The Inside Story of Real Life Sightings
The National Archives, Kew, Surrey, 2009. ISBN 978 1 905615 50 6
Copies can be ordered directly from TNA bookshop or from Amazon. A sample section from Chapter 2 can be downloaded free of charge from the TNA website UFO page.
“an excellent book, a fine introduction to the subject for anybody. It strikes just the right tone. Sceptical but never derisive. It shows UFO history as a social phenomenon embedded in the changing culture but even the more risible stories are told sympathetically so that we see the phenomenon as something to celebrate as enhancing the human condition as much as something that pollutes it. The new reader will get a good feeling for just how much strangeness turns out in the end to be explainable, but a residual mystery is frankly admitted in some cases and an open hand is held out the proponents of scientific novelty….one of the few UFO books I could conscientiously recommend to an innocent but curious friend whose good opinion I valued…”
Martin Shough, posting on UFOlogyinuk, September 2009.
The Mail on Sunday, 27 December 2009, awarded the book 4 out of 5 stars and reviewer Harry Ritchie compared the results of my "expert rummagings" through the MoD archives with the breaking of the MPs expenses scandal earlier that year. Both breakthroughs were achieved as a result of investigative campaigns using the Freedom of Information Act. He wrote:
"UFOlogists believe aliens are among us and the military and political establishment are either blind to this dramatic fact or have covered it up. This book proves decisively that both beliefs are nonsense. The reality is both reassuring and unthrilling. First, there are no flying saucers and little green men, hence the lack of even the most microscopic piece of hard evidence. Second, the MoD has neither covered anything up nor been blindly dismissive. In fact, until finally closing its UFO investigations unit earlier this month, the MoD has often taken UFOs seriously, even commissioning secret reports. In 2000 its Condign report concluded: 'That UFOs exist is indisputable' Eh? Yes, UFOs are real [but] they are not extraterrestrial spacecraft...they're natural phenomena which we don't really understand yet....The only remaining mystery is this: why would the MoD want to keep things top secret? It's not because there's any conspiracy but because it has held us, the public it is supposed to be serving, in a mixture of fear and contempt. All that the MoD's secrecy achieved was to encourage dark rumours and daft fantasies."
The UFO Files was the subject of leading news stories published by The Sunday Times andThe Sunday Telegraph on 20 September 2009. These concentrated upon the contents of the Defence Intelligence Staff documents from the '90s that are featured in the final chapter of the book.
The UFO Files was also reviewed by Neil Chandler in The Daily Star on Sunday, 18 October 2009. This article is available on the Daily Star website.
More praise for The UFO Files:
Peter Brookesmith, reviewing the book for Fortean Times, wrote:
“...[this book] is a survey of the whole MoD archive, but it is also, in effect, a brief review of the history of the UFO phenomenon as seen through British eyes. As such it demonstrates an intrinsic Forteanism. It will probably irritate those convinced that UFO experiences can be explained as mundane events…as much as it will annoy those who want evidence that UFOs are alien or interdimensional craft….By offering no opinions and no reductive interpretations of his data, Dr Clarke makes the numinous nature of his subject all the more apparent.”
Peter Rogerson, in his review for The Magonia Blog, says "every UFOlogist should have this book."
Another review by Kevin Goodman of UFO Warminster, has been published on Nick Redfern's UFO Mystic website. He says: "If I had to recommend one book this year, then this would be the one."
The book’s cover blurb summarises the content as follows:
'What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What is the truth?' Winston Churchill, 28 July 1952.
THE UFO FILES tells the story of over 100 years of UFO sightings, drawing on formerly secret government records at the National Archives. Alongside extraordinary reports by ordinary people it reveals details of official interest and investigations stretching back to before the First World War for although the terms UFO and Flying Saucer were not coined until the middle of the twentieth century, people have long seen things in the sky that they could not explain. In this remarkable book David Clarke reveals an array of startling stories from possible UFO reports hidden among Met Office investigations of aerial phenomena in the 1920s to the conclusions of Project Condign, the hush-hush British Intelligence UFO study completed in 2000. As well as covering Roswell and Britain's own Rendlesham Forest mystery, Clarke raids the records for dramatic stories of abductions and close encounters, ghost aircraft and crop circles, and UFO reports by civilian aircrew and military personnel. Dramatic witness statements and interviews many undertaken by the author himself combine with rarely seen photographs, drawings and newly available documents to offer a unique guide to one of our most intriguing mysteries.