They Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves: The History and Politics of Alien Abduction

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NYU Press, 2007 - History - 247 pages
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Since its emergence in the 1960s, belief in alien abduction has saturated popular culture, with the ubiquitous image of the almond-eyed alien appearing on everything from bumper stickers to bars of soap. Drawing on interviews with alleged abductees from the New York area, Bridget Brown suggests a new way for people to think about the alien phenomenon, one that is concerned not with establishing whether aliens actually exist, but with understanding what belief in aliens in America may tell us about our changing understanding of ourselves and our place in the world.

They Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves looks at how the belief in abduction by extraterrestrials is constituted by and through popular discourse and the images provided by print, film, and television. Brown contends that the abduction phenomenon is symptomatic of a period during which people have come to feel increasingly divested of the ability to know what is real or true about themselves and the world in which they live. The alien abduction phenomenon helps us think about how people who feel left out create their own stories and fashion truths that square with their own experience of the world.


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The author of this book does a great job of trying to convince herself (and the reader) that the alien abduction phenomenon is simply the result of sleep paralysis and brain disturbance without actually identifying the real cause. Quotation marks are used throughout this book to place question on the validity of certain words the author chooses. The author goes on to point out that the alien abduction phenomenon is on the decline based on the fact that few books have been published on the subject in recent years (2007). Perhaps if she had waited until 2008 where UFO sightings are up 700% in some areas of the world her conclusion statements might have been different.
I am a skeptic in the true sense of the word in that I approach this subject looking for answers with an open mind. Consider this quote:
"Skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found." [Miguel de Unamuno, "Essays and Soliloquies," 1924]
The author of this book begins her work by asserting what she thinks she has found without an open mind. The title of the book itself was stolen from a quote by Whitley Strieber. There is no useful or new information to be gleaned on the UFO/alien abduction subject here, only the one-sided uninformed and opinionated judgments of the author. Zero stars, but since Google won't allow that 1 star.


The Trauma and Recovery of Alien Abduction
Abduction Traumatists
The Intimate Invasion of Alien Technology
5 An Ongoing and Systematic Breeding Experiment
Conspiracy Theory as Alternative History
Conspiracy Theory and the War against Citizens
Abductees and the Burden of Global Consciousness
The Limits of Chosenness
Abductee Culture Abductee Belief
Alien Abduction and the New Face of Terror
About the Author

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About the author (2007)

Bridget Brown teaches writing at Montclair State University. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from New York University.

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