This is not some self-published conspiracy theory: it is top-notch thinking and research. What’s more, D. W. Pasulka, the author, is a tenured professor of religion and an outstanding writer, and her book reads more like a novel in most places than a plodding treatise that might be inflicted on undergrads. A mature and respected scholar, she has done exactly what scholars are supposed to do: help us better understand ourselves and the world ... it is a profound and original exploration of how UFO culture can usefully be thought of as religion—one centered on science and technology, though. These may seem unconnected, as Pasulka realizes, but she makes a compelling case for the interconnections of religious modes of life and technology ... Anyone considering reading American Cosmic should be ready for what the truth can do, and I would be remiss, as a reviewer, if I did not say that serious scholarly study of strange things can have strange effects ... a reader will find few more thrilling reads in the fiction section than this academic book, hiding a modern Grail quest under its covers.
Without assessing any of the truth claims of Ufology’s practitioners, Pasulka argues that technology and media have had such an influence over the masses when it comes to the experience and interpretation of phenomena that they are slowly replacing traditional religious practice ... a superb investigation into the birth and rise of a new religion.
Much of American Cosmic deals in fascinating detail with that formation [of religious zeal toward UFOs] ... The main problem with such a diplomatic double approach [between interesting the author’s fellow students of religious history as well as the many various members of that new religion] is that only one half of it is based in reality, and that fact is often blurry in American Cosmic ... There is not one shred of actual scientific evidence for any of [the] presumptions [of UFO believers]. Pasulka is being friendly and diplomatic in her field research, yes, but she’s being friendly and diplomatic about people who are deeply, ingrainedly delusional.