Author and Investigative Journalist
Annie Jacobsen is a contributing editor for the Los Angeles Times Magazine and writes a weekly column called “Backstory,” which can be read at latimes.com. An internationally recognized journalist, articles by and about her have appeared in National Review, the Dallas Morning News, the London Telegraph, Foreign Policy Magazine, Shanghai Daily, the New York Times and elsewhere. She has made guest appearances on more than 600 radio shows speaking to such diverse audiences as NPR and “The Savage Nation” about terrorism, national security and intelligence matters. Television appearances include ABC, MSNBC, FOX News and CNN.
Jacobsen’s latest work tackles perhaps America’s most misunderstood military base. Myths and hypotheses about Area 51 have long abounded, thanks to the intense secrecy enveloping it. Some claim it is home to aliens, underground tunnel systems, and nuclear facilities. Certain skeptics and conspiracy theorists believe that the lunar landing itself was faked and filmed there. This prevalence of rumors is in large part due to the fact that no credible insider has ever divulged the truth about his time inside the base, until now. Jacobsen’s AREA 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base is the first book based on recently declassified documents and, perhaps more importantly, first-hand, eye witnesses to the base history, making it the seminal work on the subject.
With unprecedented access to military and intelligence personnel (seventy-four individuals linked to the secret base, thirty-two of whom lived and served the base proudly and secretly over the decades, Jacobsen shares with audiences what really goes on in the Nevada desert, from testing nuclear reactions to building super-secret, super-sonic jets to pursuing the War on Terror, to answering questions and breaking myths long held by UFOologists. Filled with formerly classified information that has never been accurately decoded for the public, Area 51 weaves the mysterious activities of the top-secret base into a gripping narrative, showing that facts are often more fantastic than fiction, especially when the distinction is almost impossible to make.
In addition to sharing this incredible new information about the storied base, at the podium, Jacobsen delves into issues of foreign relations, national security, atomic energy, and how all of these are connected to back to the Nevada desert.
“The Road to Area 51” series was published in the Los Angeles Times Magazine in the winter of 2009. In March-April 2009 the series broke online reader records and remained the “most popular/most emailed” story for 10 consecutive days and generated a bevy of media interest. National Geographic has also made a documentary based on several chapters of Area 51.
Jacobsen graduated from St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, in 1985, and Princeton University, in 1989, where she wrote under Joyce Carol Oates, studied Greek, and served as captain of the Princeton Women’s Ice Hockey Team. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and two sons.