ANGELS AND ALIENS

UFOS AND THE MYTHIC IMAGINATION

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! A plane! A UFO! An angel! It's all of this and more, according to free-lancer Thompson (New Age magazine, etc.), whose debut book champions the view that flying saucers have soared to earth from ``mythic horizons and imaginal realms,'' and that the public's fascination with these pixilated objects is really ``a religious search to recover lost intimacy.'' As Thompson observes, most ufologists fall into two camps- -those who identify UFOs as alien spacecraft, and those who see them as psychic constructions. Thompson tries to straddle the divide—he says that UFOs may yet turn out to be technological hardware—but clearly his sympathies lie with those who consider saucers to be ``an idea at work in the world soul.'' As a result, the authorities he cites are usually psychologists or New Age-y scientists (Jung, Bateson) rather than engineers or private eyes. The argument zips along—this is great fun to read—but suffers from forced parallels (for instance, between UFOs and angels, an equation that glosses over the tawdriness of the former, the numinous nature of the latter) and awkward mythological explanations (UFOs as Proteus incarnate). Of much greater value is Thompson's exciting history of ufology, from the first modern sightings in 1947 through Whitley Strieber's bestselling confessions of the late 1980's. With stronger focus, this might have been the definitive story; instead, it is the first to trace all major strands in UFO research with intelligent, if sometimes wispy, analysis. Great for UFO buffs. Others will find the New Age stance weird, but, then again, as Thompson says, ``we're talking about UFOs after all. Nothing could be stranger....''

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 1991

ISBN: 0-201-55084-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1991

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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