My Odyssey To Area 51: Autobiography of Thornton D. "TD" Barnes (英語) ペーパーバック – 2013/5/28
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My Odyssey to Area 51 by Thornton D. "TD" Barnes is his autobiography and personal account of the CIA selecting him to work at Area 51 during the Cold War. The book follows his odyssey through his childhood on a ranch in New Mexico, his military career, involvement with NSA, CIA, and NASA that brought him to Area 51. Barnes is a veteran of the NASA High Range and Groom Lake where he and others pioneered the NASA X-15, XB-70, and Lifting Bodies. The CIA recruited Barnes, a hypersonic flight support specialist with a missile and radar background for a special projects team during the CIA’s A-12 Project OXCART at Area 51 where he remained as Special Projects cadre for the Soviet MiG exploitation programs, and the early days of pioneering stealth aircraft and drones. The content is declassified
TD Barnes, author and entrepreneur, grew up on a ranch at Dalhart, Texas, and graduated from Mountain View High School, Oklahoma. He then embarked on a ten-year military career. He served as an army intelligence specialist in Korea. Following 2 1/2 years of radar and missile electronics schooling, he taught foreign students the Nike radar and missile system and deployed with a Hawk missile battalion during the Soviet Iron Curtain threat. He attended Artillery OCS, where an injury ended his military career. Barnes' career included serving as a field engineer at the NASA High Range in Nevada for the X-15, XB-70, lifting bodies, and lunar landing vehicles. He participated in the NASA NERVA project at Jackass Flats, Nevada; and served in Special Projects at Area 51. Barnes later formed a family oil and gas exploration company, drilling and producing oil and gas and mining uranium and gold. Barnes is currently the CEO of Startel, Inc., a landowner, and actively mining landscape rock and gold in Nevada. He is also the president of Roadrunners Internationale, an association of Area 51 veterans. Formerly, he was the first executive director of the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame. Two National Geographic Channel documentaries: "Area 51 Declassified" and "CIA - Secrets of Area 51" have featured Barnes. Numerous documentaries produced by the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, the Travel Channel, and others also feature Barnes. The Annie Jacobsen book, Area 51 Declassified, also features his career. Barnes is the author of two nonfiction books, MiGs Over Nevada, and My Odyssey to Area 51, a 3 novel series about EMP and nuclear war, and a 3-novel series about Islamic Jihad in America. Barnes lives in Henderson, Nevada.
Mr Barnes, without the assistance of a professional editor or ghost-writer, lays open the early portions of his life as he progressed from a happy, and financially impoverished, Texas youngster to a happy, family man who worked at ground zero of that compartmentalized world of unique, mostly systems and aircraft having to do with radar. But he was required to keep secret what he did on the job to those in his life not part of his working cadre; a job evaluating the most advanced aeronautical systems this nation developed in the days when a slide rule was still the engineer's major design tool. He held secrets from family, friends and acquaintances until some time before he placed pencil to paper, so to speak.
One learns the idiosyncracies of the small but intense brotherhood of all who worked in a few of the Nevada test ranges, especially Groom Lake.
[Do not expect any silliness about alien (as in non-terrestrial) engineering or hidden ETs or the corpses of some "grays". This is a book for Area 51 realists, not fantasists or rumor-mongers. There are a few of those tomes on the shelves, fortunately for the entertainment industry, unfortunate for the historians.]
When it comes to the form of the book it is advantageous to take in consideration this man is telling about his life with brash honesty, direct and to the point. I get a sense most of it comes from memory since it was pretty much against the rules to keep diaries about one's work. I am happy Mr Barnes gave us the good fortune about learning so much detail on the projects he worked on - at least that work which to-date is no longer classified.
I also am glad we get a narrative as it comes from the person, with his unique personality, without being cleaned up by an editor / ghost-writer to make it more digestible for those who pride themselves as grammarians and "good English" enthusiasts. The narrative reminds me of those times I would sit across from a person who lived such a life, straight from the gut, all kinds of broken sentences and grammatical errors but the telling is spell-binding. And the knowledge dispense beyond anything one could purchase. I felt Mr Barnes sitting across from me, telling me all about his once very secret compartmentalized world without an English major correcting every split infinitive on one side of the table, on the other some over-eager Barney Fife type working for Wackenhut ready to pounce at a moment's notice.
I think this book a blessing for those who have a realistic interest in the area, the times and the systems discussed.
Bravo zulu Mr Barnes. Well done.
with the most intricate radar programs and worked with many of the Black aircraft that we all dream about. Barnes's life story is a true odyssey in to Cold War/ Area 51 history told in a
"right from the heart" pace. The book gives you such a feel for what he lived through, with his family and his work and the difficulties of having to always be able to keep your mouth shut
about what you were doing. There was no going to the wife and telling her what you did at work today. The family side of this story is amazing and a tribute to all the women who had to live
with the Code of Silence that their husbands took. Not an easy life by any means. While they didn't know what their husbands were doing, all they could do was keep the home,hearth and kids together and not ask any questions. There is a great woman's story in this book, along with TD's. Doris Barnes didn't have it easy either and it's nice to see that part of the story out there, too. We don't have enough about the humanity that goes behind all those black programs we all drool over. It's damn hard, sacrificing work and Barnes' story gives you the inside look! For any one wanting to know what really goes on at AREA 51..... this is the book for you.
He reminded me of someone from my dad's generation, modest and yet a little cocky at the same time, probably a great drinking buddy. I'd buy the guy a beer any old day.
Yet his book is made undeservedly dull by machine-gun fire acronyms, and by a steady drowsy pace that doesn't bring out the peaks and valleys of his story. And as others have noted, the Kindle edition is a proofreader's nightmare - every third sentence seems jumbled in tense or syntax, like it's been translated into Japanese and back. His book - any book - deserves better.
As for the Area 51 of notoriety, he only mentions it in a single paragraph or so in the last part of the book, and it's no spoiler to say there's not an extraterrestrial in sight. He devotes very little time to describing the place or building atmosphere either. And that's my real issue with the book. There WAS magic and drama out there in the desert, only of human invention - the spy planes and electronic war toys and Right Stuff flyboys and Russian spies and CIA handlers against a backdrop that's, er, unworldly.
Anyway I know now thanks to Thornton Barnes what's been going on at Area 51. I wouldn't call any of it dull, but unfortunately in this otherwise wonderfully candid book it comes off as very dull indeed.