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UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record Hardcover – August 10, 2010
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"At last, a serious and thoughtful book about this controversial subject. Skeptics and true believers will find a treasure trove of insightful and eye opening information. This book is bound to set the gold standard for UFO research."
—Michio Kaku, Ph.D. Author of Physics of the Impossible and host of Sci Fi Science on the Science Channel
“I was astonished by the care and precision of Leslie Kean’s research in this terrific book. Her analysis is carefully reasoned and to the point; her craftsmanship in organization and writing are superb. Her expose' raises important questions: Why does the US government create public distrust by neglecting this important topic? Why do its agencies avoid investigating cases of interference with flight operations and instead issue absurd cover-up stories? This book is ultimately an appeal to all scholars for an "extraordinary investigation of an extraordinary phenomenon.”
—Rudy Schild, Ph.D., Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
“Like me, Leslie Kean is an agnostic on the issue of UFOs. Her book is a fine piece of journalism - not about beliefs, but about facts. Kean presents the most accurate, most credible reports on UFO's you will ever find. She has fought long and hard to discover the facts and let the chips fall where they may. She may not have the final smoking gun, but I smell the gunpowder.”
—Miles O'Brien, former CNN space/science correspondent
“I find explanations offered by UFO enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists to be implausible, but I also have little patience with "deniers" who ridicule credible reports. Leslie Kean has found a thoughtful path between extreme views, documenting the UFO mystery with intelligence and insight. She makes a strong case for U.S. participation in official, international UFO investigations and for public dissemination of the results. The fascinating first-hand accounts make this a thought-provoking book, even for those of us who don’t know much about UFOs.”
—Neal Lane, Ph.D., Rice University; former Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
“If you don't know much about UFOs, you must read this book. If you think that UFO reports are nonsense, this book will disabuse you of that notion. Leslie Kean's UFOs informs readers at every level of knowledge and belief. It could, and should, become the "tipping point" that leads to public acceptance of the reality of UFOs and all of its implications.”
—Don Donderi, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, McGill University (Ret.)
“In an area of study where there aren’t many, this is a serious book. It is credible, clear, and compelling, without any farfetched jumps in logic and assumption. Its credibility begins on the first page with John Podesta and continues with case studies of extraordinary quality to the very end. Leslie Kean not only makes the case for, but calls for, a whole new concrete and realistic perspective on UFOs that has more honesty and integrity than any other that I have read. This is a book for anyone with an open mind.”
—John L. Petersen, Founder & President of The Arlington Institute
“In these pages we are confronted head-on by the UFO phenomenon as revealed firsthand by highly credible government officials and military aviation experts. Their credibility and integrity cannot be questioned, and their firsthand observations cannot be ignored. Leslie Kean provides a challenging analysis and she writes with penetrating depth and insight. The revelations in this book constitute a watershed event in lifting the taboo against rational discourse about this controversial subject.”
—Harold E. Puthoff, Ph.D., Director of The Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin
“When I started reading Leslie Kean’s UFOs, I found it very difficult to stop. This is an unprecedented assessment of what may be the greatest challenge ever presented to mankind. In an outstanding piece of investigative journalism, Kean provides a well-written and convincing appeal for change in dealing with a phenomenon that can no longer be ignored.”
—Jean-Claude Ribes, Ph.D., Paris Observatory (Ret.)
“For anyone who questions why - after more than fifty years of denial, ridicule, and dismissal - many scientists, academics, political figures, and military personnel still insist that the subject of UFOs should be taken seriously, this book provides the answer. Leslie Kean offers compelling documentation that physical objects, with flight characteristics not yet achievable by known technology, are being routinely reported in our skies. They represent a mystery that needs to be solved.”
—Stuart Appelle, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Science and Mathematics, State University of New York, Brockport
"Leslie Kean’s astonishing book is the finest piece of investigative journalism ever written on this subject. She has an incomparable ability to ‘give voice’ to a constituency of exceptionally qualified and unbiased first-hand observers. They are not from the fringe, not groupies, and not delusional. Rather, they are high-level military, intelligence, aerospace, and government officials who speak with authority while providing reports that document actual, physical craft. Kean’s book represents the first important step toward a new U.S. government openness about UFOs. It brings forward a reality otherwise buried for far too long inside official mystery, and elevates the discourse above that of small-minded public discussions."
—Christopher C. Green, MD, Ph.D., Harper University Hospital, Wayne State University School of Medicine
About the Author
LESLIE KEAN is an investigative journalist who has been published internationally and nationally in the Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Providence Journal, The Nation, International Herald Tribune, Globe and Mail, and Journal of Scientific Exploration, among other publications. She is coauthor of Burma’s Revolution of the Spirit and cofounder of the Coalition for Freedom of Information. She lives in New York.
