Keep Out, by Nick Redfern (Softcover, 2011)|
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Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
Redfern always does a good job of separating fact from fiction, of asking
rather than concluding, and stimulating the mind of the reader. Unlike most
other "alternative explanation" writers, he doesn't specialize in a given
area. So when you pick up one of his books, you don't know what you're going
to read. But you do know it's going to be good.
One problem with"alternative explanation" writers is they usually are trying to persuade the
reader of an alternative explanation based on scant evidence and thin logic.
That's not Redfern's style. One of the hallmarks of a good writer other than
an op-ed writer is you can't tell what the writer's opinion is. The writer's
viewpoint isn't apparent in the text, and the reader reaches his/her own
That is not to say Redfern never draws conclusions. If certain facts don't fit,
he'll point this out. If a conclusion suggested by someone else (whether an
official explanation or a conspiracy theory) doesn't fly, he'll explain why.
Redfern also digs up facts surrounding a particular issue, and he digs up a lot
of facts. His bibliographies tend to be disproportionate to the body of the
text, and this book is yet another example of that bibliography on steroids
thing he does. For this size book, on these topics, I think a bibliography
of 6 to 8 pages would be reasonable. The actual size? 23 pages. Some of
these are dubious (e.g., New York Times), and others are more authoritative
The premise of this book is exactly what the title and subtitle suggest. The
top secret places include Area 51, Hangar 18, HAARP, and Fort Detrick. Not
making it on the list is the Men's Room on the top floor of the Treasury
Department, but I guess we can let that one slide.
But it's not just USA installations he covers. There are crazy places in
Australia, China, Russia, and the UK. He covers them all. He looks at places
deep underground, places deep under the ocean, and places in between. He
explores questions such as "Why is Pine Gap the only place in Australia you
can't fly over?" And what, exactly, is on the dark side of the moon?
In the course of looking at these places, he raises questions and theories
about extraterrestrial aliens, subterranean humanoids, and biological
weapons. In doing this, he doesn't advocate crackpot theories. He presents
the evidence or, if it doesn't stand up, points to false evidence upon which
opinions have been built. And he gives alternative explanations the same
treatment, in many cases explaining why a given theory just does not work.
He may discuss multiple theories about a given oddity, or just go with one;
that really depends on the oddity and how many theories are floated around
The reader is left to speculate, which is fine with me. If he claimed to "know
the real story" in each case, that would be a red flag to me. Instead of
taking that approach, he takes an investigative, "Let's explore this and ask
relevant questions" approach. He chooses to instill curiosity, rather than
try to indoctrinate. And that makes a big difference in how enjoyable this
A quote from Redfern sums up his philosophy: "Clearly, there is a degree of
division between what we know as undeniable fact, what we think we know, and
what many still consider the stuff of rumor, theory, hearsay, and unproved,
outrageous conspiracy mongering."
People who normally chit chat about the weather or some other same-o same-o
topic might do well to pick a chapter in this book and make that the basis
for the next conversation. For example, what has been in Wright-Patterson
Air Force base for the last half century or so, and why is it still
classified as Top Secret? Not that you'll figure it out, but what are the
This book consists of 235 interesting pages covering 15 topics in as many
chapters, plus a 16th chapter "Conclusions."