"Washington Post" reporter Joel Achenbach -- the author of "Why Things Are" and a commentator for National Public Radio -- puts the ET debate into the context of the space program, discoveries in astronomy, and the hunger for meaning and spiritual nourishment in an era when science often doesn't provide the answers that people desire. He finds that the topic of extraterrestrial life is poisoned by wishful thinking, by the natural human yearning to make contact with our brothers and sisters in space.
But ha also finds some fascinating, admirable, and maddening characters who have pursued the truth about extraterrestrial life: Cad Sagan, the brilliant astronomer who brought the cosmos to the masses; Dan Goldin the cantankerous head of NASA who still believes inthe dream of the Space Age; Henry Harris, a former Las Vegas lounge singer who is assigned the job of figuring out how to get a spaceship to Alpha Centauri; and various and sundry ufologists, experiencers, spiritualists, and channelers for whom the aliens are an ever-present reality.
In this fascinating, funny, and spirited book, Achenbach discovers that the search for life elsewhere leads us on a looping road back to the fundamental questions about life on Earth. To think coherently about extraterrestrial life, we first must come to terms with who we are, why we exist, and what it means to carry around in our cells an evolutionary history that took tour billion years to unfold Achenbach's message is that it is a wonderful and thrilling thing to be a sentient human being -- a creature capable of foolish romanticism -- in a universe that is mostly rocks and gas and dust and empty space.
About Joel AchenbachSee more books from this Author
Generally, however, the believers come off as harmless souls in need of some Meaning to Life, with one exception: the tragedy of Heaven’s Gate, told here through an interview with a defector who left the cult seven years before the mass suicide.| Read Full Review of Captured By Aliens: The Searc...
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