Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen
An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base

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Ultimately, Jacobsen presents us with yet another theory, one that feels as questionable as those that preceded it. It's an unfortunate ending to a book that otherwise is an engaging look at the secret world in the Nevada desert.
-LA Times

Synopsis

Area 51

It is the most famous military installation in the world. And it doesn't exist. Located a mere seventy-five miles outside of Las Vegas in Nevada's desert, the base has never been acknowledged by the U.S. government-but Area 51 has captivated imaginations for decades.

Myths and hypotheses about Area 51 have long abounded, thanks to the intense secrecy enveloping it. Some claim it is home to aliens, underground tunnel systems, and nuclear facilities. Others believe that the lunar landing itself was filmed there. The prevalence of these rumors stems from the fact that no credible insider has ever divulged the truth about his time inside the base. Until now.

Annie Jacobsen had exclusive access to nineteen men who served the base proudly and secretly for decades and are now aged 75-92, and unprecedented access to fifty-five additional military and intelligence personnel, scientists, pilots, and engineers linked to the secret base, thirty-two of whom lived and worked there for extended periods. In Area 51, Jacobsen shows us what has really gone on in the Nevada desert, from testing nuclear weapons to building super-secret, supersonic jets to pursuing the War on Terror.

This is the first book based on interviews with eye witnesses to Area 51 history, which makes it the seminal work on the subject. Filled with formerly classified information that has never been accurately decoded for the public, Area 51 weaves the mysterious activities of the top-secret base into a gripping narrative, showing that facts are often more fantastic than fiction, especially when the distinction is almost impossible to make.
 

About Annie Jacobsen

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Annie Jacobsen is a contributing editor at the Los Angeles Times Magazine and an investigative reporter whose work has also appeared in The National Review and The Dallas Morning News. Her two-part series The Road to Area 51 was one of the most read in the Los Angeles Times Magazine. A graduate of Princeton University, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.
 
Published May 17, 2011 by Little, Brown and Company. 530 pages
Genres: History, War, Religion & Spirituality, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Area 51
All: 4 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 3

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by JANET MASLIN on May 15 2011

It is an assertive account, revelatory but also mystifying, of the long-hidden United States weaponry and espionage programs to which she says Area 51 is home.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on May 16 2011

Unfortunately, Jacobsen then demolishes her own credibility by proposing a novel conspiracy theory—sourced mainly to a nameless engineer, it links the Roswell UFO incident to Soviet-built flying saucers and a grisly hoax cooked up by Stalin...

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Scott Martelle on May 30 2011

Ultimately, Jacobsen presents us with yet another theory, one that feels as questionable as those that preceded it. It's an unfortunate ending to a book that otherwise is an engaging look at the secret world in the Nevada desert.

Read Full Review of Area 51: An Uncensored Histor... | See more reviews from LA Times

The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by RICHARD RHODES on Jun 03 2011

Then, like a test pilot who pushes her plane too far, she crashes and burns on the grisly tales of an unnamed single source, supposedly an Area 51 engineer and Manhattan Project veteran who leads her on a wild goose chase...

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