studies and briefings and observations made by police, governmental and military reports either published or obtained through the FOIA. Kean provides nearly 300 end notes to reference the materials and interviews she sifted through to build her case.

Later in the book, Kean demonstrates how the U.S. government position on the subject has been markedly different from those of other nations. Unlike the French, who released the recent COMETA report, and English, who released their MOD studies on the subject, the U.S. has taken the familiar tack of denying everything and adding ridicule to those that bring up the subject- a strategy implemented decades ago. If you have seen a news report on your local station it usually includes a smiling reporter and the X-Files theme playing in the background. Kean's straightforward writing, and the quality of the material she works with, effectively demolishes the argument that any of these sightings can be laughed off. With her background as a journalist, and backing of her major publisher (a division of Random House) this book has already made a significant splash on the UAP subject.

Whether a skeptic, believer or solidly on the fence (like me) this is an excellent book that I highly recommend. I rate it a solid 8 out of 10. Regardless of your position on the subject, I am confident that you will find the book eye-opening and thought provoking. Along the same lines of solid research, I also highly recommend the James Fox documentaries, which Kean assisted with- "Out of the Blue" and "I Know What I Saw" both available on DVD.

The book's website.
Available on Amazon.

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