With Unidentified now available in both Print and Kindle,
it’s time to answer a few questions and share some detail on my newest work. For those familiar with my research and writing the first question might be – why a UFO book? For others an equally good question might be why another UFO book? After all there are already few hundred books dealing with the subject, with more constantly coming out. Of course the same was true for books dealing with the Kennedy and King assassinations, albeit far fewer in regard to MLK Jr. Given that readers with an interest in UFOs may not be familiar with my work and my approach to books, the following will provide an introduction. In subsequent posts I’ll get more specific about the content of Unidentified and what makes it different from other books on the subject.
The answer to the basic questions of “why” is that Unidentified, like all my books – including November Patriots (a work of docufiction with former Dallas reporter Connie Kritzberg; still available on eBay) – did not actually begin as a book. It began as a historical question that I wanted to answer for myself. Initially my questions had to do with the political assassinations of the 1960s. Luckily, as I began to have the time to seriously study those questions (and I can’t tell you how much of that was done carrying books and documents on airplanes during business travel) a tremendous number of documents and oral history material were becoming available. That allowed me to move into a level of detail in research that simply had not been possible in earlier decades. And in two instances, it led me to conclusions that were relatively unique – in contrast to much that had been written up to that point.
The result were lengthy and extensively cited books on the Kennedy and King assassinations. In the third instance, the assassination of RFK, the result was a virtually book length essay made available on the Mary Ferrell archive web site. In that case my research partner Stu Wexler and I could not satisfy ourselves sufficiently to move it to the level of a book, so we didn’t.
One of the fundamental lessons I learned in dealing with the political assassinations is that looking at events in isolation can be a mistake. It is critical to have a baseline when you are evaluating the activities of law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies or even Congressional committees. The broader the experience, the easier it is to uncover what is unique and want is simply standard practice (or standard CYA for that matter). The same can be said for reading and interpreting agency and service documents, struggling though thousands of pages of CIA, FBI, and military documents fine tunes your appreciation for how things are actually recorded and communicated, including the not uncommon practices of obfuscation for purposes ranging from security to public relations.
That exposure also tweaked my interest in broader patterns, especially those related to questions pertaining to national security and military operations – another long time interest. And that lead to thousands of pages of more documents and to my studies of American covert and deniable warfare and the practices of high level command and control during crises. I was interested to see how covert operations had evolved and how well they had worked – during the Cold War and following the attacks on America in 2001. It proved to be an interesting enough story for a book (Shadow Warfare) and exposed several of the horrific inconsistencies that continue to plaque those operations even today. The study of national command authority and command and control contained in Surprise Attack proved to be equally disconcerting; it made me a lot more nervous than I had been and I felt compelled to surface the seemingly endemic issues – hence the book.
Fine, so what about UFOs, is he going to drag this on forever? The answer is that I literally grew up with UFOs, the flying saucer wave of 1947 happened a few weeks after I was born and it was in the news from then on, you couldn’t escape it. It was intriguing, mysterious and the Air Force kept issuing highly questionable explanations for what was being reported – one more case of the government seeming to be in denial.
Of course if we had seen the internal documents of those early years at the time we would have known they were desperately trying to keep us calm – while they tried to get a handle what was undoubtedly happening. So, one more Cold War mystery, one more area of skepticism about official story lines. And when I decided to take a look at it myself I found that some very dedicated researchers had used Freedom of Information Inquiries to pry out a huge trove of actual military and intelligence documents that simply were not being addressed in the increasingly sensational and speculative contemporary UFO books which had essentially taken over the subject.
My reaction was very much the same as it had been to the political assassinations, once I saw the depth of the actual historical data available I could not resist digging into it. The only question was whether or not it would take me to an answer I would be comfortable with from a historical perspective – obviously it did, hence the book.
That’s the “why” of the book, the next post will begin to explore the “what”. Oh, and if you haven’t read my other books and are unfamiliar with my obsession for detail, I suppose the length of this answer will give you a taste for that as well.