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James E. Oberg "Jim Oberg" RSS Feed (Houston, Texas)
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We Discovered Alien Bases on the Moon II
We Discovered Alien Bases on the Moon II
by Fred Steckling
Edition: Paperback
24 used & new from $19.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars YOU CAN JUDGE THIS BOOK BY ITS COVER -- PHONY, August 2, 2014
Just compare the cropped cover image with the original at [...] to see why the author seems to show contempt for the intelligence of his target audience, and usually that assessment is fully validated by the adoring reviews.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 15, 2014 6:36 AM PDT


The Target Is Destroyed: What Really Happened To Flight 007 And What America Knew About It
The Target Is Destroyed: What Really Happened To Flight 007 And What America Knew About It
by Seymour M. Hersh
Edition: Hardcover
195 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clearer in hindsight, January 7, 2013
When the disaster occurred thirty years ago, at the height of the Cold War, people reacted pretty much true to their existing political biases. Placing the blame for the tragic deaths followed ideological lines. There were a lot of 'classic' argument-from-conclusion of this type, which were bad scholarship in service to perpetuators of a bad act, the Soviet government.

Hersh's book tried to do better, and got the big picture closer to reality -- but even he didn't have access to what the Soviets had captured and were hiding. fortunately [for many reasons], the USSR collapsed, the airliner's 'black box' was released, and the accidental nature of the course deviation was finally proven -- a different scenario from the one Hersh proposed, but of the same nature and with the same tragic consequences.

Analysis, and new data, over following years also showed the Soviet attempts to identify it incompetent, leading to an inexcusable decision to apply deadly force AFTER the flight had departed Soviet airspace, while it was over international waters.

A lot of the controversies and investigations are summarized at my site
[...]


Shootdown the Verdict On Kal 007
Shootdown the Verdict On Kal 007
by R W Johnson
Edition: Paperback
25 used & new from $0.01

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shameful Misuse of Pseudo-Scholarship, January 7, 2013
When the disaster occurred thirty years ago, at the height of the Cold War, people reacted pretty much true to their existing political biases. Placing the blame for the tragic deaths followed ideological lines. Johnson's book was a 'classic' argument-from-conclusion of this type, and it was bad scholarship in service to perpetuators of a bad act, the Soviet government. Analysis, and new data, over following years showed the airliner's course deviation was accidental and the Soviet attempts to identify it incompetent, leading to an inexcusable decision to apply deadly force AFTER the flight had departed Soviet airspace, while it was over international waters.

A lot of the controversies and investigations are summarized at my site
[...]
including a detailed debunking of Johnson's earlier articles on the subject.


Incident at Sakhalin: The True Mission of KAL Flight 007
Incident at Sakhalin: The True Mission of KAL Flight 007
by Michel Brun
Edition: Hardcover
49 used & new from $0.28

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In hindsight, such theories turn out to be bogus, January 7, 2013
When the disaster occurred thirty years ago, at the height of the Cold War, people reacted pretty much true to their existing political biases. Placing the blame for the tragic deaths followed ideological lines. Brun's book was a 'classic' argument-from-conclusion of this type, and it was bad scholarship in service to perpetuators of a bad act, the Soviet government. I debated Brun in Seattle in 1992 and fgound his arguments silly, superficial, and insincere -- and his alleged 'Russian transcripts' fictitious. Analysis, and new data, over following years showed the airliner's course deviation was accidental and the Soviet attempts to identify it incompetent, leading to an inexcusable decision to apply deadly force AFTER the flight had departed Soviet airspace, while it was over international waters.

A lot of the controversies and investigations are summarized at my site
[...]


Kal Flight 007: The Hidden Story
Kal Flight 007: The Hidden Story
by Oliver E. Clubb
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.24
34 used & new from $1.16

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hindsight shows conspiracy theories were bogus, January 7, 2013
When the disaster occurred thirty years ago, at the height of the Cold War, people reacted pretty much true to their existing political biases. Placing the blame for the tragic deaths followed ideological lines. Clubb's book was a 'classic' argument-from-conclusion of this type,amd it was bad scholarship in service to perpetuators of a bad act, the Soviet government. Analysis, and new data, over following years showed the airliner's course deviation was accidental and the Soviet attempts to identify it incompetent, leading to an inexcusable decision to apply deadly force AFTER the flight had departed Soviet airspace, while it was over international waters.

A lot of the controversies and investigations are summarized at my site
[...]


Starman: Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin
Starman: Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin
by Jamie Doran
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from $2.99

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2011 Re-Issue and the media firestorm, April 8, 2011
An American edition has been released, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Gagarin's flight, and some sections of the book have ignited a media firestorm that has even upset the Russians as they prepare to honor Gagarin.

