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Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives

Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s
Top Secret Military Base

Annie Jacobsen (photo by Michael Hiller

IT IS THE MOST FAMOUS MILITARY INSTALLATION IN THE WORLD. And it doesn’t officially exist. Located a mere seventy-five miles outside of Las Vegas, the base has never been acknowledged by the U.S. government. Myths and hypotheses about Area 51 have long abounded, thanks to the intense secrecy enveloping it. Some claim it is home to aliens, underground tunnel systems, and nuclear facilities. Others believe that the lunar landing itself was filmed there. The prevalence of these rumors stems from the fact that no credible insider has ever divulged the truth about his time inside the base. Until now. Los Angeles Times investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen had exclusive access to 19 men who served the base proudly and secretly for decades and are now aged 75–92, and unprecedented access to 55 additional military and intelligence personnel, scientists, pilots, and engineers linked to the secret base. In Area 51, Jacobsen shows us what has really gone on in the Nevada desert, from testing nuclear weapons to building super-secret, supersonic jets to pursuing the War on Terror.

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