This "compellingly hard-hitting" bestseller from a Pulitzer Prize finalist gives readers the complete untold story of the top-secret military base for the first time (New York Times).
It is the most famous military installation in the world. And it doesn't exist. Located a mere seventy-five miles outside of Las Vegas in Nevada's desert, the base has never been acknowledged by the U.S. government — but Area 51 has captivated imaginations for decades.
Myths and hypotheses about Area 51 have long abounded, thanks to the intense secrecy enveloping it. Some claim it is home to aliens, underground tunnel systems, and nuclear facilities. Others believe that the lunar landing itself was filmed there. The prevalence of these rumors stems from the fact that no credible insider has ever divulged the truth about his time inside the base. Until now.
Annie Jacobsen had exclusive access to nineteen men who served the base proudly and secretly for decades and are now aged 75-92, and unprecedented access to fifty-five additional military and intelligence personnel, scientists, pilots, and engineers linked to the secret base, thirty-two of whom lived and worked there for extended periods. In Area 51, Jacobsen shows us what has really gone on in the Nevada desert, from testing nuclear weapons to building super-secret, supersonic jets to pursuing the War on Terror.
This is the first book based on interviews with eye witnesses to Area 51 history, which makes it the seminal work on the subject. Filled with formerly classified information that has never been accurately decoded for the public, Area 51 weaves the mysterious activities of the top-secret base into a gripping narrative, showing that facts are often more fantastic than fiction, especially when the distinction is almost impossible to make.
Even the most prosaic explanation of the oft-mythologized conspiratorial epicenter known as Area 51 can't resist flights of bizarre speculation, to judge by this wildly inconsistent expos . L.A. Times contributing editor Jacobsen (whose articles on Area 51 appeared in the paper's magazine) identifies the main business of the super-secret patch of Nevada desert as aerospace research, especially the development of the U-2 and A-12 spy-planes. A cross between The Right Stuff and The X Files, her absorbing history of the site shows us brilliant engineering, harrowing test-flights and crashes, paranoid security protocols, and vicious Air Force-vs.-CIA turf battles. Her rambling narrative often wanders away to other secret locales, including the Nevada Test Range and Area 52, where atom bombs and other infernal devices underwent trials. Drawing on interviews with ex-Area 51 staffers, the author's account of Area 51 and environs is thoroughly researched, lively, and quite sensible: she suggests that the base's odd-looking, high-flying, fast-moving experimental airplanes were the likely cause of associated UFO sightings. Unfortunately, Jacobsen then demolishes her own credibility by proposing a novel conspiracy theory sourced mainly to a nameless engineer, it links the Roswell UFO incident to Soviet-built flying saucers and a grisly hoax cooked up by Stalin in which the "aliens" were human children created by Josef Mengele based on his gruesome human experimentation at Auschwitz. Her account makes Martian-invasion scenarios look downright plausible. Let the reader beware. Photos.
A great read. Very interesting and factual.
Annie, you have a need to know....
That you pronounced the word "Nevada" wrong throughout your book. I have lived in Nevada for about 25 years, so I know how the name of our State is supposed to be pronounced. I think your book was very good. The topic is interesting. You obviously spent a lot of time researching it. But I do not understand how you could have been so engrossed in this topic and have encountered the word Nevada thousands of times through countless hours of interviews and walk away from it all still mispronouncing the word. This is not a minor problem, for it is very annoying. Assuming you interviewed any deeply embedded Nevadans, they may have been less forthcoming with you. Please, for the sake of any future research you may conduct or books you may narrate, pronounce the word the way we do. You know how we say Nevada. I wish you the best of luck and success in the future.
time and money. If your are looking for real insights this is not the place. Purchased even after reading the poor reviews. Shame on me!