Customer Reviews


65 Reviews
5 star:
 (31)
4 star:
 (20)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading for all fans of black aircraft projects..
When I first saw this book being offered to pre-order, I signed up immediately. I had read his previous book "Terror Taxi" about the U.S. Government's clandestine rendering program for terrorists and found it to be fascinating. I also am an enthusiast and fan of a lot of the U.S. military's aerospace "black projects"-especially black aircraft develpoment. I'm also into...
Published on January 23, 2008 by M. J. Shilobrit

versus
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good pictures, little commentary, no organization
This is a nicely bound book with a patch embedded into the front cover. On the inside, it's mostly pictures with light commentary, so it's mostly a one-time read with little reference potential. The content is mostly speculative, and the patches aren't organized by symbology. I would have liked to see some patches from less secretive units using the same symbology for...
Published on July 9, 2008 by brian d foy


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading for all fans of black aircraft projects.., January 23, 2008
This review is from: I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World (Hardcover)
When I first saw this book being offered to pre-order, I signed up immediately. I had read his previous book "Terror Taxi" about the U.S. Government's clandestine rendering program for terrorists and found it to be fascinating. I also am an enthusiast and fan of a lot of the U.S. military's aerospace "black projects"-especially black aircraft develpoment. I'm also into the patch insignia that a lot of these military organzations/units use to indirectly show the project they represent or support.

I think he has done a great job of research and packaging this project- from the cool patch emblazoned on the cover to the color pictures of each
patch described in the inside. A lot of effort went into this cool book!

Very tasty reading if you enjoy that sort of thing-which I do!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


33 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly Strange, and unique as far as it goes, January 6, 2008
By 
This review is from: I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World (Hardcover)
This is a truly unique book. You know this, to start, when you see that the cover has an actual embroidered patch embedded in it. The inscription around it, which forms the title of the book, is actually a translation of a Latin inscription on one of the patches in the book, strangely worded and of course rather obscure. When you open the book, you discover that the majority of what's here is a series of patches, all from the Air Force, that personnel involved in various "black" (secret) operations have worn on duty. The author bills himself an expert in this sort of thing, and he does seem to have some expertise. It's hard to know how much, though, because of course the Air Force won't confirm much of what he writes.

This is an interesting little book for the buff interested in this sort of thing. I would expect pretty much everyone else to be momentarily interested, then bored.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good pictures, little commentary, no organization, July 9, 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World (Hardcover)
This is a nicely bound book with a patch embedded into the front cover. On the inside, it's mostly pictures with light commentary, so it's mostly a one-time read with little reference potential. The content is mostly speculative, and the patches aren't organized by symbology. I would have liked to see some patches from less secretive units using the same symbology for comparison.

It's a nice conversation starter, though.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amusing and entertaining little book, May 28, 2008
By 
M. Carole (West Hills, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World (Hardcover)
If you are at all interested in the military, insignias, secret projects, or just good conversational pieces, buy this book. Then take it for what it's intended. The author doesn't promise a comprehensive or even consistent summary of military patches or black ops; he's picked some of the more interesting emblems and thrown a few program tidbits in where he could. It's surface level insight into the secret world of black ops, and if we all knew about it, it wouldn't be very secret or black, would it? The photos are great, the back stories are interesting, and we enjoyed it so much I'm buying more as gifts for my the history/military buffs in my family (i.e., all the guys.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fun journey into the darkness, February 4, 2009
By 
This review is from: I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World (Hardcover)
Trevor Paglen started out trying to write about classified air and space programs. Always an interesting area, especially when it results in amusing silliness. This book reminds me of the stealth aircraft model kit that was released by Testor in 1986, two years before the F 117 was declassified. The Air Force pressured the company to stop selling the model, but every time the company ask "Why?" the Air Force would start stumbling and mumbling. You can't coerce someone about something that "doesn't exist".

And so with these patches. They could be complete fabrications, and they could be directly off military uniforms, nobody can say one way or the other. Paglen does present the case for the patches' authenticity very well and includes a brief history of military patches (too brief for my tastes, but appropriate to this work).

And then there are the 60+ patches. Generally, Paglen does a good job describing the patches and his assessment of the significance of the symbolism. Some folks feel that any military symbolism is sinister, and that symbolism for secret military things is infinitely more sinister and disturbing. I found this collection of patches to be very diverse, with some humorous, some baffling, and one or two that I found fairly sinister (this from a Clive Barker fan...) The skunk with the WW I leather flyers cap was funny, even though it was alleged to be from a program more classified than the F-117. The smiley face with sunglasses and a zipper for a mouth was also worth a chuckle. Under the 'sinister' category, two stood out. One designated 'Minotaur', with a bull's skull with green eyes and wings was a little unsettling, and moreso for the absense of any text. The other was just two red eyes againd a black background with the caption "USAF Special Projects". That could be anything.