But the flap is peripheral to the book itself, which I found to be a well researched and well written treatment of one human being who was the focal point of humanity's breakout into space. I wholeheartedly recommend it for yourself or family members with even only a vague interest in the subject.

The authors bring up some new material from recently published memoirs from people who have yet to be accepted by space historians [including myself], and perhaps that reluctance is prudent -- time will tell, since there are still deep secrets in Moscow archives that we are not allowed to see, that could knock our socks off. This controversial material of profoundly uncertain reliability is treated fairly by the authors and cautious readers will not be misled.

For telling an old story in a grand new way, for taking advantage of the hindsight that several decades now allows, and for integrating material only recently reaching the public, this book has earned respect.


UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record
UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record
by Leslie Kean
Edition: Hardcover
51 used & new from $5.00

74 of 202 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Superficially impressive, fundamentally flawed, August 25, 2010
1. This is very impressive-looking new book on UFOs by journalist Leslie Kean, with impressive endorsements and a lot of reader excitement. I advise stepping back and taking a few deep breaths.
2. I've been fascinated with the subject all my life, from a skeptical but puzzled point of view -- and although most cases (even most FAMOUS cases) seem to have prosaic explanations, I think there could well be phenomena of significant interest to science, theology, national security, law enforcement, meteorology, perceptual psychology, dianetics, whatever, lurking among the weeds.
3. I'll be writing a longer commentary on the book for a major media website to appear in a few days, but this can't wait.
4. Kean's book, in my view, suffers from major shortcomings and misunderstandings that render its conclusions -- "UFOs are real physical objects that deserve high-level government respect" -- invalid.
5. Nobody is in any position to "prove" that "UFOs do NOT exist" or that (for one typical theory) "alien civilizations can NOT be visiting Earth." Such arguments are only opinions without logical foundation. And if aliens really are here, they can be as invisible as they like.
6. The REAL question is this: is there a subset of UFO reports that cannot be explained in ANY earthly/prosaic terms, but instead are undeniable proof that some NEW stimulus, some entirely unknown phenomenon (or phenomena) causes them?
7. Kean says YES. I say MAYBE NOT. Here's why.
8. Kean claims that pilot testimony of strange aerial events is the best ever, they are the most reliable human eyewitnesses to any events in the air.
9. Au contraire, I say that pilots have been shown by studies to react based on the dangers they expect, so they are very safe to fly with, but they 'worst case' fleeting glimpses into the kinds of aerial situations they have reason to fear most. That 'first impression' can then persist over any long and complicated subsequent pilot interaction with the apparition or others that follow. A 'false positive' (mistaking something harmless for a hazard) has no cost, but a 'false negative' (NOT recognizing as hazardous something that really IS so) can be fatal -- so 'rather safe than sorry' is a good rule.
10. Both statistical studies (eg, by Hynek, 'Professor UFO' of the 1960s) and case after case of actual pilot reactions, support this surprising assessment. Pilots often misperceive even astronomical phenomena as collision-course aircraft.
11. Kean claims that explainable 'UFO reports' are useless once the prosaic cause is determined, but experts can separate out a distinct subset of all reports which can be proven to have no earthly explanation -- these are the "true UFOs".
12. Au contraire, I claim that there is a 'slippery slope' of "solvability" of cases, which get harder and require more 'lucky breaks' in finding out the prosaic cause, but no SHARP boundary on which one side is all the solvable cases and the other, the unsolvables.
13. Kean actually provides supportive evidence for MY assertion in her book (p. 136) where she refers to a list of 1300 pilot UFO cases collected by French researcher Dominique Weinstein, asserting that the cases are all 'true UFOs" because they have been investigated by experts and determined to be unsolvable.
14. But a cursory review of the list reveals at least a dozen cases in my own technical specialty, missile and space activity, where the solution was found and published years ago [list and links to be given in 'comments']. But Weinstein ignored the published solutions and Kean declared that no such explanations even existed.
15. And Kean then provides involuntary support for my assessment that pilots perceive ambiguous apparitions in terms they have been trained to fear, for their own safety. On page 137 she asserts that the 'true UFOs' recognize the nature of the pilots who are observing them and tailor their behavior to the pilots -- threatening collisions for civilians, and mimicking dog fights for the military, based on the markedly different descriptions that the two categories of pilots give for their own UFO encounters.
16. Think about this: to explain how the different categories of pilots perceive the UFOs each in terms of their own special experiences, Kean proposes that the UFOs are deliberately behaving differently for different types of pilots.
17. A much simpler explanation makes more sense: the pilots, when faced with ambiguous, rapid, short-lived apparitions, receive the raw data and process it in terms they are already familiar with. Which is what I argue from the beginning.
18. But for Kean, the UFO reports are gospel and since they have been validated (in her imagination only), they can be absolutely relied on. Skeptical investigations of these or any other case she uses simply, to her, do not exist. Published prosaic explanations, even those widely accepted by serious ufologists, do not exist.
19. This allows her to use as evidence cases such as Jimmy Carter's 'UFO', one that was solved decades ago. And others.
20. By declaring that all 'solved' UFO reports are useless garbage, she can avoid facing the difficulty that the pilot cases she highlights do not in any essential aspects differ from them, from cases known to have been caused by prosaic stimuli perceived through the pilot's pro-survival interpretive process.
21. By falsely declaring all 'non-UFO' reports as garbage, she also can argue (p. 449) that military interest in UFO reports (which she defines as reports that have NO earthly explanation) is proof the government treats them as genuine. A more complete understanding of such interest is that many of the prosaic stimuli behind many pseudo-UFO reports are themselves of genuine and justifiable interest to specialists. Missile launches, for example, or warhead reentry tests -- the stimuli for a number of the 'true UFO' stories in the Weinstein list that Kean declares totally genuine and unsolvable.
22. None of these arguments can prove that the reports Kean promotes cannot be genuinely unexplainable, even alien in nature. The only logical assertion a skeptical view can establish is that the reports don't HAVE to be caused by aliens or unknown phenomena. Plenty of examples exist to show that pilots have made and doubtlessly will continue to make similar reports, even in the total absence of any genuinely unexplainable stimulus. Bizarre ground marks and instrument readings happen all the time. Further, solving the last few percent of the stories can't be expected since the fewer that remain the harder they get to find the explanation for. This is a feature of the human 'explaining process', not necessarily a feature of the stimulus.
23. In real life, the same is true for murders, kidnappings, accidents, illnesses, all the catastrophes that befall humanity. We don't need to conjure up alien murderers or kidnappers to account for unsolved crimes, we realize that life's like that. Not finding Jimmy Hoffa isn't proof he must be on Mars.
24. The 'maybe not' assessment makes it even MORE important to keep eyes and minds open to vigorously observe, accurately perceive, and precisely relate unusual aerial perceptions, both for the chances something really new COULD be discovered, and for the chances that something critically important is masquerading, by accident or design, in a manner that might prompt too many people to pay too little attention to the sighting. Rejecting it ALL, or jumping to a blind alley's wild goose chase, is equally harmful.
Comment Comments (153) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 24, 2014 12:38 PM PDT


Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon
Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon
by Craig Nelson
Edition: Hardcover
283 used & new from $0.01

31 of 114 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bungled the core of the story, June 30, 2009
In the middle of all the verbal context in the book, the author -- like so many other careless historians and reporters -- crashes and burns over the 'small step' that Armstrong so eloquently describes. He totally misunderstands -- and misrepresents -- it.

"The step was really not so small, by the way. From the last rung of the ladder to the surface of the moon, it was a three-and-a-half foot drop."

Wrong.

The step, taken once Armstrong was already off the ladder and standing on the trashcan-sized footpad of the landing leg the ladder was attached to, was of his left foot moving sideways a few inches and then a few inches down to the lunar surface. That was the 'small step'. This book is clueless.
Comment Comments (37) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 8, 2010 6:41 AM PDT


The First Soviet Cosmonaut Team: Their Lives and Legacies (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration)
The First Soviet Cosmonaut Team: Their Lives and Legacies (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration)
by Colin Burgess
Edition: Paperback
Price: $29.43
81 used & new from $21.83

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space Sleuthing At Its Best, May 4, 2009
Absolutely masterful chronicle of the careers and fates of the earliest Soviet cosmonauts, as determined by a team of dogged space sleuths who over decades had to penetrate Soviet secrecy and coverups and outright falsifications to figure out the human stories behind the headlines. I'm celestially proud to have been one of their colleagues and a contributor of some resources on this daunting voyage of discovery -- whose wonderful fruits are displayed in this book that never could have been written without these inspired amateur space historians. Well done!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 6, 2009 3:15 AM PDT


Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream
Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream
by Tanya Lee Stone
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.33
101 used & new from $2.21

18 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Be sure to seek out the full story, March 20, 2009
The women described here never trained for space, never worked for NASA, nor were they ever `top secret' - instead they helped develop medical standards for women in space, the original and only purpose of the privately-funded project. To represent them as victims of prejudice is to smear those men (and women) who devoted their lives to opening the space frontier, under intense international competition. And it's bad history, sadly, while apparently being very, very good political propaganda.

See www dot thespacereview dot com slash article/869/1 and
www dot jamesoberg dot com slash 2007womenspacecraftcommanders_sta dot html
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 25, 2012 9:18 AM PDT


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