- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Melville House (October 25, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 193555414X
- ISBN-13: 978-1935554141
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 7.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 91 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed By Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World Paperback – October 25, 2010
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Praise for Trevor Paglen and I COULD TELL YOU. . .
“ Gives readers a peek into the shadows . . . Department of Defense spokesman Bob Mehal told Newsweek that it ‘would not be prudent to comment on what patches did or did not represent classified units.’ That’s OK. Some mysteries are more fun when they stay unsolved.”
—Karen Pinchin, Newsweek
“An art book that presents peculiar shoulder patches created for the weird and top secret programs funded by the Pentagon’s black budget... an achievement.”
—Timothy Buckwalter, San Francisco Chronicle
“ Some 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.”
—Rebecca Solnit, author of Wanderlust
“ The iconography of the United States military. Not the mainstream military, with its bars and ribbons and medals, but the secret or ‘black projects’ world, which may or may not involve contacting aliens, building undetectable spy aircraft, and experimenting with explosives that could make atomic bombs look like firecrackers. Here, mysterious characters and cryptic symbols hint at intrigue much deeper than rank, company, and unit.”
“ Of course, issuing patches for a covert operation sounds like a joke . . . but truth be told, these days everything is branded. Military symbols are frequently replete with heraldic imagery—some rooted in history, others based on contemporary popular arts that feature comic characters—but these enigmatic dark-op images, in some cases probably designed by the participants themselves, are more personal, and also more disturbing, than most.”
—Steven Heller, The New York Times Book Review
“ Trevor Paglen gets into the black heart of America’s black sites. There is no better guide to this great American mystery. What goes on inside these bases will determine the future of warfare—and who we are—for the rest of the century.”
—Robert Baer, former case officer at the CIA and author of See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism
About the Author
Trevor Paglen is an artist, writer, and geographer. He is the author of Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA’s Rendition Flights (coauthored with A.C. Thompson), Blank Spots on a Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon’s Secret World, and Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes. He lives and works in Oakland and New York City.
Top customer reviews
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Folks who are interested in the subject might really like it, but, as the spread in the Times indicates, there is a general audience also for a look behind the green door if the presentation is accessible. In the case of this modest book, it is small in size and just right in length. The author, Trevor Paglen, states that this book is not intended to be a reference for historians and with that important caveat, I recommend it highly.
Mr. Paglen, a candidate for a PhD in geography at UC Berkeley, treats the subject with respect and seems to have enjoyed himself, as do the patch designers and the people who approved those designs.
His next book (and his thesis), says the Times, is about secret bases and "undisclosed locations" in the US. It is called Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon's Secret World and will be published by Dutton next February (2009). While you're waiting, have a look at Top Secret Tourism: Your Travel Guide to Germ Warfare Laboratories, Clandestine Aircraft Bases and Other Places in the United States You're Not Supposed to Know About by Harry Helms, which is also recommended.
If you are a conspiracy nut, military historian, believe in aliens, collect military artifacts, are into aviation, or any of the above, this may be a really fun book for you!
This is not a dense or didactic book, but rather, it is a picture book with a paragraph or two about each entry. A good supplement to a more serious collection, or a unique coffee table book.
This is a thrilling little book for anyone that was involved in these or similar "black" programs themselves, and maybe even more intriguing for civilians. Not the dimensions of the book - it is very small; the patches are photographed at approximately life size and each page is not much bigger than each patch.
This book focuses mainly on Air Force and NRO secret units. I'd love to see one of these for military intelligence and NSA units.
Also, in probably a minor unrelated point, the cover of the book was a bit mangled when i received it, but didn't feel the need to waste time/money returning it. Amazon just needs to be more careful packing small odd shaped books when in combined order shipping.
Some of the patch designs are self explanatory while others you turn upside down or reverse in the mirror looking a clue as to the patch might be saying.