5 January 2017


Thomas J Carey and  Donald R Schmitt. The Children of Roswell: A Seven-Decade Legacy of Fear, Intimidation, and Cover-Ups. New Page Books, 2016. 

To start off, I wish to reiterate that this is a book review, and as much as I can, I have endeavoured to steer as neutral a course as possible, considering that the Roswell incident is currently about as clear and straightforward as John F Kennedy’s assassination. Therefore, please keep this in mind whilst perusing these words. Thank you.

For the hermits among you, this affair was kicked off by a headline in the local newspaper, The Roswell Daily Record of the town of Roswell, New Mexico. It said "RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region". This was in the issue dated 8th July 1947. RAAF stood for Roswell Army Air Field, which was the base for the world’s first (and at that time, only) nuclear bomber unit, the 509th Bombardment Group.

Later that day, the story was changed by the 8th Air Force that the object recovered was not, as had been initially suggested, some form of flying disc but instead was the debris from a weather balloon that had crash-landed in the vicinity. A press conference was convened where debris said to have come from the balloon was displayed by the Information Officer, Major Jesse Marcel. Despite the outre nature of the original statement, press men and women accepted that this was a case of mistaken identity and the issue went away until the late seventies, when inhabitants of the town of Roswell and its environs were interviewed and the book The Roswell Incident laid out the first tale of a flying saucer that crash-landed and was subject to a cover-up as the remains of it and the crew were spirited away by the military. There is more, but if it were to be included here then this would become yet another book about this notorious subject.

Many, many witness interviews and statements are what this book consists of. This makes the absorption of data a touch confusing. It can be an issue when a novel has a large cast of characters; when it’s a whole town, even a small one, there are lots of names and families to keep track of. Detail is vital, especially when one is trying to make a case against the official narrative, but this does come at the reader thick and fast. So much so that it made me wonder if there is a less dense way of imparting this type of data. Otherwise, there are copious footnotes and an index; items that are valuable and, yet surprisingly, can be left out of many tomes of this type. One increasing frustration of books these days, especially in this field, is spelling. There were a few mistakes, but some attention could make sure that there are none at all.

Initially the flood of testimony that confirms that the crash consisted of several alien bodies plus one who was barely alive, coupled with reports of materials that defied any mutilation inflicted upon them by the townsfolk, does seem to confirm that the initial report by the military was correct and that a flying disc had indeed crashed. The narrative that the bodies were child-size, the stuff of the downed vehicle was almost supernatural in nature and that the military from the base were required to be heavy-handed with their warnings to locals not to reveal what they knew flows throughout.

When people avoid the writer’s attempts to interview them, they are said to do this as a result of the initial intimidation by Army officers and NCOs. Points to note, however, are that these interviews are conducted mostly with people who are advanced in years and who, as a result, may not be the most reliable subjects; one of the authors seems to have been less than honest about his professional qualifications which also casts a pall over the reliability of anything written and rather glaringly, by the army initially announcing to the world that the object recovered was a flying disc, the story was tainted at its inception. There is also the not inconsiderable point that a good deal of witness testimony concerns a third party. With the best will in the world, these things have to colour this volume and the information contained within.

Where to go from here? Despite the unavoidable cramming together of witnesses and statements, the authors work towards a clearly-defined conclusion; that creatures from elsewhere came to our world, possibly attracted by the atomic weapons stored nearby, and suffered a calamity. The army moved in, confiscated any and all proof of their existence then proceeded to terrorise the local populace into silence. Looked at like this it seems like the only conclusion that readers could arrive at.

The glaring issues of aged witnesses however, especially those who quote others long gone, the question mark hanging over the reliability of one of the writers and the fact that the whole story was already affected heavily by the mention of flying saucers by the army do have to be taken into account when attempting to gauge what is true and what is not. It may be prudent to look elsewhere for the truth of what, if anything, happened near Roswell in 1947.

If it was the army’s aim to spread disinformation by telling the local press that what came down was a flying saucer, then congratulations to them for a job extremely well done. -- Trevor Pyne.


Anonymous said...

Thankyou. Is the book heavy, and does it have lots of pages?

cda said...

I understand that there will be two UFO conferences in Roswell this summer, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of this earth-shattering event. In view of this, I suggest the title of the above book should be "The Grandchildren of Roswell".

Perhaps in 2047 or thereabouts we may expect the great-grandchildren of Roswell to take over, to be followed by.....

Terry the Censor said...

Another blow to the credibility of the authors is their participation in the Roswell slides scam.