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UFOs & Abductions: Challenging the Borders of Knowledge Hardcover – September 7, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Is the truth out there? If so, where should we look? In this accessible academic collection, longtime UFO researcher Jacobs (The Threat), a professor of history at Temple University, assembles nine writers and scholars from several disciplines to report on the state of the UFO field. Most of the contributors seek either to bolster reports of alien landings or to establish ufology as a serious scholarly topic. Psychologist Stuart Apelle, who edits the Journal of UFO Studies, sums up previous academic studies of UFOs, then calls for moreAa call echoed by (among others) prolific UFO writer Budd Hopkins (Missing Time). McGill University psychologist Don Donderi argues that the scientific method is ill equipped to digest UFOsAlawyers, using legal standards of evidence, would handle them better, he believes, and "military intelligence analysts... have probably already drawn the proper conclusions." Michael Swords (a former Journal editor) shows how 1950s and '60s Pentagon brass deliberately fostered public skepticism. Folklorist Thomas Bullard's superb, lengthy essay concentrates not on whether there are aliens, but on what humans believe about them: contemporary "extraterrestrials," premodern European faeries and Seneca (Indian) visionary experiences are more alike than we might think. Ontario neuroscientist Michael Persinger suggests one possible reason why: certain electrical misfires in the brain, his lab's research suggests, can create strong impressions of "humanoid" visitors. Persinger's careful essay will fascinate not just the UFO-curious, but anyone with an interest in brain, mind, memory and belief. Despite its measured tone and many footnotes, the rest of the volume, however, seems largely aimed at readers who want to believe. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

The anxieties of an academic outgroup form the subtext of this collection of 11 essays by UFO and abduction researchers from both inside and outside he academy.Editor Jacobs (The Treat, 1998, etc.) and his colleagues want the scientific and intellectual establishment to take reports of unidentified flying objects and tales of earthlings kidnapped by extraterrestrials seriously, but the evidence on display here is far from compelling. The contributors include three psychologists, a psychiatrist, a sociologist, a folklorist, a natural scientist, and two full-time UFOlogists. Their papers examine the reception of UFOlogy in the academy and the excursions of established academics into UFOlogy; evidentiary paradigms in science, law, and military intelligence; the development of the responses to the saucer sightings of the early Cold War years; the place of UFOs in modern mythology and popular culture; the abduction phenomenon; and directions for future research. Jacobs believes that thousands of people have been abducted by space aliens as part of a sinister breeding experiment, and provides a history of the abduction controversy. Other contributors believe in the benign intentions of the abductors, and defend them the against sinister charges. Over the years, many people have reported seeing strange objects in the sky. Some of these reports are puzzling, and their significance is certainly worthy of discussion. But surely the abduction phenomenon, like the recent rash of cases of Satanic ritual abuse, belongs more to the study of the origin and diffusion of mass delusions than it does to the physics of space travel or the possible biologies of alien races. For all its earnestness and its academic trappings, this study will persuade few who are not already believers. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (September 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700610324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700610327
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Felton on January 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I liked reading Professor Jacobs' collection of articles on UFO's and abductions (he of course provides the intro and authors one article himself). As a whole the book exmaines from different angles and points of view the very compelling issues of what is going on with these phenomena and how we can perhaps best approach studying it. Almost all of the chapters are authored by researchers who demonstrate a great deal of knowledge of and insight into the aspect of UFO-logy they discuss.
I would recommend this book only to open-minded readers who have a rather dispassionate interest in the topic. I say this because as one of the chapters I discuss below depicts so well, most people are more concerned with the myth of UFO's rather than the real evidence. I also want to say that the Kirkus review at the top of this page is only too typical of those who want evidence when such "evidence" would never satisfy their preconceived version of reality. Prof. Jacob's compilation to me presents more than enough proof that this issue is real and needs to be seriously addressed by mainstream disciplines.
I will discuss four of the best chapters in "UFO's And Abductions."
One chapter in what to me was a rather ironic argument style shows how among science, law, and military intelligence, science is the *least* qualified to investigate UFO's because the data does not fit into any scientific model, and scientists cannot operate w/o such. Because war and defense necessitate avoiding preconceptions and simply examining the facts dispassionately, military intelligence is best qualified in the author's opinion. In my opinion the author did not go far enough, as I find the evidence that the military got technology from the ET's and gave it to industry very believable (Col.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Seeger on September 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book offers a compendium of theses which decently portrays the UFO and alien abduction phenomena.

