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Roswell : Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe Hardcover – June 1, 2001

3.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

UFO researcher Pflock has written the definitive book on facts and fantasies surrounding the now-familiar series of 1947 events at Roswell, N.Mex., interpreted by many as an air force coverup involving extraterrestrial bodies at a UFO crash site. Over the years, in the fashion of urban legends, a modern mythology has developed around Roswell, providing fuel for TV movies, feature films, TV series and a full shelf of books, along with UFO museums and annual celebrations that bring tourists to the town. A New Mexico resident and former believer, Pflock offers exhaustive research, spanning eight years, a fascinating probe that has transformed him into a skeptic. With photos, drawings and interviews, Pflock focuses on secret high-altitude balloon research conducted for the U.S. Army Air Force by New York University in 1947. These balloon trains, taller than the Washington Monument, were launched from Alamogordo Air Force Base, 90 miles southwest of Roswell. Assembling formerly classified documents, along with 1947 United Press wire transmissions, weather data and 28 witness affidavits, Pflock attempts to refute past "witness" tales, expose claims made by other books on this subject and prove the U.S. government has no physical evidence. He has succeeded at this in a major fashion, creating an unusual and authoritative study. As Pournelle notes: "This is a courageous and important book." Many who come to it will be persuaded that it cracks the mystery, wipes the slate clean and exposes the hullabaloo about Roswell as nothing more than a fabulous fairy tale, peaking in a delightful paragraph that tracks the famed purple-pink "alien hieroglyphics" to a novelty company on New York City's Canal Street. (June 30)Forecast: Reviews, controversy and word-of-mouth will prompt both believers and nonbelievers to seek out this title.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Just when it seems the market cannot bear another book on crashed UFOs at Rockwell, New Mexico, another book finds its way to publication, but this one will definitely need a place on the shelf. Pflock, a former Defense Department official and CIA intelligence officer, presents a well-argued, well-written, well-documented, and well-illustrated case against the 1947 crash being that of an alien spacecraft. His approach is more tempered than those of other skeptics, including Kal Korff (The Roswell UFO Crash, 1997) and Philip J. Klass (The Real Roswell Crashed-Saucer Coverup, 1997). Step by step, he identifies the weak points in supporters' arguments, picks apart ambiguous evidence, reexamines critical testimony, and finds little more than wishful thinking for an alien scenario. The best case yet to explain the crash, according to Pflock? A Project Mogul balloon gone astray. Is this the last word on Roswell? Probably not, since Pflock shades a few questionable points in his favor, but an equally reasoned and comprehensive argument will have to be presented to counter Pflock effectively. George Eberhart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 331 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (June 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573928941
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573928946
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,630,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Reid on July 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After plodding my way through this book, I came to one conclusion, Mr. Pflock has written the finest book on the events in and around Roswell, New Mexico during the early days of July, 1947. Don't let the term "plodding" distract or deter you, the book is pedantic as hell, and a good read nonetheless. This sort of treatment has been sorely lacking, and the recent spate of "pulp fiction" about Roswell hasn't helped anything.
Mr. Pflock includes photographs, documents, affidavits, everything the serious student of Roswell needs to make their own decision. Coming from the the "believer" side of the Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis, Mr. Pflock has truly written a wonderful, exact, and incisive book.
Want to know what happened at Roswell? Buy it now. Don't be a cheapskate, buy a couple for yer friends. They make great Christmas gifts. Be a real doll and send one to Stanton Friedman, or Kevin Randle, they need this book. Oh, be extra generous and send one to Whitley Streiber and Art Bell, they REALLY need this book.
'Nuff said.
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Format: Hardcover
Like JFK's death, a mini-industry has grown up around Roswell, New Mexico, and the claim that a spacecraft crashed there in July of 1947. In recent years there have even been network broadcasts of film footage purporting to show the autopsy of alien beings, together with countless books, TV series, museums, and annual UFO festivals in the desert; and a counter-industry, almost as large, has been devoted to debunking these myths. When biased and self-serving research came under attack, there were cries of conspiracy and cover-up, only deepening confusion and suspicion in the public mind.