I didn't always agree with Paglen's interpretation of the iconics, and sometimes he didn't address what seem to be fairly obvious symbols. On one patch, the unit nickname was "Goat Suckers" and he launched into a discussion of a family of birds that included of that name, without considering the Chupacabra (goatsucker) of Puerto Rico that is described as looking like a creature from outer space. On another, the central figure was bracketed by Roman numerals "IX" and "XI", what seems like a reference to 9/11, but Paglen chose not to comment on this. Also the Space Warfare Center's Special Projects Division patch had some obvious symbols like the USAF Space Operations logo, but it also had the old "Flying Tigers" logo from the CBI theater of WWII, a suggestive icon and confusing in the context of space operations.

This book is great fun and will have conspiracy theorists in tailspins for years. I hope another volume is in the pipeline!

E.M. Van Court
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars eerie, frightening, and amusing, March 2, 2008
This review is from: I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World (Hardcover)
Written by one of the co-authors of Torture Taxi (on the practice of extraordinary rendition), this strange little book might seem fun and slightly ridiculous with its tactile cover and small size, yet it is also fascinating and frightening, because it hints at the deadly serious operations and undertakings of a vast, top-secret military infrastructure - our own.

Paglen has tracked down and documented the badges/symbols that the Pentagon creates for its classified "black budget" programs. They represent a strange cornucopia of projects with peculiar names and unknown purposes. Their operatives collect and display these badges, behaving like a bizarre cross between Boy Scouts and gang members.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Little Volume, August 28, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World (Hardcover)
I love this fascinating little book. It is a tiny fact-filled volume, with a patch from a different top-secret test flight or satellite reconnaissance unit on each page. Where possible, the author describes what the patch symbolism represents and where the unit was located.

This is a thrilling little book for anyone that was involved in these or similar "black" programs themselves, and maybe even more intriguing for civilians. Not the dimensions of the book - it is very small; the patches are photographed at approximately life size and each page is not much bigger than each patch.

This book focuses mainly on Air Force and NRO secret units. I'd love to see one of these for military intelligence and NSA units.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty cool visual reference for your paranoid research projects, November 20, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The book itself is alright, the patches which are supposed to represent "black op" projects are well presented and each has a story to go along with them. The problem is that there is no way independently verify the stories.
I recently had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by the author, it was based on this book but also covered his other books (which IMHO are much more interesting and easier to independently verify) which were written on government rendition programs and secret bases.
The book overall is good but the stories sound more like vet stories you would hear in the VFW over a couple of pints.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have collected Militrary insignia for about 60 years., April 9, 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World (Hardcover)
I would agree with the author that this book is not complete. It is an excellent primer for a layman or even the experienced collector to learn the nuances of insignia design. Some of this is directly related to heraldry-or put another way, taken from the lineage of the patch or related to the mission of the unit it represents. In these cases, there is more information about areas 51 and 52, and at least some idea of their purposes. I was able to use the information in the book to give me an idea of what units might have worn patches I had thusfar been unable to identify. Thanks for writing it and I hope there are some followup volumes as more is learned.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paglen continues to mine this endlessly-interesting vein., July 18, 2011
Trevor Paglen, <strong>I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World</strong> (Melville House Press, 2007)

As is usual, I haven't read reviews for this book before I started writing this one, but I'd be willing to make you a small bet given (a) what I know about the reviews of Trevor Paglen's other books and (b) what I know of Amazon reviewers in general: there are going to be a sizable minority of reviews of this book that are going to complain, perhaps a lot, about how many of the entries in this book, especially towards the back, have almost no information listed about them. For as is the case with <em>Blank Spots on the Map</em>, much of the material Paglen covers here is still very much classified; even in the cases where he does have more information on a subject than one would expect, it's couched in terms that denote hearsay or speculation. (On very few pages does one see the phrase "[t]his project was declassified in...".) Okay, I'm willing to concede the point that conspiracy theorists come off a lot more convincing if they actually <em>don't</em> claim to know everything, but few of them back their stuff up as much as Paglen has over the past five years. You don't see a great deal of that in this pocket-size art book, more's the pity; Paglen makes a few references to having got the information from folks who previously worked on these projects, but there's a complete absence of footnotes (where <em>Blank Spots on the Map</em> was loaded with them) here; I think of this as a kind of companion piece to <em>Blank Spots...</em>. It presents a series of patches and emblems worn by military types who had been involved in black projects over the years (Paglen notes at the beginning that he presents them almost at random, and that the collection is in no way comprehensive or exhaustive), with what information he has, and that's it. Like I said, an art book. The commonalities in design are interesting, if not necessarily instructive (one must rely a great deal on Paglen's interpretation if one is to get anywhere in decoding these things), and the whole is grimly amusing, in a way.

And I want a Goatsuckers patch. ****

(For the record: the odd wording of the title is explained in Paglen's discourse on the final patch in the book, the only one close to being long enough to earn the title of "essay", and the most interesting of the bunch.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World
Used & New from: $8.80
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.