My take on…Aliens in America by William J. Birnes

My take on…Aliens in America by William J. Birnes

Aliens in America: A UFO Hunter’s Guide to Extraterrestrial Hotpspots Across the U.S.
A UFO Hunter’s Guide to Extraterrestrial Hotspots Across the U.S.
by William J. Birnes
published by Adams Media
original publication: 2010
size: 712KB (256 pages)
categories: nonfiction; UFOs
lending: enabled
simultaneous device licenses: 6
part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: yes
text-to-speech: yes

“From Roswell, New Mexico, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the United States is dotted with UFO hotspots dating back to the 1940s.”
–William J. Birnes
writing in Aliens in America

Bill Birnes is the right person to take you on a guided tour of America’s UFO sight-seeing destinations. As the publisher of UFO Magazine and the host of The History Channel’s UFO Hunters, this is no armchair theorist. Birnes has been there and done that: the field investigations, the recreations, and interviewing witnesses.

In a way different from other similar field guides, Birnes gives you practical travel advice: hotels, restaurants, and local attractions.

The main focus for most people reading the book will be the UFO reports.

Birnes covers

  • Portsmouth, New Hampshire (the Betty and Barney Hill case)
  • Pine Bush, New York
  • Hudson Valley, New York
  • Bucks County, Pennsylvania (and Mercer and Hunterdon Counties, New Jersey)
  • Kecksburg, Pennsylvania
  • High Bridge, New Jersey
  • Washington, DC
  • Braxton County, West Virginia (the Flatwoods Monster)
  • Gulf Breeze, Florida
  • Stephenville Texas
  • Rachel, Nevada (Area 51)
  • Pascagoula, Mississippi
  • Kokomo, Indiana
  • Roswell, New Mexico
  • Dayton, Ohio (Wright Field)
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Landers, California (the Integratron)
  • Maury Island, Washington
  • McMinnville, Oregon
  • Holland, Michigan

If you are a UFO buff, you probably already know why all of these were chosen. If you aren’t, Birnes gives you a nice summary of the incident(s) that put them on the map.

For the most part, Birnes doesn’t do a lot of speculating. If you were a family with an interested child and you happened to be vacationing in one of these areas, you don’t generally have to be worried about the book trying to convert anybody to a point of view.

However, there were a couple of statements that pulled me up a bit short:

“…if it were able to warp time, Die Glocke might have been able to win the war for Germany by traveling backwards in time to alter the timeline itself. It could plant weapons to destroy the enemy even before the war began, restructuring history. Indeed, this Wunderwaffe could win the war even in the final minutes. But all of this might be mere speculation: no one knows for sure what the purpose of the device was.”

“…One of the UFOs brought down by fire from our jets in September 1952, crashed in remote Braxton County. One of the ship’s weapons, a humanoid machine, began a search-and-destroy mission in the area to protect the craft until its navigators could be rescued. That humanoid creature, whether an actual life form or an android, has gone into local legend as the “Flatwoods Monster.””

Even if you’ve read about the Flatwoods Monster before, I’m not sure you thought of it as on a “search-and-destroy mission. If it was, well, it wasn’t very successful, since the most damage it is reported to have done is make people sick. One might think that something that Birnes suggests arrived in a craft superior to human technology that wanted to “destroy” things would be armed with something more effective than pepper spray.

On the other end, I was very surprised to see Birnes refer to John A. Keel’s classic book, The Mothman Prophecies, as a novel. Even though some may have doubted Keel’s sincerity, I’ve always only seen it presented as non-fiction.

I read this book on my Kindle Fire.  In terms of the production value of the book, there were a few minor typos, but not enough to really distract me. Even though apparently converted form a paper copy (the cover image shows tears in it, which I don’t think are there for effect), it has an Active Table of Contents (meaning that you can click on a chapter to jump there), a definite plus. Unfortunately, there appear to be paragraphs that were in some sort of sidebar or call-out which now appear simply in the middle of other text.

For example, the section about the New Jersey Balloon Festival below (which I’ve italicized to identify it) interrupts the narrative:

“Then the boy convulsed and a light started to shine above his head. THE NEW JERSEY BALLOON FESTIVAL Nearby Readington and White House Station, New Jersey, boast the New Jersey Balloon Festival at the Solberg Airport. Every July, families can ride balloons, see an air show, and enjoy outdoor concerts, and participate in fun and games for the kids. The witness described how the light…”

My guess is that the paper version has the Balloon Festival information in a box of some kind, or otherwise separated. It took me a bit of reading to realize that’s what was happening. I think that’s something that could be fixed in subsequent editions. I will try to send my observations to the publisher.

The e-book edition could also have benefited from live hyperlinks to the hotels and other resources mentioned. Again, I presume that’s because it was converted from a paper edition.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and thought it was informative. If you live in one of the above areas, or plan a visit there, I’d recommend it.

Disclosure: while I don’t know Bill Birnes well, we have served on the Board of a non-profit organization together.  The organization is OPUS, and I served as the Education Director. It was my goal there for the group to present non-advocatory (neither for nor against)  information about the controversial subjects which concern it.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.


One Response to “My take on…Aliens in America by William J. Birnes”

  1. Author D.D. Scott is giving away a boxed set, a Kindle Fire…and has scheduled a “bubble twead’ « I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] also wrote a review recently in my blog, The Measured Circle, of Aliens in America: A UFO Hunter’s Guide to […]

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