BooksWorld getting weirder

Secrets From The Black Vault by John Greenewald Jr. (book review).

It seems I inadvertently picked up John Greenewald’s second book, “Secrets From The Black Vault,” before his first. However, according to his introduction, they don’t need to be read in sequence, so I can delve into the other one later.

From the introduction, it’s clear that Greenewald has extensively utilized the USA’s Freedom of Information Act to examine declassified documents from agencies like the CIA. Much of his effort revolves around identifying covert projects by their unique codenames to effectively request information. After all, one can’t ask for details too vaguely; doing so broadens the inquiry excessively. For instance, who would associate “Project Artichoke” with the use of truth serums or LSD? Notably, the administration of LSD on unsuspecting individuals had grave consequences, including an instance where an individual committed suicide after being unknowingly dosed.

Greenewald touches on the Cold War tensions between Russia and the USA, noting several occasions where both nations teetered on the brink of nuclear war. Thankfully, these standoffs weren’t a result of leaders hastily reaching for their launch keys. One can only hope that such powers never blindly entrust AI-driven software with such grave responsibilities.

I was somewhat familiar with plans by both the USA and Russia to establish military bases on the Moon. While Greenewald’s claim that there were intentions to “blow up” the Moon might be hyperbolic, the idea of a nuclear detonation – possibly to study underground lunar materials – is disturbing. Such an approach seems particularly rash when compared to gathering core samples, which are both safer and free of radioactive fallout. Thankfully, the establishment of NASA halted these aggressive military lunar ambitions.

Greenewald’s examination of UFOs/UAPs will naturally intrigue many. One fact I found enlightening was that crash test dummies were not invented until 1949. So, how could they have been implicated in the 1947 Roswell incident? It’s a lesson in fact-checking. Among a few other notable cases, the Iranian 1976 incident stands out: military jets lost their electronics upon nearing a UAP, with the UAP seemingly escorting them safely back to base. This incident, if any, speaks volumes about the potential sentience of these unidentified phenomena.

Throughout the book, Greenewald consistently emphasizes the stark omissions and redactions in the official documents he received. Instead of jumping to conclusions, he often leaves the interpretation to the reader. Many times, the concealed information hints at controversial activities by agencies like the CIA. For instance, it’s now evident that the CIA disguised their U2 flights, passing them off as UAP sightings.

Given the steady declassification of materials over the years, I’m surprised Greenewald hasn’t written another book. While he primarily focuses on what the US government has concealed rather than diving deep into individual cases, the mere acknowledgment that the government was monitoring UAPs – contrary to their public statements – is quite revelatory.

GF Willmetts

August 2023

(pub: Rowman & Littlefield, 2020. 209 page illustrated small enlarged paperback. Price: ISBN: 978-1-5381-3406-1)

check out website: www.rowman.com


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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