I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next gal, so when I was offered the opportunity to review Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobsen, I jumped at the chance! I do know a little about Area 51, having watched quite a few documentaries about people trying to uncover the truth – what can I say, I like watching the History Channel!
Area 51 is one of the most talked about government cover-ups in the United States – I’ve seen countless shows on television and the internet has been buzzing with conspiracies since people began using the web in the 90’s. Whether you believe the rumors or think it’s a bunch of conspiracy-theory baloney, you have to admit it: it’s interesting.
Through Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, author Annie Jacobsen promised to give readers formerly classified information that was never accurately decoded for the public. As I began researching before I received the book, I became more and more excited!
Annie Jacobsen has written the first book based on eye witness interviews to Area 51 history. Jacobsen had complete and exclusive access to nineteen men who secretly worked at the base for many years and are now in their later years – and ready to tell their stories. With an amazing access to fifty-five military personnel, pilots, scientists and engineers who have worked at Area 51, Jacobsen has been able to paint a pretty accurate picture of what has really happened in the Nevada desert – from testing nuclear weapons, to building top-secret jets, to becoming involved in the War on Terror.
It is the most famous military installation in the world. And it doesn’t exist.
As I read through the book, I developed mixed feelings. Jacobsen did present a lot of information that I found interesting and I enjoyed it, but there were a lot of areas of the book that I felt were either not researched carefully enough or just careless in their information.
For instance, she mentions that a nuclear blast travels at 100 miles per hour. Now, this isn’t something that I know off the top of my head, but I had to assume that a nuclear blast is going to travel faster than I do in my SUV on road trips. I looked it up, and a shock wave actually travels at 700 miles per hour. In a book meant to be factual, you would think a detail like this would have been more carefully researched.
At one point in the book, she states that the United States receivedt V-2 rockets from Pennemunde, but that is impossible, as the Soviets had captured that base. The V-2s that the United States were able to procure were from plants in western Germany! This is something I was able to simply Google and find out…
There are plenty of factual mistakes in the book, and a lot of speculation. Some of the eyewitness accounts didn’t actually come from employees but from people who “dealth with” the base. That was disappointing to me.
I expected hard facts but they were lacking. Although I was disappointed in that aspect of the book, it was still an entertaining read and as long as the reader isn’t expecting this book to blow their mind, then it is an enjoyable read!