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.
There is an old saying ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ and, if the information and statements in this book which are claimed to be true and factual actually are true and factual, well then truth really is stranger than fiction. At least it is for the ‘Normal Joe’ most of us Americans are.
I believe the majority of US citizens have an unspoken understanding that our government participates in many activities purposely kept secret from the general public in the name of national security. Is it necessary? Do the ends justify the means? The answers to such questions are as varied and opinionated as there are individuals.
The book is not a whimsical light read but requires a certain amount of focus and attention to detail in order to maintain a fluid understanding of the events and claims shared. Much of the information can be verified and is therefore factual. Others may be left to a more personal interpretation.
All in all this book could prove to have an almost cult following from those individuals who thrive on the knowledge of espionage and the secret activities taken by our government to ensure our beliefs in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is full of many interesting details that had never previously crossed my mind but intrigued me.
Winston Churchill famously said of Russia, “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” The same can be said about Area 51.
*I received this book free for review from Hachette Book Group*