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Enigma Issue 4: Book Review - Round in Circles, by Jim Schnabel

by Paul Vigay | Autumn 1994

 Title: Round In Circles
Author: Jim Schnabel
  ISBN: 0-14-017952-6
 Price: £6.99 (paperback)
Published by Penguin Books, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ

After reading all these books by hoaxers you may well think that I have lost grasp of my senses. On the contrary though. I decided that I would do some detailed research on them in order to further my understanding of their motives and activities.

This book is actually very well written and before you dismiss it as the silly rantings of a hoaxer and debunker, I would genuinely recommend that you read it. It you don't want to give money to the pocket of a hoaxer, then it's worth borrowing from some one who has.

Firstly, Round In Circles is very well researched and contains a mine of interesting information. Secondly, reading this book will give you a broad insight into the crop circle phenomenon. Although Schnabel is known for his hoaxing abilities, he actually seems to believe in a genuine, albeit rare, phenomenon, and hoaxing isn't really mentioned in the book until the final chapters.

Most of the book deals with grasping a better understanding of the personalities and events associated with the subject. How he obtained his information, and how accurate it is, I can only speculate. However, it all seems harmless enough and no doubt reflects a great deal of time in studying the subject.

Most crop circle personalities are mentioned in the book. In fact, in the vein of Private Eye, if you're not mentioned in the book, you're probably not a worthy enough researcher - or haven't been introduced to Jim yet.

From reading the book, it seems that Jim has a meticulous eye for detail, for there are so many short snippets of information of a very detailed nature, such as what certain people were doing on particular nights, when they received phone calls and even what paintings they have hanging on the walls in their home.

Although the book has been rumoured to be damaging to the crop circle subject, I found it very informative and enlightening. I certainly found out things that I didn't know before. Rather than dismissing the whole subject as a hoax, the book is written very much as a concise history of the subject.

I would certainly recommend that researchers read this book for its fascinating account of the events in the last decade or so. Major hoaxing isn't really discussed until almost the end of the book, when Doug and Dave are introduced.

Jim then goes on to describe how he became fascinated by the hoaxing hypothesis and wanted to investigate further. He tells of how he met up and became acquainted with other groups of hoaxers.

Towards the end of the book, he makes some quite derogatory comments about certain circle researchers, which I'm sure may hit a nerve with some people - unless they have a good sense of humour.

The overall tone of the book strikes me as a rather light-hearted account of how an innocent prankster such as Schnabel became entwined in the ever-engulfing crop circles web of conspiracy. On the other hand, it may be a well-planned exercise to undermine the serious study of the crop circles phenomenon.

Either way, I would certainly recommend reading this book. I don't think it contains anything to seriously change your existing views on the origins of the crop circles, but provides some very interesting and fascinating 'background' information.

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