Two recent reviews of Extraterrestrials and the American Zeitgeist have recently emerged and they are, on the whole, positive.
The first, by poet and author Eric Hoffman is at openminds.tv, a good general-purpose UFO news site and (increasingly rarely, these days) newsstand magazine. Hoffman, like many reviewers has thankfully picked up on the point that the book aimed to be a scholarly examination rather than an expose (on the one hand) or Contactee apologetics text (on the other):
Refreshingly, Gulyas’ Extraterrestrials and the American Zeitgeist makes no claims to the truth of the contactee experience, yet instead offers a readable, jargon-free, well-researched and insightful analysis of the contactee’s cultural impact and continued relevance, charting its various manifestations intelligibly and authoritatively. It is a welcome addition to a handful of books offering a penetrative and balanced exploration of the psychological and sociological importance of the UFO phenomenon.
The second is in Nova Religio, a scholarly journal which covers “new and emerging religions.” Unfortunately, it’s behind a paywall on JStor and I actually found it by accident (although my publisher, McFarland, notified me of it a day later!) and when I saw that it was written by Robert S. Ellwood, I eagerly payed the $12 to buy the review. Ellwood is one of America’s leading scholars of emerging religious movements, and has written extensively on the Contactees. When I recalled that I quoted him in my chapter on George Adamski, I frankly panicked. I mean, this guy is a big deal!
Overall, Ellwood’s review was positive, although he (correctly, as I noted to him in an email) pointed out that I really should have discussed Jung’s work on Flying Saucers and leaving out Orfeo Angelucci and Daniel Fry was probably a mistake in my discussion of the 1950s guys. Some deeper discussion of the influence of science fiction was also called for but he seemed to like it and didn’t take issue with my argument on the significance and impact of the Contactees:
Gulyas properly makes the point that, however unsophisticated these envoys of the ‘‘space brothers’’ may have been, in those days of Cold War and political paranoia, their persistent declarations that the cosmic callers were urging humanity toward a higher level of peace, tolerance, and living by what Adamski called Cosmic Law, deserved to be heard.
the way this book brought back such memories of other long-ago saucerians is a tribute to its evocative historical prose, and Gulyas certainly portrays sufficient of them to establish the type and highlight the anti-nuclear, peace and egalitarian doctrines these benign aliens were concerned we earthlings must adopt before we destroy ourselves.
I am over the moon about any praise from a scholar on Ellwood’s level and I am deeply grateful that Eric Hoffman took so much time and care with his review.
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