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Dreamland

Travels Inside the Secret World of Roswell and Area 51

Phil Patton

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Description

There is a place in the Nevada desert the size of Belgium that doesn't officially exist.  It is the airbase where test flights of our top-secret experimental military aircraft are conducted and --not coincidentally--where the conspiracy theorists insist the Pentagon is hiding UFOs and aliens.  This is Dreamland--or Area 51.  For Phil Patton, the idea of writing a travel account of a place he couldn't actually  visit was irresistible.  What he found was a world where Chick Yeager and the secret planes of the Cold War converged with the Nevada Test Site and alien landings at Roswell.

A think tank for aviation engineering, Dreamland can be seen from a summit outside the base's perimeter, a hundred miles north of Las Vegas.  On Freedom Ridge, groups of airplane buffs gather with their camouflage outfits and binoculars.  These are the Stealth chasers, the Skunkers, guys with code names like Agent X and Zero, hoping for a glimpse of the rumored raylike shapes of planes like Black Manta and "the mother ship."  The most mysterious craft is Aurora, the successor to the legendary U-2, said to run on methane and fly as fast as Mach 6.  Scanning the same horizon, the UFO buffs are looking for the hovering lights and doughnut-shaped contrails of alien aircraft.  Are they looking at something sinister and mysterious?  Imagined?  Or more terrestrial than they think?  Dreamland shows how much we need mystery in the information age, and how the cultures of nuclear power and airpower merge with the folklores of extraterrestrials and earthly conspiracies.

Patton found people who found themselves in the mysteries of the place.  John Lear, the son of aviation pioneer Bill Lear--who gave his name to the jet--served as a pilot for the CIA's Air America, but back home, he became fascinated by UFOs and eventually believed in it all: the underground bases, the alien-human hybrids, the secret treaties.  But was he a true believer, or part of a disinformation campaign?  Bob Lazar seems to know when the saucers will come, and has made three clear sightings at night along Dreamland's perimeter, but is his story real, or a vision of what's possible?

Dreamland is an exploration of America's most secret place: the base for our experimental airplanes, the fount of UFO rumors, an offshoot of the Nevada Test Site.  How this "blackspot" came to exist--its history, its creators, its spies and counterspies--is Phil Patton's tale.  He tunnels into the subcultures of the conspiracy buffs, the true believers, and the aeronautic geniuses, creating a novelistic tour de force destined to make us all rethink our convictions about American know-how--and alien inventiveness.

Publishers Weekly Review

Jun 29, 1998 – "Dreamland," "Area 51" and "Groom Lake" refer to a military base in Nevada about which the government has maintained a stony silence. Built in the early 1950s, this testing site marked the first flights of U2, SR-71 Blackbird and F-111 Stealth aircraft, and is the subject of wide speculation among ufologists. Patton's (Made in the USA; Voyager) detailed work follows last year's Area 51 by David Darlington. With a mixture of solid research and first-person ruminations, Patton explores a loosely knit community of tech-obsessed sky watchers dubbed "the Interceptors," who are dedicated to unlocking the secrets of Area 51. As opposed to Darlington's earnest but unsophisticated work, Patton makes sure there's enough erudition to make the subject safe for readers of Esquire, where he is a contributing editor. (He compares, for example, military artifacts left in the desert to "an Anthony Caro sculpture.") As he seeks out the often trailer park-based Interceptors (and sub-groups such as the "Stealthers," and "Youfers"), his invocations of Freud, Jung and even "the dreamings of the aboriginal people of Australia" turn the Interceptors' passion into a pat vision of millennial malaise. On the other hand, Patton often succeeds in illuminating military aviation and issues of secrecy, though he cannot offer any substantial revelations on what is or isn't at the base, be it planes that fly at Mach 15 or hidden spacecraft wreckage. Security remains uncompromised. Sixteen pages of b&w photos not seen by PW.
Dreamland
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Spirituality
  • Published: Jul 21, 1998
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 360 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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