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on October 24, 2010
It was a half-century ago when my mother and I entered the dark,dusky interior of an old used bookstore on Market Street, in downtown St.Louis Missouri.

I was about ten years old, but I already had a burning interest in Flying Saucers, as most people called them back then.

It was a hot topic, and Saucer sightings were in the news all the time. I ate up every book and story I could find about these strange objects in the sky.

Then I saw a blue copy of Gray Barker's "They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers", and mom let me buy it.

This book hooked me for a lifetime wanting to know everything about UFO's.

Finally, I saw one myself, in September of 1969, with three witnesses...a red glowing, silent egg-shaped light no more than 500 feet above us. It stuck around too, while we got out of the car and gazed upon it in silent wonder.

This glowing thing was a UFO in the strictest definition, but I have no idea what it was or where it came for, but it behaved like it was intelligently controlled, and it was very scary!

Back to Mr. Gray's book...skeptics nowadays say it was bogus from the start, but it's a great read, and like another reviewer said, it does belong in the canon of UFO literature.

I hope all of you reading this review gets to read this book and enjoy it as much as I did!
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on January 2, 2013
I'd like to be able to give half star ratings on some of this stuff. 2 1/2 for this one. The title and premise of this book is that the witness and insider accounts of the early days of the flying saucer phenomenon accounted for these fellows disappearing and/or going belly up. And I don't doubt that in some instances that might have been true. I found the book interesting enough to buy because it was such an early account of the phenomenon and as such important because the information was still fresh and strategies for disinformation were still evolving. However, if "they knew too much" then they took it to their graves, because the author is unable to relate anything here that would have gotten anyone killed - let alone pestered. Slightly interesting because of its vintage, but if you want to read about the early days then read Donald Keyhoe, Edward Ruppelt, J. Allen Hynek, etc.
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on August 30, 1998
Considering the reputation of the author as a bold-faced hoaxer, this book is still considered to be the one that started it all-Flying Saucers, Men-in-Black, Lemuria-it's all here. Although many current researchers and Roswell-philes may be quick to discredit and sweep Barker under the carpet, They Knew Too Much is still an integral part of the canon.
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on January 5, 1999
I saw an advertisement for this book in a local newspaper and decided to purchase it.
While the book initially grabs you and pulls you in, towards the end you have read some of the most outlandish theories, over-dramatic musings, simpleton ways of thinking about the whole 'saucer' phenomenon.
It is a relatively easy read both in length and style and I'll have to admit it did hook me. But did it hook me because of the mystery of UFO's or because some of the explanations about UFO's and their relationship with humans, the earth, our world governments, conspiracies, religion are so wacky it was enticing to read what the author would say next.
It did present one or two theories that I did find very interesting and even plausible, and it did lend much more mystery to the Men In Black. Just who are these dark dressed men who answer nothing and interogate the victims of UFO incidents,then scaring them half to death.
This book is classic for the pulp science fiction readers of the late 40's and early 50's where science was mysterious to the common man. But now in 1999 it is really hard to believe (and embarrassing to know) that we as a society actually thought this way.
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on March 20, 2016
Like Barker's other work, this is a strange combination of fact and possible fiction that is a riveting look at the early days of UFO studies. This book is considered a classic and gives a great deal of information about some of the early researchers that I found to be fairly interesting. The one issue I have is that, unlike Gray's later work, the writing here is dry and lacks the enthusiasm that he later shows.
Still, it's a fun book and, yes, a must read for anyone interested in the study of UFO's and the people who seek them out.
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on July 12, 2014
Barker scares the crap out of you. If you put down his books and don't start to question the UFO and MIB (men in black) history, you have truly been brainwashed by mass media beyond all hope of retaining critical thinking skills.
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on January 28, 2012
For me this was a great book to read. It captures views about flying saucers as those views existed back in the 1950s. I can almost imagine myself walking into a drug store back then and paying my 60 cents to buy this book.

The author published a magazine or newsletter called 'The Saucerian' and the readers got directly involved with trying to figure out what flying saucers really are.

According to Wikipedia this book contains the first references to the so called 'Men In Black'. These are the characters who visit people who 'know too much about flying saucers'.

That same Wikipedia article suggests that Barker didn't really believe the things he wrote about flying saucers. I don't know if that is the case but the book captures the atmosphere of the strange flying saucer phenomenon as it existed at that time.

This subject of intimidation by the MIB is very interesting. Based on other books I have read they do more than just threaten people.

Richard Dolan gets into this subject in this book:

UFOs and the National Security State: Chronology of a Coverup, 1941-1973

An author like that could probably create a great book dedicated to just this one subject of people being threatened, murdered, etc., because they knew too much.

It appears that the threats and potential violence against people who had knowledge about the flying discs goes back to when the phenomenon first started.

Kenneth Arnold was supposedly in danger at some point from the government spooks according to Dolan. Arnold thought of the term 'flying saucer'.

The nurse at the Roswell base who had witnessed the autopsies died mysteriously.

Many other witnesses for the Roswell incident report being threatened.

Morris K. Jessup.

James McDonald.

It's a long list.

Based on what I have read the MIB sometimes appear as human beings, sometimes as robots or other things.

