384 pages, 6 x 9
Cloth ISBN 978-0-7006-1032-7, $34.95 (t)
The subject of this breakthrough book is controversial, but its message is simple: the study of UFOs merits the serious attention of the intellectual establishment. Advocating credibility for this much-maligned field of research, historian David Jacobs and his coauthors highlight some of the key events, issues, themes, and theories surrounding this elusive, complex, and compelling subject.
Whether interplanetary tourists, interlopers from a parallel universe, or mere misfirings in the brain, UFOs and "aliens" permeate popular culture. They've made the covers of Time, Life, and the New York Times Book Review; garnered CNN coverage; turned up on Larry King Live and other high-profile talk shows; attracted large audiences for films and television series; and swamped the Internet with thousands of websites and discussion groups.
Despite this pervasive presence, few scholars have been willing to study the perplexing phenomena behind these cultural signifiers. Wary of a field that seems tainted by suspect methods and outlandish theories, many have logically stayed away.
The relative lack of academic participation, however, creates a vicious circle that prevents the development of standards that would attract greater academic participation and, thus, credibility and funding for the field. Meanwhile, the phenomenon, rather than fading from public awareness, continues to grow and evolve.
In response, this volume provides a kind of primer for scholars, skeptics, and others uneasy about investigating this field. Its authors examine the nature of UFO "evidence"; discuss the methodological debates; incorporate research from science, history, mythology, and psychology; and highlight the reactions of the government and military from the Cold War to the present. It also brings together for the first time in one book three bestselling authors--Jacobs, Budd Hopkins, and Pulitzer Prize winner John Mack--widely known for their writings on the highly controversial "alien abduction" phenomenon.
"A timely, fascinating, and very important book."--Fred Alan Wolfe, author of The Dreaming Universe and Taking the Quantum Leap
"A provocative volume on a controversial subject that should invite much debate from a wide range of scholars."--David H. Devorkin, Curator, Department of Space History, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
"I do not agree with everything said in this book, but I applaud its goal of encouraging serious study of the UFO phenomenon. While the scientific aspects of the problem remain controversial, the historical and cultural impact of the idea of UFOs is indisputable. Indeed, the UFO debate bears on the question of ultimate concern as we enter the new millennium: What is our place in the universe?"--Stephen J. Dick, astronomer, U.S. Naval Observatory, author of Life on Other Worlds
"A valuable source for members of academe who wish to take on the challenges posed by the UFO phenomenon."--Peter A. Sturrock, emeritus director of the Center for Space Science and Astrophysics, Stanford University, author of The UFO Enigma and Plasma Physics
"This impressive book should make academics think twice before simply dismissing or ignoring the subject and, indeed, should help legitimize this controversial field of inquiry."--Bernard Haisch, California Institute of Physics and Astrophysics, science editor for The Astrophysical Journal
"At last, a sensible and serious look at the UFO and abduction phenomena. A must-read primer for anyone who would confront head-on the claims made in this controversial field."--H. E. Puthoff, director, Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin, Texas, coauthor of Fundamentals of Quantum Electronics
DAVID M. JACOBS, associate professor of history at Temple University, has been at the forefront of UFO research since the publication of The UFO Controversy in America in 1975. His other books include Secret Life: Firsthand Accounts of Abductions and, most recently, The Threat.
Stuart Appelle, SUNY-Brockport
Thomas E. Bullard, Indiana University
Jerome Clark, Center for UFO Studies
Don C. Donderi, McGill University
Budd Hopkins, Intruders Foundation
John E. Mack, Harvard University
Michael A. Persinger, Laurentian University
Michael D. Swords, Western Michigan University
Ron Westrum, Eastern Michigan University