Review of Annie Jacobsen's book "AREA 51"
I very seldom comment in writing about books I've read, although I have done so several times pertaining to TV documentaries, in which I have questioned the information being presented.
After reading many reviews about Annie Jacobsen's book "Area 51" (Little Brown and Company, 2011, ISBN978-0-316-13294-7) I had no intentions of reading it, however when I started hearing about the information she presented pertaining to the 1947 Roswell Incident, I decided to read it for myself. After all, Roswell has been my main area of research for the past 20 years, so I'm always interested in others views on that subject. I have also lectured and written about Area 51, so both topics are very much of interest to me. I found most of the information presented about Area 51 to be of interest, and for the purpose of this editorial, I will concentrate mostly on Ms Jacobsen's comments about the Roswell Incident.
I only read to the second paragraph of the PROLOGUE on page xi before red flags started popping up for me. In the last sentence of that paragraph she stated, "The U.S. government has never admitted it, (Area 51) exists." As a matter of fact every year since President Clinton was in office, and including President George W. Bush, the President has issued a Presidential Determination stating Groom Lake (Area 51) is exempted from environmental laws, due to National Security issues. I have not yet located such a document issued by the current President.
On page 16, she states, "Three hours after Haut dropped off the statement the commander of the Roswell Air Field sent Walter Haut (left) back to KGFL radio station with a second press release stating the first press release had been incorrect." General Ramey in Ft Worth issued the second press release stating it was a weather balloon, which was headlined in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner evening edition July 8th and most newspapers east of Chicago the following day (July 9, 1947).
On page 36, she claims the Joint Chiefs of Staff took command and recovered from the crashed Roswell craft, the airframe, some propulsion equipment, including the crashed craft's power plant. Every witness that ever handled or saw the debris scattered over the Foster ranch referred to small pieces of debris, and never mentioned any of the equipment Jacobsen refers to.
On page 37 she stated there was "Russian writing, block letters from the Cyrillic alphabet that had been stamped, or embossed, in a ring running around the inside of the craft." Would Major Marcel, the top intelligence officer in the world at the time, not been able to recognize Russian writing, which both Major Marcel (right) and his son Jesse Jr. later described as resembling hieroglyphic type symbols.
Again on page 37 Jacobsen states, "the weather balloon story has remained the official cover story ever since." The weather balloon story was General Ramey's rebuttal July 9th, less than 24 hours after Walter Haut's press release hit the news wires. In 1994 the Air Force issued "The Roswell Report, Fact vs Fiction in the New Mexico Desert" report, stating it wasn't a weather balloon, but rather a Mogul balloon. 3 years later the Air Force issued another report entitled, "Case Closed" stating the bodies seen by the witnesses were anthropomorphic crash test dummies.
On page 38 she refers to the Roswell Army Airfield being 45 miles to the southeast of a facility called Sandia Base near Albuquerque New Mexico. The shortest driving distance from Roswell to Albuquerque is 198 miles. Even using a straight-line distance it would exceed 120 miles. A 150-mile error is of no importance when other facts about Roswell apparently weren't verified either.
She comments on page 44 that the crash remains from Roswell were shipped from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base 4 years later, (1951) to a secret facility out in the middle of the Nevada desert. In 1947 before the Air Force and Army separated the base in Dayton Ohio was known as Wright Field, and more importantly the secret base in the Nevada desert wasn't opened until 1955 for the CIA to test the U-2 aircraft. She does later in the book confirm the name change of the Air Force base at Dayton Ohio.
Later on page 367, she suggests that, Area 51 is named as such not because it was a randomly chosen quadrant, as has often been presumed, but because the 1947 crash remains from Roswell, New Mexico, were sent from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base out to a secret spot in the Nevada desert - in 1951. All other areas of the Nevada Test and Training Range are also designated by numbers, so are they numerical numbers for identification purposes, or numbered to represent some historical event as Jacobsen claims?
On page 151 talking about the runway needed at Area 51 for test flying the A-12 (later named the SR-71), she states that, "the 8,500-foot long runway, designated 14/32 is believed to be the longest in the world." The runway here in Roswell (above) where the 509th Atomic bomb group was stationed in 1947 has a runway that is 13,000 feet long. A quick search of the Internet reveals pages of runways that vary in length from 13,000 feet up to the Qmado Bangda airport in China at 18,045 feet.
On page 211 she says, "In his position as CIA director Hillenkoetter knew that the flying disc at Roswell had been sent by Joseph Stalin (left). If in fact Russia had such a craft, why was it never used in any conflicts the Russians were involved in?
On page 370 she refers to Vannevar Bush referring to back engineer the craft by stating he said, "Take it apart and put it back together again." Take what apart? The only thing found on the Foster ranch was a field ¾ of a mile long and several hundred feet wide, filled with debris. Debris is hardly an intact craft that could be taken apart. It was already apart from the crash.
On page 375, Jacobsen refers to, "America's first postwar nuclear test begins as a mysterious Army-Navy assignment in a "sand-swept town---Roswell." The first atomic bomb test took place at White Sands Missile Range, (Trinity Site), 100 miles west of Roswell near Alamogordo, NM, in 1945, later in the Pacific Ocean, and the 509th atomic bomb wing didn't arrive in Roswell until after the atomic bombs had been dropped on Japan to end WWII.
Although I found some of the book interesting in reference to the information Ms Jacobsen referenced relating to Area 51, it's obvious to me, and many others who have devoted many years to researching the Roswell Incident that she didn't do the research required to make the statements she made. The book would have been much more informative had she stayed with the subject in the title of the book (Area 51), and avoided embarrassing herself with some of the outlandish claims she penned about Roswell.
Dennis G. Balthaser