Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen

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Rate: 3.5/5

Medium: AudioBook

Overview (No Spoilers): Area 51 is a captivating book, which explores the mystery surrounding the notoriously secretive base and was recommended to me by Warren’s Wide World of Randomness. Jacobsen has collected breadcrumbs dropped by the CIA through declassified information and interviews from individuals who worked on the declassified projects and pieced together a sliver of a glimpse into the workings of Area 51. Interestingly, the government still doesn’t acknowledge the existence of Area 51. And rest assured, the book doesn’t focus on the traditional UFO conspiracy theories. Jacobsen has conducted extensive research and has seemingly connected the dots, however some of the claims are a bit much to swallow, despite being fun to mull over and contemplate. Honestly, wasn’t until the last chapter/epilogue where I got an overwhelming conspiracy theory vibe and began to be overly skeptical about the conclusions she was drawing. While most of her book information seemed backed up by both declassified documents and first hand experiences, the bold claims at the end of the book only rely on one source. After reading other reviews about this book, it appears that the material and information, given as hard facts, can be disputed or at least argued, and has been in the media. Overall, Area 51 is worth the read, however the last chapter is regrettable for a story that offers a look into the effort and development of several super sonic spy planes and the ingenious people behind these creations, who otherwise might not have had their story told.

Insight and Random Facts (May Contain Spoilers):

  1. The controversial claims are as follows. Jacobsen claims that the Roswell UFO incident was actually a Russian spy craft with deformed children created by the Nazi scientist, Josef Mengele per Stalin’s request. Stalin apparently wanted to create mass hysteria in the US by ‘creating’ aliens. She also makes thin claims that Area 51 was home for human studies done on the mentally handicapped by the United States as well. Most of the book was so well done and researched that the last chapter and epilogue seem almost out of place with their rather unsubstantiated claims.
  2. Did you know Buzz Aldrin punched a conspiracy theory guy at the age of 72 when he was accosting poor Buzz?
  3. I was absolutely shocked by the number of nuclear bombs tested by the United States from 1945-1992! As a chemist I generally support science, but 1,054 nuclear tests is just mind numbing. Some of these tests were underground, high in the atmosphere and even in space. I’m still in shock and processing the quantity of the tests.
  4. The US had two airplanes containing H-bombs crash and result in a subsequent detonation of the nuclear weapons in Spain and Greenland. The incident in Palomares, Spain was in 1966 and contaminated 490 acres with plutonium. As of 2015 the US is still dealing with the aftermath regarding payments to Spain and cleanup. The second crash, in Greenland, happened two years after the Polamares incident. I was shocked I’d never heard of these incidents before.


  1. Saying UFO I don’t believe in UFO’s. But I do very much like reading about them, and watching TV programmes. All very fascinating. Do you believe in UFO’s?

    Liked by 1 person

    • As a scientist, with the universe being so incredibly large I have believe there is some form of life out there. I forgot to mention in the blog that the CIA actually had a UFO division at one point. Supposedly, a lot of reported sightings could be attributed to the secret spy planes training. Fascinating!


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