The story, which is unmasked by the governments' own documents, explains much that is new, or at least not commonly known, about the seriousness with which the military and intelligence communities approached the UFO problem internally. Those approaches were not taken lightly. In fact, they were considered matters of national security. At the same time, the story reveals how a subject with such apparent depth of experience and interest became treated as if it were a triviality. And it explains why one government, the United States government, deemed it wise, and perhaps even necessary, to treat it so. Though the book focuses primarily on the U. S. government's response to the UFO phenomenon, also included is the treatment of the subject by the governments of Sweden, Australia, France, Spain, and other countries.
This large-format, fully illustrated book is the result of a team effort that called itself "The UFO History Group," a collection of veteran UFO historians and researchers who spent more than four years researching, consulting, writing, and editing to present a work of historical scholarship on government response to the UFO phenomenon. Michael Swords was the primary author of the United States chapters. The work was coordinated and edited by Robert Powell. Clas Svahn, Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, Bill Chalker, and Robert Powell contributed country chapters. Jan Aldrich was the primary content consultant, with additional content consultation and writing coming from Barry Greenwood and Richard Thieme. Steve Purcell was the primary photo illustration editor.
From the foreword by Jerome Clark: "While UFOs and Government revisits an often unhappy history, the reading of it is far from an unhappy experience. The authors, eloquent, intelligent, sophisticated, and conscientious, provide us with the first credible, comprehensive overview of official UFO history in many years... Most of the current volume deals with U.S. military and intelligence responses to the UFO phenomenon, but it also features richly informative chapters that expand the story across the international arena. If you're looking for an example of a nation that dealt productively with the UFO reports that came its official way, you will take heart in the chapter on the French projects... From here on, every responsible treatment of UFOs and government will have to cite UFOs and Government prominently among its sources... this is the real story as accurately as it can be reconstructed in the second decade of the new century. I expect to keep my copy close at hand and to return to it often. While it cannot be said of many books, UFO-themed or otherwise, this is among the essential ones. Stray from it at your peril."
Before and After Roswell: The Flying Saucer in America, 1947-1999 places the flying saucer idea in the context of history, politics, entertainment, and science to arrive at an explanation of what it is all about and how it got that way. Because the Roswell incident--the story that a flying saucer crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 and that the government has hidden the truth about it ever since--has dominated the subject recently, the book is anchored around that particular story while demonstrating that the flying saucer did exist before and after Roswell. It corrects some misconceptions, including one that holds that because a majority of people say they believe in UFOs, they therefore believe in a conspiracy to cover up the truth about them.
After detailing what actually happened in Roswell in 1947, the book takes up the birth of the flying saucer earlier that year, underscoring the fact that the name originally denoted its movement, not its shape. The text then examines the Air Forces and CIAs responses to the phenomenon, and the rise of competing bands of ufologists, true believers and skeptics, to dominate debate over it. The book also addresses Cold War contributions to the UFO issue, and the role of Hollywood in providing the images that defined it. Along the way it describes the crashed-saucer tradition, the contactees, abductions, men in black, the Bermuda Triangle, ancient astronauts, cattle mutilations, the little gray alien, SETIs Drake Equation, sex and the flying saucer, and the rise of a new ufology emanating from the conspiracy culture growing out of the Kennedy assassination mythology and the Watergate scandal.
Part Two of Before and After Roswell begins with the invention of the incident in 1980, then traces the history of the flying saucer idea to the end of the century. Important here are the submersion of the saucer into the larger anti-government conspiracy tradition of that period, and the increasing domination of the subject by television, including Area 51, a myth invented on a TV show, and the combined influence of reality-based cable documentaries and the amazingly popular series The X-Files. Also addressed are such things as crop circles, the MAJIC hoax, the face on Mars, UFO conspiracy fiction, and the explosion of the abduction belief. A chapter on The Battle of Roswell traces the evolution of that controversy through a succession of books by ufologists; in the end it broke down into disputed orthodoxies and feuds over who had the real crash site to charge admission to. When boosters tried to turn Roswell into a tourist attraction, their quarrels and mercenary outlook alienated the town and made the annual UFO Encounter a flop. The book concludes that the flying saucer is not a thing, but an idea, and one that will overcome the burden of
UFOs and the National Security State is the first volume of a two-part detailed chronological narrative of the national security dimensions of the UFO phenomenon from 1941 to the present. Working from hundreds of declassified records and other primary and secondary sources, Dolan centers his investigation on the American military and intelligence communities, demonstrating that they take UFOs seriously indeed.
Included in this volume are the activities of more than fifty military bases relating to UFOs, innumerable violations of sensitive airspace by unknown craft and analyses of the Roswell controversy, the CIA-sponsored Robertson Panel, and the Condon Committee Report. Dolan highlights the development of civilian anti-secrecy movements, which flourished in the 1950s and 1960s until the adoption of an official government policy and subsequent "closing of the door" during the Nixon administration.