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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptic > 22.4 > Ultraterrestrials

Ultraterrestrials

A review of How UFOs Conquered the World: The History of a Modern Myth. By David Clarke
London: Aurum Press, 2015, 312 pp. Hardcover, $28.99 ISBN 978-1-78131-303-9.

DAVID CLARKE HAS WRITTEN AN insightful, informative and thoughtprovoking book on UFOs and the UFO culture. This is not a debunking book, although it fulfills that function admirably. It describes Clarke’s long search for what is really going on with UFO reports and describes the various stages of belief Clarke goes through that he calls the “UFO Syndrome.”

As a British reporter, Clarke interviewed many of the major players in the British UFO community. These interviews and his own investigations provide much information that, as far as I know, has never been published before. For readers familiar with American UFO literature this book provides a welcome broadening of horizons—I had no idea that there was a British equivalent of Project Blue Book, for example. The honesty with which Clarke describes his own changing beliefs is most refreshing. He is never harsh or demeaning and treats those who hold even the most bizarre UFO ideas with interest and respect.

Like this reviewer, Clarke’s interest in UFOs sprang from reading science fiction stories and seeing science fiction films and TV shows during adolescence. We both read UFO books and joined a UFO group (NICAP in my case) and both came to really believe that UFOs were of extraterrestrial origin—the start of the “UFO Syndrome.” In the Introduction Clarke details his captivation with the syndrome. In the ten charters that follow he writes about his pursuit of the “truth” about UFOs. It is a fascinating journey.

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CAMPUS CRAZINESS: THE WAR ON SCIENCE No Barriers to Inquiry; I Am Not a Racist, And So Are You: An Unauthorized Peek at the Great Shaming Taking Place at an Institution of Higher Learning Near You, and Other Fireside Tales; Radically Wrong in Berkeley; When Secularism Becomes a Religion: The Alt-Left, the Alt-Right, and Moral Righteousness; When Science Becomes the Enemy SPECIAL SECTION — BIOLOGY & BEHAVIOR Canine Cognition: Did dogs become smarter through domestication? An interview with Dr. Brian Hare; Bird Brains: Are crows as intelligent as some scientists claim?; What Biology Can Teach Us About Crime and Justice ARTICLES: Gary Taubes and the Case Against Sugar; From Camelot to Conspiracy: Memory, Myth, and the Death of JFK; Now Playing at a Cartesian Theater Near You: Dualism Returns COLUMNS: The SkepDoc: Diet Sodas: Are the Dangers In the Chemicals or the Headlines?, by Harriet Hall, M.D. JUNIOR SKEPTIC: Ghost Ships, by Daniel Loxton