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Flying Saucers Over Los Angeles"Flying Saucers Over Los Angeles"
by Dewayne B. Johnson & Kenn Thomas
Adventures Unlimited Press, 1998
     Even though some might argue that extraterrestrial have been visiting Earth for eons, the real dawn of modern UFO mania can be pinpointed to June 24th, 1947. That's when pilot Kenneth Arnold saw several UFO's flying over Mt. Rainer, Washington. From then on out, the floodgates of saucer sightings burst wide open. "Flying Saucers Over Los Angeles" gives a detailed account of those first few years when just about everyone who looked into the night sky swore they saw something from out of this world. This book was actually a dissertation DeWayne Johnson wrote in 1950 for the University of California at Los Angeles. It was recently rediscovered by the fine folks at the Adventures Unlimited Press, whom have added some introductory remarks and set the book free on hungry UFO readers. This book reads exactly like the academic work it is. There are very detailed collections of event timelines, oral histories, and a collection of newspaper clippings of the day (which are included in the back of the book). This is an amazing snapshot of the early days of ufology, with hints of the Contact and conspiracy eras to come. Even in those early days, certain themes emerge--namely a wonder and fear of what could be out there and a gut feeling that the government was trying to cover something up. Don't forget, it was not too soon after Arnold's original sighting that the little incident at Roswell happened. At first the U.S. Army said it was a honest-to-goodness flying saucer only to recant later and point to its own evidence that what people saw was nothing more than a weather balloon. Being an academic work, this book explores all the angles of what UFO may or may not be. Johnson looks into the ideas of mass hysteria, mistaken identity (i.e., weather balloons), and general fabrication. He also discusses the possibility of UFO being American made or Russian top secret aircraft. In the end, the author doesn't come out and say for certain that what people had seen were real extraterrestrial craft, but he does argue that the U.S. government knew more than it told.

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