Books of long-lasting value
The following books are recommended by the Center for UFO Studies for anyone who wants to learn more about the topic. They may be found in new or used bookstores or libraries, but some are hard to find, although some have been reprinted.
Donald E. Keyhoe, Flying Saucers from Outer Space (1953)
Keyhoe essentially broke open the official log jam of government UFO cover-ups with his first book, The Flying Saucers are Real. This, his second book, continues in the same vein and argues for an end to saucer secrecy.
Captain Edward Ruppelt, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (1956)
Captain Ruppelt’s inside look at the Air Force’s Project Blue Book never ages. It offers the reader a rare chance to see behind the mirror of the UFO Project during a relatively uncontaminated time. Accurate and unemotional.
Richard H. Hall, ed., The UFO Evidence (1964).
This compilation of case histories, grouped into categories of report type (radar, pilots, electromagnetic effects), was once the only outstanding research publication available. Initially used to interest members of Congress and their staffs to push for hearings, this volume is still an impressive listing of the amount and quality of reports available in that era.
Jacques Vallée, Anatomy of a Phenomenon: Unidentified Objects in Space—A Scientific Appraisal (1965)
The first book written in a more-or-less academic style, it received favorable responses by the Air Force and conservative academics as a reasonable and interesting presentation of the phenomenon. Vallée’s first of many books on the phenomenon.
John G. Fuller, The Interrupted Journey: Two Lost Hours “Aboard a Flying Saucer” (1966)
The famous Hill abduction is detailed here with lengthy transcriptions of tape-recorded hypnotic regression sessions. This is still one of the most convincing cases of an alleged abduction by aliens.
Jacques Vallée and Janine Vallée, Challenge to Science: The UFO Enigma (1966)
Vallee’s follow-up to Anatomy continues in the same intellectual vein. Attempts to push the patterns in the first book forward and discuss research directions. Still valuable for those interested in the analysis of UFO cases and data.
J. Allen Hynek, The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry (1972)
For twenty years, Dr. J. Allen Hynek served as a consultant to Project Blue Book, and The UFO Experience is his response to the official Air Force debunking policies and a summation of what he had learned about the UFO phenomenon. Hynek presents an eloquent and accessible case for the continuing scientific study of UFOs and offers a classification system that inspired the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Moreover, his witness profiles shatter the officially fostered fallacy that those who see UFOs are ignorant or insane.
Carl Sagan and Thornton Page, eds., UFO’s: A Scientific Debate (1972)
A book that was the outgrowth of a conference organized by the two editors. It includes a wide range of opinion on the UFO subject. Contributors include J. Allen Hynek, James McDonald, Donald Menzel, and Carl Sagan.
David Jacobs, The UFO Controversy in America (1975)
This is the first history of the topic and a scholarly work of the first rank, which has stood the test of time.
J. Allen Hynek, The Hynek UFO Report (1977)
Dr. Hynek uses the original US government case files to explore the work of the US Air Force UFO projects, highlighting his own involvement and re-evaluating many cases in light of his long experience.
Allan Hendry, The UFO Handbook: A Guide to Investigating, Evaluating, and Reporting UFO Sightings (1979)
An overview of UFO case investigation from the first chief investigator for CUFOS based on his work evaluating reports with Dr. Hynek and CUFOS investigators. It is a conservative treatment that points out the many errors made by witnesses and investigators. Essential for those interested in case investigation.
Richard Haines, ed., UFO Phenomena and the Behavioral Scientist (1979)
A dozen intelligent essays by scholars in a variety of fields. Most of these authors are psychologists or sociologists. Topics emphasize a focus upon UFO reporters.
Lawrence Fawcett and Barry J. Greenwood, Clear Intent: The Government Cover-Up of the UFO Experience (1984)
The first detailed treatment of the once-controversial but now widely recognized extent of secret government interest in UFOs. Working from a large quantity of declassified documents using FOIA, the authors give an interesting “just the facts” style of presentation of the revealed information.
Hilary Evans and John Spencer, eds., UFOs 1947–1987: The 40-Year Search for an Explanation (1987)
A wonderful compilation of articles from many knowledgeable UFO experts on topics ranging across the UFO spectrum.
Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt, The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell (1994)
This second book by the authors is the definitive early account of the Roswell crash and retrieval.
Nick Pope, Open Skies, Closed Minds: Official Reactions to the UFO Phenomenon (1996)
The history of the UK’s Ministry of Defense investigations of UFOs by someone who ran the UFO Desk at the agency.
Charles Emmons, At the Threshold (1997)
Excellent in the illumination of academic response or non-response, appropriate or inappropriate, to the UFO anomaly.
Peter Sturrock, ed., The UFO Enigma: A New Review of the Physical Evidence (1999)
The report of the Sturrock workshop held in 1997 that brought together leading ufologists to present the evidence and engage in discussions with leading academics to provide a rigorous assessment of the physical UFO evidence. The first such review since the infamous Colorado (Condon Committee) report in 1969.
Richard H. Hall, The UFO Evidence, Volume II: A Thirty-Year Report (2000)
A compilation of cases of all types from the mid-1960s until the end of the 1990s. The most complete reference available that provides a solid and comprehensive review of the all types of evidential and compelling UFO reports. Presents sightings from a wide variety of professionals, and also discusses in-depth the characteristics of the UFO phenomenon.
David Jacobs, ed., UFOs and Abductions (2000)
A scholarly compilation of articles from leading scholars and academics who review the history of UFO study, military involvement, and highlight some of the best evidence about the phenomenon.
Brenda Denzler, The Lure of the Edge: Scientific Passions, Religious Beliefs, and the Pursuit of UFOs (2001)
A scholarly examination of the social and organizational history of UFO groups, both mainstream and fringe, and those individuals who comprise these organizations, as well as UFO witnesses and the public who follows the subject.
Recent books of note
These books have been published fairly recently and are informative and up-to-date on the subject.
Leslie Kean, UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record (2010)
Leading UFO journalist Kean provides compelling case reports and presents the history of government and other UFO study in the US, Europe, and South America. Meticulously documented and researched.
Thomas E. Bullard, The Myth and Mystery of UFOs (2010)
CUFOS board member and abduction expert Bullard views the UFO subject through the lens of mythmaking, discovering what UFO accounts tell us about ourselves, our beliefs, and the possibility of visitors from beyond. Erudite, scholarly, and insightful.
David Marler, Triangular UFOs: An Estimate of the Situation (2013)
CUFOS board member Marler provides an extensive review of sightings of triangular and boomerang-shaped UFOs throughout the modern era of UFO reports.
James Bunnell, Strange Lights in West Texas (2015)
An engineer’s report on his field investigations into the mysterious Marfa lights seen near that west Texas town.
Carl Feindt, UFOs and Water (2nd ed., 2016)
UFO sightings associated with water from around the world, including reported effects on water by the UFO.
Michael Swords, Robert Powell, et al. UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry (2016)
CUFOS board member and foremost UFO historian Swords, plus distinguished colleagues, provide the definitive account of how the US government and others have (mis)handled the UFO problem.
Mark O’Connell, The Close Encounters Man: How One Man Made the World Believe in UFOs (2017)
The biography of J. Allen Hynek, Air Force chief scientific consultant and founder of CUFOS.
Jerome Clark, ed., The UFO Encyclopedia (3rd ed., 2 vols., 2018)
The tour-de-force overview of the UFO field, literally from A to Z. An essential reference for serious students of the subject.
James Lacatski, Colm Kelleher, and George Knapp, Skinwalkers at the Pentagon: An Insiders’ Account of the Secret Government UFO Program (2021)
The history of the secret AAWSAP and AATIP US government UFO programs from the first director, the chief scientist for Robert Bigelow, and a journalist who has been reporting on the UFO scene for decades.
Kevin Randle, Understanding Roswell: The True Story of What Happened in Roswell in July 1947 (2022)
One of the leading investigators of Roswell provides a comprehensive update on this famous incident.
Chris Rutkowski, Canada’s UFOs Declassified (2022)
Canada’s most veteran UFO researcher provides the definitive account of UFOs in Canada.
Daniel Coumbe, Anomaly: A Scientific Exploration of the UFO Phenomenon (2023)
Physicist Coumbe demonstrates how physics can be applied to UFO reports, and also conducts statistical analysis of UFO sightings.