Finally someone with a first-rate intellect and a genuinely open mind has tackled this issue, and after painstaking research has laid the demons to rest. Sifting through literally thousands of bits of information and conflicting claims, Pflock has organized them all into a well-researched, lucid, and compelling account of what happened that day in July, and in the over half-century since then. His narrative brings together traditional claims and counter-claims, official documentation, and original interviews with many of the people involved. It makes for fascinating and convincing reading.
Pflock comes to the subject with some impressive credentials, having been a a former intelligence officer with the CIA, and a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence. Drawing heavily on his investigatory and analytical skills, he leads us through the labyrinth of conflicting facts, claims and theories that is Roswell to emerge on the other side with a clear and convincing account, well-documented and closely reasoned. This is not only a book for UFO fans and their critics; it is a model for anyone committed to careful reasoning, rigorous research, and lucid writing. I cannot recommend it too strongly!
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Format: Hardcover
For over 50 years the debate has raged as to what exactly happened in early July of 1947 in the New Mexico desert near Roswell Army Air Field. If you look around you will find literally dozens of books, articles, documentaries and movies that deal with the alleged "Flying Saucer" crash and the subsequent Army cover-up that followed.
The author is a veteran "Ufologist" who makes it his business to study these strange happenings and his position as a believer does not deter him from (finally) making an objective study of what went on and why. So much of this book is about how we as people can be blinded by what we want to believe despite obvious evidence to the contrary. The author readily admits his own guilt in this as well so he is not some smug "told ya so" type with an axe to grind.
The author takes the reader step by step through the "facts" surrounding the events at Roswell that year and systematically shows how he followed up on even the most remote detail to prove or disprove its veracity. What he discovers is so absurdly simple that it really drives home the point concerning the "power to believe" and how quickly we accept what we are told when we just want to believe.
I think everyone should read this book regardless of whether they are interested in UFOs or not since it is a powerful statement of the absurdity of how we generally believe what we believe. His findings as to what happened are not new to the debate so if you are a rabid follower of the "Roswell Incident" from either camp (believers & non-believers) you will find no revelations here, but his methods and his focus are what impressed me.
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Format: Hardcover
In his Introduction, Jerry Pournelle calls this a "courageous" book. I found it sad.
Karl Pflock spent a considerable fraction of his years since retiring from government service and private industry investigating the Roswell "mystery." In the end, he comes to the conclusion that what Mack Brazel found on his ranch in 1947 was no more than what it looked like at first glance: some broken balsa wood sticks, fishing line, scraps of rubber and tinfoil.
Whether this trash was a weather balloon or the remains of a high-altitude spy device, one thing it certainly was not: the wreckage of an alien space vehicle or aircraft.
To get from there to here, though, he had to plow through every sort of bad evidence: Old folks' confused and faded memories. Embellishments from people trying to add color and importance to their uninteresting lives. Coverups of long-obsolete government secrets, running on bureaucratic inertia. Forgeries and tall tales produced for profit or for ideology. And more than one out-and-out con man.
It's about as depressing a list of petty human folly as anyone could wish to avoid. And it seems to have taken a toll on Pflock. He keeps his pen under tight control, but he doesn't mince words about his fellow "researchers." Nor does he spare Karl Pflock -- much. He admits that his objectivity, his agnosticism as to whether the "Roswell mystery" was real or not, was not all he thought it was.
It has to be a bitter thing to give up on a hoped-for revelation of the reality of UFOs, to find the evidence for a major, major UFO landing case crumbling in your hands, to find friends and colleagues in ufology revealed as self-blinded or dishonest.
The reins slip in a place or two, and Pflock rails against both UFO-believers and UFO-skeptics.
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