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Top Customer Reviews
Since those days I have read quite a number of books on the subject and I don’t know a whole lot more than I did back then. I don’t know what UFOs are, where they originate, or what they are doing here, but I damn sure want to know before they pat me in the face with a long handle shovel.
Most of the books I’ve read on UFOs start with the premise that UFOs are extraterrestrial spacecraft and then go about presenting cases that the author says can’t be explained otherwise. Leslie Kean’s book is different, and stands out from all the others, in that it takes an agnostic approach to the subject. As an investigative reporter she doesn’t even know if there is such a thing, and sets out to find out.
I became familiar with Ms. Kean through her appearances on the History Channel and the old H2 Channel. She impressed me, and when I saw that she had written this book I bought it.
Ms. Kean starts out completely neutral on the subject and only on the premise that there is something happening in our atmosphere that astronomers, military and commercial pilots, and average people on the ground have been seeing for years, and that is picked up routinely by commercial and military radar. She then goes on to establish and document proof that this is truly the case, before pursuing the question of what’s being seen.
The title of the book is “UFOs - Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record”, so I’m thinking WOW, she has a bunch of Major Donald Keyhoes, Dr. James McDonalds, Senators, Congressmen, Governors and the like, finally coming clean on UFOs. She does, but alas, they are not United States officials (dream on Sailorman) at least most of them. She does however present some pretty impressive information from files released from countries like France, Belgium, Brazil, United Kingdom and many other countries that are more open, public, and official about their investigation of the UFO phenomena, and in reporting their findings. She also reproduces interviews with many of these foreign commercial and military pilots, government officials, UFO investigators, professors, etc., many of whom are now retired.
While I still didn’t get my answers to what UFOs are, where they originate, or what they are doing here, I did learn that a lot of other countries take this phenomena very seriously, consider it a national defense and/or public air safety issue, and have set up and still operate official government agencies to study and try to understand it. Also, that the United States does too, but keeps it all secret (DUH, among one heck of a lot of other things) and are less than cooperative with other countries openly studying it.
This is certainly not you run-of-the-mill UFO book. It’s an easy read, full of new information, well documented, and well worth its price and the time it takes to read it. Buy it, read it, and enjoy it. You’ll learn a few surprising things; at least I did.
By Leslie Kean
Special to [...]
When I wrote my book about officially documented UFO reports, I fully expected the skeptics to react. That's why I was careful to focus only on the very best evidence from the most credible sources in "UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record." Since 95 percent of all sightings are eventually identified, the book is concerned only with the remaining 5 percent -- those UFO events that have been thoroughly investigated, involve multiple witnesses and ample data, but still cannot be explained.
That didn't stop James Oberg, a space analyst for NBC News, from complaining that the book was based on a "questionable foundation."
In the biographical note appended to his commentary, he notes that he spent 22 years at NASA's Mission Control and has written books about space policy and exploration. But he neglects to inform readers of something UFO researchers already know all too well: that he is a founding fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI, formerly CSICOP), a group whose aim is to debunk UFOs and any other unexplained phenomena that challenge our familiar ways of thinking.
For many years, Oberg, while retaining his stance as an objective student of the UFO phenomenon, has been a consistently vocal skeptic. His long list of articles dealing with UFOs date from the 1970s and are posted on his website under the heading "space folklore," which accurately sums up his attitude towards the subject. He may be qualified to serve as an unbiased, expert consultant on Russian or Chinese missile systems, but not on UFOs.
Story: UFO book based on questionable foundation: [...]
His objection to my many varied cases has to do with his notion that pilots are poor observers. To buttress this idea, he quotes J. Allen Hynek referring to questionable statistics compiled in the 1960s by Project Blue Book. He also cites Russian researchers describing two events in 1982 when pilot sightings were accurately identified as "military balloons" after the fact.
This is not surprising, since the vast majority of sightings can be explained, and this kind of identification is made all the time. However, such solved sightings -- whether made by pilots or anyone else -- have absolutely nothing to do with the cases presented in my book.
I wonder if Oberg gave "UFOs" a careful read. He spent many paragraphs quoting me concerning a report on aviation cases by French researcher Dominique Weinstein. The problem is, those are not my quotes. The chapter from which he extracted them was written by Jean-Jacques Velasco, head of the French government`s UFO agency for over 20 years, as is obvious in his byline and narrative about French research.
Oberg gleefully proclaims that I have "faithfully vouched for" the cases in Weinstein's list, but actually, I have respectfully allowed Velasco to write his own chapter. (About half the chapters in my book were written by highly credentialed authorities and expert witnesses.) If Oberg wants to discuss the Weinstein study, he'll have to contact Velasco.
