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Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon's Secret World Paperback – Bargain Price, March 2, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
aAndrew J. Bacevich, professor in international relations at Boston University, retired colonel in the US Army, and author of "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism"
aTrevor Paglen gets into the black heart of Americaas black sites. There is no better guide to this great American mystery. What goes on inside these bases will determine the future of warfareaand who we areafor the rest of the century.a
aRobert Baer, former case officer at the CIA and author of "See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIAas War on Terrorism"
a"Blank Spots" is an important, well-researched, and insightful expose that opens a window into the black world of secret operations. Paglenas conclusion that aour own history, in large part, has become a state secreta is both a warning and a call to arms. It is time to heed the warning and take up arms.a
aJohn Perkins, author of "Confessions of an Economic Hitman"
aA chillingly literal tour de force. Paglen doesnat so much fill in the blanks as trace their outlines and give their shifting shapes a density that says as much about the future of democracy as it does about the dismal confines of the black world.a
aDerek Gregory, Professor of Geography, University of British Columbia
aLiving among us is an entire shadow industry of secret careers, unmarked flights, and razor-wired compounds evoking stereotyped images of the Cold-War Soviet Union. In what is still the world's most open society, Paglen adroitlyexposes this dark geography. His book is fascinating and necessary.a
aLaurence Smith, Professor of Geography, University of California Los Angeles
aSome of the worst crimes in the American landscape are hiding in plain sight, and nobody has ever pursued them more thoroughly or explained them more chillingly and engagingly than Trevor Paglen. What he is doing is important, fascinating, and groundbreaking.a
aRebecca Solnit, National Book Critics Circle Award Winner and author of "Wanderlust" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
According to Trevor Paglen, a geographer by trade, this black world can bounded by adroit compilation of blank areas on official maps, deleted passages from official documents, and acute observations of restricted areas and activities. Well he has certainly done a very thorough job of it. He begins with the secret and unacknowledged government test sites scattered throughout the country, but especially in the South Western U.S. that actually employ an astonishingly large number military and civilian workers yet still are literarily off the map. He subsequently tackles such arcane topics as black operations, black funding, and a host of other unacknowledged, often denied, U.S. activities including questionable and even illegal programs and operations. Perhaps the most discouraging information he provides is how easily it is for officials of the black world to hoodwink congress and the media, both nominal guards against government excesses. Certainly the most astonishing thing he reveals is that the black world in total may employ as many as 4 million military and civilians who carry secret or higher clearances. The fact that this many people can be involved and yet so many black activities remain completely off the gird is pretty scary in itself.
This reviewer has tremendous respect for the academic discipline of geography.Read more ›
As an example of the problems of the book I'll touch on the work at Groom Lake (Area 51), on the Nevada Test Range, operated as part of Nellis Air Force Base. Mr. Paglen asserts that the work at Groom Lake is so secret that not even the name "Groom Lake" can be used in publio. That may have been true many years ago, but isn't now. Indeed, a large amount of information about what goes on at the Area 51 test site is available on the Web, some of it thoughtfully provided by the United States Air Force. I spent a couple of hours browsing this material, and finally I got bored, having learned as much as I cared to know from text, photos, maps, etc. And I note one minor misrepresentation of fact in Mr. Paglen's material on Groom Lake. In two places he asserts that the Soviet aircraft used in Red Flag exercises were "stolen" from the Russians, but that's not how they were acquired. The US gov't got those from countries which had acquired them from the Soviet Union and then decided to use US equipment instead, and happily let us have their unwanted Soviet-built fighter aircraft.
Indeed, there is one truly "black" area at the Nevada Test Range: "Area 19".Read more ›
An interesting historical review of the "Black" world of American intelligence operations. The title is a little misleading but considering the subject matter that seems rather appropriate. Mr. Paglen does an adequate job of historical documentation on all aspects of the secret and above secret "Black" world of alphabet soup intelligence agencies. At times he is rather pedantic in certain aspects of the intelligence world, like super secret intelligence satellites, while quickly glossing over more interesting operations like Iran-Contra and Groom Lake. His chapter on Federal Law and the evolution of today's massive intelligence gathering machine is very interesting and worthy of more examination. One of the most interesting little nuggets that Mr. Paglen highlighted was, "At this moment approximately four million (his italics) people in the United States hold security clearances to work on classified projects. By way of contrast, the federal government employs approximately 1.8 million civilians in the white world." Amazing. Since its very beginning as the "Black Chamber" in 1919, covert/clandestine/"Black" Operations has grown to such a monumental size that few in our government knows just how large the "organization" really is. Furthermore, money does not seem to be a problem as great amounts simply disappear into the secret black world of classified intelligence. To use the old cliché, "If I tell you then I'll have to kill you." How much? That's classified1
All in all a good, general, cursory examination of America's "Black" world of intelligence. Have your laptop ready so you can "Goggle" much of what Mr. Paglen writes for a more in-depth examination and see interesting pictures.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
All about what you should not know about this book written from a geographers perspective documents to the extent possible torture chambers, technicians in orange suits heading to... Read morePublished 13 months ago by William D. Shea
More than just the typical Area 51/Nellis/Edwards stuff. I really enjoyed the read, even the more disturbing parts (terrorist renditions and Iran /Contra). Read morePublished 18 months ago by Wyogunner
I am still reading, and studying, this book, but I am extremely impressed with Trevor Paglen's reasoning and the inspired way he manages to see around obstacles to normal... Read morePublished 21 months ago by James LaMar
This book seems to present a great deal of information about the margins of the classified world that the author investigated, yet by the end of the book I was left saying to... Read morePublished 22 months ago by DR
Here I thought I was going to get a secret view of the government and all I got was a history and economics lesson from high school. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Steven Pitts
Obviously the author has an agenda, but it's a very thought provoking read!Published 22 months ago by Bill Powell
Geographer Trevor Paglen takes us on tour of some famous, some infamous and some unknown locations where those without security clearance cannot go. Read morePublished 22 months ago by A. Silverstone