1) UFOLOGY AND ACADEMIA: THE UFO PHENOMENON AS A SCHOLARLY DISCIPLINE argues for the inclusion of the UFO mystery into the mainstream academia, which should be studying such things, but instead chooses to distance itself from the phenomenon. The debate has been relegated to the tabloid fringe, and respectable science won't go near it. This will need to change if we are ever to get to the bottom of it all.

2) LIMITED ACCESS: SIX NATURAL SCIENTISTS AND THE UFO PHENOMENON is a good primer on six important early ufologists, who laid the groundwork of how to study the phenomenon while government maintained its official position of denial. Some of these men worked for the government as public debunkers, while privately realizing that there is definitely something going on which offers no easy explanations.

3) SCIENCE, LAW, AND WAR: ALTERNATIVE FRAMEWORKS FOR THE UFO EVIDENCE debates which segment of society is most adept at studying the UFO phenomenon. Ultimately, science cannot move forward without tangible proof, which has proven elusive. Science requires data, not eyewitness testimony. The military offers the preferred framework from which to attack the mystery. After all, the objects appear in our skies, seemingly oblivious to our need for an explanation for them. The military must determine if there is a direct or indirect threat to the people it has enlisted to protect, while cloistering itself from public scrutiny.

4) UFO'S, THE MILITARY, AND THE EARLY COLD WAR ERA is a fantastic history of the public and militaristic mindsets of our country beginning with the mystery of the WWII foo fighters and into the Project Blue Book era.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Show on January 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book edited by David Jacobs, Ph.D. expecting good information on the UFO abductions phenomenon from different points of view. I was pleased to find that the book is an excellent source for anyone, such as me, to review data on this subject to be used within the bibliography of a written work on this scientific quest. The material is very straightforward, its bibliography is very good and the notes section at the end of the book is forty pages long with excellent explanations and extensive additional bibliography. Anyone who wants to read solid information on abductions free of sensationalism and with a scientific approach should have this book in his/her library.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The Guardian TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This scholarly collection of 10 essays, each by an author with a different academic speciality and a different take on the abduction phenomenon, is edited by Professor David Jacobs of Temple University, Philadelphia who also writes the introduction and concluding chapter, and pens one of the essays. The book was published by Kansas University Press in 2000, and is available only in its original hardcover.

The essays are as follows:

1. Ufology and Academia: The UFO Phenomenon as a Scholarly Discipline, by Stuart Appelle, Professor of Psychology at the State University of NY - who analyses why the subject is neglected by academia, how this might be rectified, which academic disciplines might be appropriate to study it, and why

2. Limited Access: Six Natural Scientists and the UFO Phenomenon, by Ron Westrum, Professor of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Technology at Eastern Michigan University - who details the works of Donald Menzel, Carl Sagan, James McDonald, J. Allen Hynek, Jacques Vallee and Edward Condon - a mix of free-thinking researchers and (possibly officially-sanctioned and supported) debunkers - and analyses their methodologies, their engagement with the issue and their legacies

3. Science, Law and War: Alternative Frameworks for the UFO Evidence, by Don Donderi, Professor of Psychology at McGill University, Montreal - argues that of all professional disciplines, science is the least appropriate to studying the phenomenon and that military intelligence, due to its methodologies and modus operandi, the most appropriate

4. UFOs, the Military and the Early Cold War Era, by Michael D.
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