High Strangeness: Best UFO books??

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Best UFO books??

I got this great note on Facebook the other day, and I've been thinking about it a lot. Read the note and then I'll tell you why it's been on my mind...
Hi Mark, I loved your book, and I have mentioned it to several friends only to be met with that look you get when you admit that you believe that UFOs are more that just total nonsense, so I'm sure it's not easy to promote your book. Would you ever consider compiling a reading list for people who share your point of view on the UFO phenomenon? I just read "Passport to Magonia", and "Operation Trojan Horse", but I need to be pointed in the right direction.
First of all, thanks for the compliment, and thanks for trying to get your friends to see the light! Given them time; they might come around.

It is true, though, that it's not easy to promote the book. Just yesterday I was at a big Barnes & Noble and found my book in the far back corner of the store, on the bottom shelf of the last bookcase, in the "UFOs, Aliens and Conspiracy" section. Now, I will cut B&N some slack, as The Close Encounters Man was displayed cover out rather than spine out, so that's good, but still, it's not great real estate for a book that's intended for a mainstream audience.

Well, I am right next to Jim Marrs, which is cool.

But a few minutes later I was perusing the "Science" section, located in the more reputable part of the store, and I came across a startling discovery.

There, right next to a biography of Nikola Tesla and just a few feet from Hidden Figures and the latest from Bill Nye the Science Guy, Mary Roach and Neil deGrasse Tyson, is a book called: UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens: What Science Says.
Both books have "UFO" in the title, but this one is a "Science" book and mine isn't? Hmmm....
I'm not saying that this book doesn't belong here, because it does (and it looks like an interesting book, although, I confess, I didn't buy it). I'm just saying my book has an equal claim to being in the "Science" section. And the "Biography" section, for that matter. At times like this I wonder whether my subtitle should have read: "How One Scientist Made the World Believe in UFOs," instead of "One Person."

This is one reason a book like mine can be a challenge to market. But it makes me all the more pleased that my next speaking engagement is taking place as part of the Wisconsin Science Festival -- they got it right!

Anyway, back to the request on Facebook for the recommended UFO books. I must state up front that for the past five years I have only been reading those books that have pertained to J. Allen Hynek's life and work, so I'm not that well versed in more recent work (although I can enthusiastically recommend Leslie Kean's masterful UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record). For that reason, my list of recommended books is perhaps too old-school and outmoded for many, but here goes anyway....

That said, this reader already made a good choices with Jacques Vallee's Magonia and John Keel's Trojan Horse, and I would suggest reading anything by either of those two gents, because they are among the most entertaining UFO writers who ever put pen to paper. Also, even if I hadn't written a book about him I would be obliged to  recommend Dr. J. Allen Hynek's books, The UFO Experience, The Edge of Reality and The Hynek UFO Report, because they are so good. I also love John Fuller's two masterworks, The Incident at Exeter and The Interrupted Journey.

Then, in no particular order, I would recommend the following, all of which are very fun and informative reads, and particularly suited to a reader who desires a good grounding in the UFO phenomenon in its early days:
  • UFOs? Yes! by David R. Saunders
  • Communion by Whitley Streiber
  • Alien Dawn by Colin Wilson
  • A Common Sense Approach to UFOs by Betty Hill
  • UFOs a Scientific Debate by Carl Sagan and Thornton Page
  • Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky by Dr. Carl Jung
  • The UFO Handbook by Allan Hendry
  • The UFO Controversy in America by Dr. David M. Jacobs 
  • The entire digest of the International UFO Reporter, published by the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies (cufos.org)
To be clear, I don't always agree with everything these writers have to say, but I did find these books all engaging and entertaining for a variety of reasons. Case in point: I recommend Communion simply because it is so gloriously wigged out.

How about you? What books would you have on your list?


Unknown said...

communion was the first book i ever read basically because he was on one of those shows years ago that gave the public a view of someone confident that he new what he was talking about . most of present company included in that last statement too . hynek etc. also quite a fantastic tale by the author of communion i believed he did experience most if not all he described in his book. i think i read a second book that he wrote also but cant comment on it for lack of memory . i have read other books about ufo's but mostly read periodicals or articals in magazines . as technoligy encresses most people cant relate to books which is a shame its self . i try to keep an open mind on any evidence at hand ..... JW

purrlgurrl said...

I would add "Mirage Men" by Mark Pilkington in order to add some balance to the list. It's well worth reading because one ought to approach the topic of UFOs with some objectivity. In terms of a skeptical look at the phenomenon, this is the best of them and there's plenty of food for thought in it. Not all UFO skeptics are just being "killjoys", they make valid points that should be considered, at least by those who who don't approach UFOs as a religious belief but rather with open minds.

As for B&N, I suspect for less that superstar authors it's a pay for play situation as to where a book is shelved in the stores. If the publisher ponys up enough, the book goes on that table in front of the door, if less than top dollar it's shelved with the subjects that are the most accessed. If nothing, it goes on a bottom shelf in the back of the store. This is how capitalism works. Sigh.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Hi pg, I like your suggestion of "Mirage Men." That's a book I've always been curious about, so your recommendation has inspired me to read it.
My editor has assured me that HarperCollins has instructed bookstores to stock my book on both the Science and the UFO shelves... some of them don't seem to have gotten the memo!

purrlgurrl said...

I hope that's all it is and not literary criticism on the part of individual store managers . . .

Unknown said...

I think Leslie Kean’s book deserves to be on the list as well.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

I mentioned Leslie's book!

Anonymous said...

Hynek's Books
All of Jacque Vallee's books
Ruppelt's book (original)
Most other books....especially current titles...read a skeptical eye

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Glad you mentioned Ruppelt's book! It's an essential.

Unknown said...

Woops, just realized you did mention Leslie Kean's book in the text rather than the list. Her book and yours are the 2 most academic and non-biased books on the subject of UFOs.

Mark UFO'Connell said...

Tht's a huge compliment, thank you!