Susan Clancy's Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens explores exactly what the title states; however, not in any depth required of a serious scientific study. Clancy does an insufficient amount of research, writes six chapters stating what she could have easily stated in one, and proceeds to insult her readers in assuming they are unable to perform the simplest of deductions.
Clancy began her research of "abductees" by placing ads in newspapers reading, "Have you been abducted by aliens?" Surely, a study of this nature being conducted at Harvard should be approached with more caution. Any sane person would assume that the ad is some kind of joke, or even an experiment conducted by an "abductee" herself. The wording alone would only attract strange people, which would then further the assumption that anyone claiming to have been abducted is not normal, or sane for that matter. In order to be taken seriously, Clancy should have chosen more appropriate wording to get her point across. After reading the footnote, I found that Clancy had actually been requested to change the wording in the ads to something more professional. So far, Clancy is off to a very rough start.
During her research, Clancy makes it a point to consider each "abductee's" story as a serious matter. She believes these stories must be taken seriously in order to properly approach the issues of how and why people believe that they have been abducted by aliens. Clancy's research consists of many interviews with many different types of people; however, for something Clancy takes so seriously, that is an insufficient amount of research. She never searches for hard evidence, or even asks for it. She makes no visits to their homes to see what kind of environment they live in, among other things. Any conclusion drawn solely on the accounts of people who are "out there" to begin with is nonsense. From this moment on, it is nearly impossible to take any of Clancy's deductions seriously.
The first chapter of the book is called "How do you wind up studying aliens?" I highly doubt that anyone who buys a book titled Abducted is hoping to get twenty pages on how the author stumbled upon such a topic. I read the book to learn about Clancy's research and conclusions, not to learn how she got into such a field. Each chapter thereafter says practically the exact same thing, with exception to some of the explanations that Clancy gives for rare varying abduction stories. She is excruciatingly repetitive in stating that their experiences must be from sleep paralysis, hypnotism, or simply having watched too much TV. Clancy spends a great deal of the book recalling a countless number of abduction stories that, by the third chapter, seem to all generally be the same. The only time the book is of any interest is when she finally gets to her point and tells the reader what has, for no reason at all, taken her so long to say. An example of this would be chapter three in its entirety, where the point is that hypnosis could distort and alter memory. I highly doubt that she needed an entire chapter to get that idea across.
Which brings me to my next point. Clancy, throughout the book, proceeds to insult her readers in assuming they are unable to perform the simplest of deductions. She even seems to assume that her readers do not even know the most basic of scientific terms. I am only twenty-one and reading my first book on alien abductions, and even I know every single term she so explicitly explained eight times each. Clancy will clearly explain, step by step, how she deduced from an abduction story that the "abductee" must have been experiencing sleep paralysis, which after hearing the definition so many times, I, along with the majority of her readers, could have done in my sleep. It seems as though Clancy wrote her book with an incompetent audience in mind. Her writing makes Carl Sagan's writing look like Latin!
Overall, I would not recommend this book. I was bored the entire way through which is quite terrible considering the book's length. Most of what I learned from reading Clancy's Abductions: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens I could have learned from a five minute conversation with my high school science teacher. Clancy not only does insufficient research, causing her conclusions to be nonsense, but she repeats the same ideas over and over as if she has nothing else to say. She spends the majority of the book explaining terms and pointing out the most obvious of deductions, which I find rather insulting. Of course, the icing on the cake is the two blatant errors, one spelling and one grammatical, made in the writing, which ironically enough, is the only part of the book I actually enjoyed.