Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security, and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth
Gregory J. Bishop-Hurley, Greg Bishop. Pocket Books, $18.99 (298pp) ISBN 978-0-7434-7092-6
This allegedly true tale of government secrecy reads like the entire story arc of the X-Files. Covering topics like alien invasion, UFOs, paranoia, cover-ups and smear campaigns, this book has all the elements of a compelling-though not entirely believable-yarn, but the narrative never gels into such a tale. In a nutshell, Bishop's story centers around the now-deceased Paul Bennewitz, a hapless electrical physicist living near Kirtland Air Force Base outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Bennewitz detected what he believed to be signs of alien contact and began to grow alarmed, even panicked, by his observations. The book contends that while Bennewitz inadvertently did get close to something top secret, various government agencies fed him lies and disinformation to keep him believing in an imminent alien invasion until he was completely discredited and utterly insane. Eventually, author and UFO researcher Bill Moore was recruited as a mole to help in the disinformation campaign against Bennewitz. While hardcore UFO aficionados will no doubt salivate over the accusations, details and techie tidbits contained herein, Bishop never conveys a real sense of Bennewitz's personality and motivations, and neither Bennewitz nor Moore emerge as fully fleshed out individuals. Instead, Bishop tells readers that Bennewitz was a ""genius at figuring things out"" and ""his Achilles heel was his credulity."" It would have been nice to understand the broken man at the center of it all, but as it is, Mulder and Scully seem more three dimensional than the players in this narrative. Photos.
Reviewed on: 01/31/2005
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4165-1339-1