Oberg's fixation on the question of the reliability of pilots as witnesses is not raised by the generals and aviation experts I have interviewed -- officials who have studied pilot cases and interviewed pilot witnesses for decades. As described in "UFOs," French Air Force Maj. Gen. Denis Letty initiated an extensive study of UFO data because competent pilots he knew personally were confronted by the phenomenon. Chilean Gen. Ricardo Bermudez was instrumental in the founding of his country`s official UFO investigative agency in 1997 because of inexplicable sightings involving pilots.
Richard Haines, who has written more than 70 papers in leading scientific journals and published more than 25 U.S. government reports for NASA, was formerly chief of the space agency's Space Human Factors Office and served for 21 years as a retired senior aerospace scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center. Having studied pilot sightings and related aviation safety issues for more than 30 years, and having personally interviewed hundreds of pilots during that time, Haines has concluded that pilots are indeed excellent witnesses, given their thorough training, expertise and hours of flying time.
Haines is now chief scientist for the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena [...]. Sadly, most pilots never report their sightings, as he points out in "UFOs."
Most importantly, the aerial cases documented in "UFOs" -- and many more on the record elsewhere -- involve multiple factors such as:
*Sightings of long duration, allowing for accurate voice transmissions and the refinement of the initial identification.
*Multiple witnesses -- co-pilot, crew, passengers, other aircraft in different locations, and occasionally observers from the ground.
*Onboard radar and ground radar recording the presence of a physical object, often corresponding exactly to the visual sighting.
*Direct physical effects on the aircraft, such as equipment malfunction.
As an example, Brig. Gen. Jose Periera of Brazil, commander of air force operations until 2005, reports on an "array of UFOs" observed over his country in 1986. Two pilots chased one of the objects for 30 minutes. Numerous other pilots saw the objects. Radar recorded them. Six jets were scrambled from two Brazilian air force bases to pursue them. Some of the pilots made visual contact corresponding to radar registrations. Both military and commercial pilots were involved. Onboard as well as ground radar systems confirmed the presence of the objects.
"We have the correlation of independent readings from different sources," Periera writes. "These data have nothing to do with human eyes. When, along with the radar, a pilot`s pair of eyes sees that same thing, and then another pilot`s, and so on, the incident has real credibility and stands on a solid foundation."
In 2007, airline captain Ray Bowyer saw two gigantic, bright yellow objects suspended over the English Channel, which he observed carefully for 15 minutes. His passengers saw them, another pilot on a second aircraft was also a witness, and an object was registered on radar.
In 1986, three Japan Airlines pilots watched a series of UFOs for 30 minutes, communicating with air traffic control while radar operators picked up the objects in corresponding locations.
I could go on with many more examples, presented in detail in the book.
Oberg says pilots may misinterpret visual phenomena when forced to make a split-second diagnosis before taking immediate action -- very rare cases, I would assume -- and no one would disagree with that. But, just as was the case with the solved Russian sightings I discussed earlier, this is entirely beside the point with respect to my book, because the cases presented do not involve such a scenario.
In addition, "UFOs: General, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record" presents many other cases that do not involve pilots at all -- but often military personnel and police officers -- including:
*The famous 1980 incident near RAF Bentwaters in Britain, involving the landing of a UFO and objects sending beams of light to the ground.
*The 1981 "Trans-en-Provence" landing case in France, investigated by the official French agency GEPAN.
*Belgian Maj. Gen. Wilfried De Brouwer`s report on the wave of sightings in Belgium in 1989-90, which includes a spectacular photograph.
*The 1993 "Cosford Incident" involving a UFO over two Air Force bases in Britain, investigated by the Ministry of Defense.
*The 1997 Phoenix Lights incident that former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington described.
These are just a few of a host of cases with abundant data that don't rely on pilot observations -- and which are still unsolved. It`s the aggregate of cases, the accumulation of evidence and the long-running but unsuccessful attempts of qualified experts to resolve them that establishes the reality of a yet-unexplained physical phenomenon with extraordinary capabilities.
Oberg says that "if investigators are unable to find the explanation for a particular UFO case, that doesn't constitute proof that the case is unexplainable." Fair enough. Perhaps there is some prosaic explanation still to be discovered. There`s always that possibility, no matter how small.
But we remain in a state of ignorance concerning UFOs, leaving us with the conclusion presented in the book: We need a systematic, scientific investigation of the skies that actively looks for these mysterious and elusive objects. In the meantime, all I ask is that devout skeptics like Oberg read the entire book before raising objections that actually have no bearing on the matter at hand.
Investigative journalist Leslie Kean is the author of the New York Times bestseller "UFOs: General, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record" (Harmony/Crown). Her work has appeared in many publications including The Nation, International Herald Tribune and the Boston Globe. She is also the co-author of "Burma's Revolution of the Spirit" and co-founder of the Coalition for Freedom of Information.