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Watch the Skies! Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (October 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425151174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425151174
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,962,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's not your typical UFO book, though it is full of contactees, conspiracy plots, and cattle mutilations. With an in-depth, although skeptical scrutiny of the UFO phenomenon, Peebles doesn't address every case but tackles the most widely quoted incidents from Kenneth Arnold's sighting of flying disks in the '40s through the abduction trends of the early '90s. While the book is biased, Peebles' research is impeccable, and he brings to light facts which many pro-UFO authors tend to neglect. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Aerospace historian Peebles ( The Moby Dick Project ) argues that all UFO reports are misinterpretations of conventional objects, atmospheric phenomena, drama, delusional experiences, or else hoaxes. His debunking chronicle of UFO phenomena--extending from pilot Kenneth Arnold's 1947 sighting of craft near Mount Rainier in Washington to the modern era--is marred by highly selective reporting, distortions and omissions. His often superficial coverage of close encounters, abduction cases, reports of crashed UFOs and other sightings, while it may comfort ironclad skeptics, should be weighed against careful investigative works such as Timothy Good's Above Top Secret: The Worldwide UFO Coverup and Larry Fawcett and Barry Greenwood's Clear Intent: The Government Coverup of the UFO Experience. Peebles's overarching theory that UFOs represent an evolving "myth" embodying humanity's hopes, fears and search for mythological beings doesn't square with the evidence he cites.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"Watch the Skies" is simply one of the best books by a UFO skeptic that I've read. Unlike debunkers such as Philip Klass and Robert Sheaffer, who unnecessarily ridicule witnesses and often ignore evidence which contradicts their "explanations" (which, of course, is a failing of many "believers" as well) Peebles is fair to both sides. What makes this book especially appealing, to believer and skeptic alike, is that it is one of the few "historical" works on UFOs - it treats UFOs as a historical phenomenon and not simply a random series of sightings and photographs. The only other book to do this, to my knowledge, is David Jacob's "The UFO Controversy in America" which was published a quarter-century ago. My only complaint with this book is that Peebles' "explanations" for most UFO sightings lack depth and often are of the "armchair investigator" variety. Anyone who has read a great deal about the sightings he describes will find plenty to argue with. However, as a synopsis of the skeptic's viewpoint (that all UFO sightings can be explained as weather balloons, birds, mirages, stars, ball lightning, and, failing all else, hoaxes), this book is as about as good as it gets. Recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Peebles' book is a refreshing alternative to the fevered productions of the UFO industry. He brings historical research and a healthy skepticism to a field overgrown with mass-market pop-culture faith and credulity. His "rational" explanations are sometimes pat and unconvincing, or he doesn't offer any. But of course this book will never sell as well as the alienist popular media, because the alien myth is so entertaining and for some, religiously fulfilling. As Peeble amply documents, belief in the alien origins of UFOs is a matter of faith, and a product of the human hunger for transcendence.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Commander Adama on October 25, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Curtis Peebles is a noted aviation journalist and historian. In "Watch the Skies" he presents one of the best historical accounts of the UFO phenomenon that I've ever read. The book begins in 1946 with the sighting of mysterious "Ghost Rockets" over Northern Europe and then follows the creation of what Peebles calls the "Flying Saucer Myth" in the USA. In June 1947 a successful businessman and private pilot named Kenneth Arnold spotted nine strange "flying disks" speeding over Mt. Rainier in Washington State. A baffled Arnold clocked the object's speed at over 1200 MPH - far faster than any human aircraft could fly at the time. His story made headlines around the nation, and soon the "flying saucer era" was born.

Peebles methodically traces the UFO phenomenon from the "glory days" of the forties and early fifties - a period when even the US military thought there might be something to the UFO mystery and took it seriously - to what he calls the "darker myths" of the modern era, with its emphasis on alien abductions, government coverups and conspiracies, and the like. A confirmed UFO skeptic, Peebles at least states he's a skeptic at the beginning of the book, and unlike many UFO debunkers (such as Philip Klass, Robert Sheaffer, and other CSICOP-style critics), he is fair and sympathetic to UFO witnesses and UFO researchers. However, he does tend to explain away many baffling sightings and incidents without looking at all the evidence (like many UFO skeptics, he sometimes falls into the "armchair investigator", or "toilet-seat thinker" categories). Peebles believes that just as witches and fairies represented the "myths" of earlier historical eras, so UFOs are a "modern myth", and he treats the UFO phenomenon as a present-day "mythology-in-progress".
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Peebles is one of the few UFO authors who gives and suggests scientific and anecdotal explanations to the major events in the UFO world that have infiltrated into pop culture and the UFO religion as a whole. This is the only book that gives the full explanation and circumstances surrounding many famous UFO events, not just the part or version of the whole story that supports the suggestion that alien spacecraft and beings are among us. Although not written using strict scientific method, Peebles' book nonetheless debunks many popular UFO stories by merely providing information related to those events that always seems to be forgotten by many hardcore UFO followers. An excellent and thought-provoking read, also very well resarched and reasoned.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Is Peebles a government stooge? Is this book an attempt at disinformation to throw of the scent? If you believe that, you'll believe anything.
Apparently some people do.
This book is a fine attempt to show how the crackpot theories and people gain prominence through fraud, misunderstanding, or desperately wanting to believe that something other than us is out there. Sceptics will love it, believers will hate it, but only because they are shown to be the fools that they are. Peebles shows that there is no proof of UFOs, EBEs or secret governments. The UFO industry has too much invested for people to believe in anything else.
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