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by David Clarke and Andy Roberts
Piatkus, £17.99, ISBN 0-7499-2290-7
There are lot more believers with a serious interest in UFOs than sceptics. This can present something of a dilemma for publishers who naturally want to sell as many books as possible. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that the cover notes for this book are clearly aimed at convincing believers that the Truth lies within these pages – and, by and large, it does.
Unfortunately for supporters of the ET hypothesis, the Truth is probably not what they really wanted. Clarke and Roberts meticulously document the truth about official interest in the UFO phenomenon in Britain and prove to this reviewer’s complete satisfaction that there has indeed been a long and misguided history of official cover-up.
The problem is that what has been covered up is not government and military knowledge of alien technology or even recovered alien corpses, but simply the very fact that there was any official interest in UFOs in the first place.
The main problem presented by the UFO phenomenon for the Ministry of Defence was not that of a threat to national security from extraterrestrial invasion but simply one of public relations. Although the vast majority of reported sightings can be easily explained in mundane terms, there are inevitably some cases which cannot. This in no way implies that such sightings must be of alien craft. It simply means that we do not have sufficient data to draw definitive conclusions. But the MoD worried that the mass media and the Great British public would not see it that way. In the authors’ words: “If any cover up does exist, it is a cover up of ignorance.” This book is to be recommended as a serious assessment of the history of official involvement in UFOs – no massive cover-up, just an ongoing small-scale monitoring of the situation.