The new book entitled “Area 51,” by Annie Jacobsen has successfully been getting the attention she has sought. With appearances on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” and a recent long interview for NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, the book is something of a phenomenon. But, there is something amiss.
The book is a well-written history of some of the most interesting and secret goings-on that occurred during the Cold War. It documents some of the newly-released secrets that both the United States and the USSR were using to spy, plot, and defend one another during this extended period of adversarial politics. About 85% of the book covers these facts with some speculation, but most within reason and historical scholars seem to agree that most of the book is “okay.”
However, in the other 15% of the book, “Area 51” deals with more speculation and, quite possibly, fabrication by the author. In the book and during her public interviews, Ms. Jacobsen talks about how the craft that crashed in Roswell, NM was actually a Russian vehicle. This plane, or flying wing, she says was piloted by genetically-engineered children. This biological engineering was, purportedly, performed by none-other-than Josef Mengele who was in exile at the time.
The problem is that Jacobsen is selling her book as fact while it seems to fit better in the non-fiction section. Unless Jacobsen releases her source information, we cannot take her word as fact.