Jeff Marzano

Secret Life: Firsthand, Documented Accounts of Ufo Abductions

Crash at Corona: The U.S. Military Retrieval and Cover-Up of a UFO

Top Secret/Majic: Operation Majestic-12 and the United States Government's UFO Cover-up

Ufo...Contact from Planet Iarga

Secrets of the Unified Field: The Philadelphia Experiment, The Nazi Bell, and the Discarded Theory

Missing Time
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on August 14, 2004
Allegedly, this is the book that launched the myth of the Men in Black, back in 1956 (the author does not capitalize or use the acronym).

It is a readable book, but not a good book. It has an easy journalistic style, very matter-of-fact, but with oddly interpolated melodramatic and exclamatory phrases! To remind you to be frightened, I presume.

The major weakness is the lack of info about UFOs. The few short case studies are nothing but a prelude to a lengthy investigation of how a few saucer magazine publishers got spooked into voluntarily shutting down (or so they claim -- several people in the book were still active in the following decades, according to the Skeptical Inquirer).

But it is interesting to read a front-line report of fringe phenomena where the protagonists TRUST the government and are not necessarily paranoia; when UFO tracking was a gee-whiz science hobby fuelled by intellectual curiosity and not a delusion about one-world governments or the occult.

Not a good book, but fun to read about a phenomenon before it became a phenomenon.
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on November 25, 2007
Gray Barker was the Chief of the Dept. of Investigation of Albert Bender's International Flying Saucer Bureau. He also published a fanzine, The Saucerian/Saucerian Bulletin. He also edited Saucer News from 1968-70. He is the subject of two documentaries, Shades of Gray and Whispers from Space.

This book features Barker speculating on the reasons for the apparent silencing of Albert Bender, plus other UFO writers of the 1950s. It also recounts Barker's investigations into the alleged Flatwoods monster and his misadventures in attempting to follow-up on a report in the May 1954 issue of Fate magazine, "The Little Man Who Wasn't There," about a reported UFO landing in the Plumas National Forest in northern California.

Regarding Bender, it is speculated that he might have known too much about alien activity occurring on the surface of the moon, and/or in Antarctica, and/or his investigation of a UFO reportedly damaging a New Haven, Connecticut sign board.

It would have been useful if the back issues of Bender's Space Review and the article on the Brush Creek little men had been included as appendices, but the book is consistently entertaining nevertheless.

There a couple of minor errors, e.g. the Florida scoutmaster is referred to as J. D. Desvergers, whereas his correct initials were D. S. However, the account of Desvergers concerning his eventful encounter is interesting, interviewed for The Saucerian.

Barker later worked with John Keel to investigate "Mothman." In this book, meanwhile, Barker reports that something swooshed down to land in someone's pecan tree that looked "just like a man, though it was odd that he had a pair of big black wings ... When Mrs. Walker and two other persons looked up they saw 'the figure of a man with wings like a bat."

This book had enthusiastic reviews in the British Flying Saucer Review and in Leonard Stringfield's CRIFO Newsletter. Barker recounts how he was interviewed by the FBI in 1953, who demanded to know about his role as Chief Investigator for the IFSB. He also recounts how he was jailed after attempting to investigate the Brush Creek incident and subsequently asked by the sheriff who brought him in if he'd ever been in a mental hospital.

Other personalities featured include Meade Layne (the reported incident of Eisenhower inspecting UFOs in 1954 is covered), John Stuart (later author of UFO Warning), Elliot Rockmore (editor of the USA Flying Saucer Review), James Moseley (who mysteriously changed his position on UFOs in Nov 1954), Edgar Jarrold (correspondent for Bender's publication Space Review and President of the Australian Flying Saucer Bureau), Harold Dahl & Fred Crisman (Barker considered The Coming of the Saucers "the most fascinating saucer book I had ever read."

The 1997 edition has an enthusiastic introduction by John A. Keel. In this, Keel asserts: "Two men, Tiffany Thayer, a novelist and screenwriter, and Ray Palmer, editor of Amazing Stories and Fate magazines, really led the flying saucer hobbyist field until the mid-1960s." I would disagree with that. Donald Keyhoe was probably the leader of the field in the 1950s. And Barker states in this book that Leonard Stringfield "is recognized, I say almost enviously, as the most highly respected researcher in America today."

A follow-up was eventually published, Men in Black: The Secret Terror Among Us that is even better, including apparent silencings following the spike in interest in UFOs in the mid to late 60s. Astronomer Morris Jessup died in controversial circumstances three years after They Knew Too Much was released and he is discussed separately in The Strange Case of Dr. M. K. Jessup. No mention of Wilhelm Reich, however, who was reportedly being harassed around the time of this book's release.

(Review rewritten Oct 2013)
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on March 16, 2011
During the summer of 1955 I was staying with my grandparents in Mt Healthy, Ohio, in and around the greater Cincinnati area the locals were seeing UFO's and little green men. That's when they advertised the book They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers and at twelve years old and being freshly introduced to the UFO scare I naturally bought the book. Over the years I misplaced my original book and so with this opportunity to purchase this reprint I now have the opportunity to enjoy it all over once again. The one thing I remember most is that this is the first time the Men in Black are mentioned and since then they have popped up in other writings as well as on screen. I haven't finished re-reading it but so far I have enjoyed it as I did back then in the summer of !955.
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