Review by KEN KORCZAK
Let me just say that Jesse Marcel Jr. has my great admiration. He’s lived an honorable life as a hard-working physician, healer of the sick, father of eight children, grandfather, National Guard member, served in the Iraq War for 13 months as flight surgeon – he’s a classic all-around, All-American good guy.
He also projects a warm, avuncular vibe in the TV and video interviews I have seen — he’s obviously a marvelous human being – I wish he was my uncle or my next door neighbor.
And thus it pains me to inform my readers that THE ROSWELL LEGACY is a fairly awful book.
There isn’t a single new revelation to provide a single shard of information that might shed new light on what really happened at a remote desert about 75 miles from Roswell, New Mexico, on June 14, 1947. Everything said about the supposed crash of an alien spacecraft (or something) at the location has already been aired ad nausea in a blizzard of other books, articles, TV shows, movies, Internet sites.
True, Marcel is more than a footnote in the annals of UFO lore. By virtue of his fiddling for about 20 minutes with some of the debris of whatever crashed in the desert when he was an 11 year old boy, Marcel has gained a minor star in that strange constellation of players that comprises the field of ufology.
He says he wrote this book to clear up scads of egregious misinformation and false statements that have been made about his father by debunkers and skeptics over the years, as they questioned Jesse Marcel Sr.’s role as one of the first men to see the Roswell crash site, and collect some of the wreckage.
|Dr. Jesse Marcel Jr.|
But he adds absolutely nothing new to the record. Everything he tells about his father is known. If anything, Marcel somewhat dulls the luster of his father’s reputation. He describes Marcel Sr’s slow descent into alcoholism and a bitter sense of cynicism and alienation from the military, possibly related to the government’s attempt to control whatever message it wanted to control about the Roswell incident. I give the author high points for unflinching honesty, however.
The quality of the writing is barely adequate, if not poor – it reads like a high school student turning in a report about what he did on his summer vacation. There is also more than a little flat-out padding with bland information about space travel anyone can find on Wikipedia, a superfluous appendix, too much info about weather balloons, and a chapter written by his wife who adds minor, irrelevant pleasantries.
Furthermore, Marcel mistakenly says that the famous “swamp gas” concept was a favorite go-to explanation that Dr. Hynek used to debunk UFO reports. The truth is, it was reporters who misunderstood something Hynek said in a press conference which led to the popularization of the “swamp gas” term, and it was the media which subsequently hammered “swamp gas” into the public consciousness.
If the price was maybe .99 cents for the Kindle edition, I would say go ahead and buy it. But this is not a significant contribution to the Roswell legacy.
Ken Korczak is the author of: MINNESOTA PARANORMALA