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In the summer of 1947 something mysterious crashed in the New Mexican desert near the town of Roswell. Whether it was an alien spacecraft manned by tiny humanlike beings or—the US government's official explanation—a scientific research balloon has long been a subject of passionate debate. Transcending the believer-versus-skeptic debate, anthropologists Benson Saler and Charles A. Ziegler contend that the Roswell story is best understood as a modern American myth. They show how the story—and its continual retelling—tap into modern fears about the power of technology, the duplicity of the government, and the power of the media. UFO Crash at Roswell also includes physicist Charles Moore's meticulous account of how 1947 experiments to launch balloon-borne radar reflectors may have led to the Roswell UFO myth.


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Benson Saler is professor emeritus of anthropology at Brandeis University and the author of Conceptualizing Religion. CHARLES A. ZIEGLER is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at Brandeis University.
Published July 17, 1997 by Smithsonian. 224 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, History. Non-fiction

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The three authors, all university professors, never deny the possibility that there was in fact a crash of an alien spacecraft, with alien victims (though they point toward the crash of a military balloon as a more likely explanation for the Roswell phenomenon).

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