Review on Amazon: by Keith T
Northern CA, USA
5.0 out of 5 stars
Asking questions that matter
Reviewed in the United States on May 15, 2021
Surprised to learn that this long-awaited book had been published earlier than advertised, I purchased a digital copy yesterday and finished reading it less than 24 hours later. In giving the book my highest recommendation, let me make clear certain biases I brought to the reading, and that I also bring to this review.
As a long-time observer of the UFO phenomenon, it has become unmistakable to me that Jacques Vallee is the most perceptive analyst in our midst, not in spite of the fact that he invariably raises more questions than he answers, but precisely because he does so. When he first arrived on the scene called ufology several decades ago, he made clear that he would be taking a different approach. Vallee called upon his fellow researchers to join him in moving beyond the limited—and what he considered the increasingly obsessional—concern with whether UFOs are “extraterrestrial” in the conventional sense of that word, and to begin probing the UFO phenomenon’s impact on culture and our collective psyches.
In “Trinity,” Vallee and his fellow researcher and coauthor Paola Leopizzi Harris bring this approach to their exploration of a 1945 UFO episode that predated Kenneth Arnold’s famous sighting (1947) of objects seemingly skipping through the air like “saucers,” a word that went on to define popular expectations related to the alluring UFO acronym. For an overview of this fine book, I refer the reader to Amazon’s summary description. Let me simply a word about how you might decide if you will find this work of interest, and perhaps of enormous value.
If you have arrived at this review in hopes that the authors will provide long-sought confirmation that UFOs are simply visitors from hypothetical planets who just happen to be humanoid like us, and breathe our air, this book won’t provide the certainty you seek. But, if are open to recognizing how and why the UFO phenomenon is far more subtle and complex than that facile explanation, this book will provide the evidence-based reasoning for that recognition. This, then, is your first decision.
In putting forward the hypothesis that unidentified aerial phenomena are both physical and psychic in nature, Vallee doesn’t stop there. He and coauthor Harris demonstrate in their approach to the 1945 Trinity the kind of comprehensive, multidisciplinary investigations required for such a task. This includes a capacity to evaluate data quality, and to bring a more better analysis not only of the object being studied, but of the impact of the observation on the witnesses and their social environment.
Whether you have read other UFO books, or if this is potentially your first UFO book, here’s a test of whether to take the plunge. If you are…
—open to transcending your categories
—willing to finish reading the book different that when you started
—not just looking to reaffirm the assumptions you may have arrived with
—willing in fact to put your mind at risk
…then I cannot give this book a higher recommendation.
In closing, perhaps you wonder why these words from a total stranger should influence your decision. I’ll simply say my longtime study of this phenomenon led me to author a book of my own: “Angels and Alien: UFOs and the Mythic Imagination” (Fawcett Columbine, 1991). Part of my aim in that book (long out of print so I’m not looking to sell my own book here) was to take the UFO subject beyond its sensationalistic boundaries, and to reveal its surprising thematic richness, intellectual energy, and symbolic depths. I featured Jacque Vallee’s body of work prominently in my book, and decades later, my esteem for him has only grown.
Hands down, “Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret” by Vallee and Harris is the best book on the subject, and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t retain this status for quite some time to come.