Did Kelly Johnson and the people at Lockheed, the CIA, and the U.S. Air Force realize they were developing a “platform” whose utility would extend over decades? Probably not. Aeronautical history of the time is littered with failed jets and engines designs. Survivors are few and the U-2 stands out.
Reading the extended edition of Stephen King’s massive novel THE STAND was a reminder of why I never took up reading his books when I was younger: his writing style was flat and uninspiring. Now that I’m older I’ve returned to reading his books and recognize his mastery of two very important fiction elements:
Translated by Nicholas Voge from the original Japanese, this memoir tells the story of one Japanese naval pilot from the time he earns his wings to his combat experience in China, Pearl Harbor, Midway, and Guadalcanal.
This book is pretty dry reading. There’s very little in the way of human interest or personal relationships on display here. That’s okay since, if you read between the lines, you can pretty much imagine the real world of terror and sweat Bridgeman, Crossfield, and the others had to deal with on a regular basis in order to “bring home the data” on the primitive data recorders of the day.
Initially developed as a high-speed escort fighter for long-range SAC bombers, the 1,000 mph+ Voodoo was eventually adapted as a high altitude interceptor, as nuclear weapons delivery platform, and as a photographic reconnaissance platform.
I have to believe that the resulting “blended” view of where we came from will be a natural outgrowth of the increasing diversity of U.S. society. For some that will only happen when the current generation of white traditionalists dies off and is replaced. I hope we don’t have to wait that long. Books like this certainly help!
As I’ve always enjoyed detailed stories about challenging engineering and construction projects (atomic bomb, hydroge bomb, skyscrapers, the Brooklyn Bridge, etc.) this book fit my interests like a glove. I just wish we could send McCullough back in time to tell us how the Pyramids were really built!
The lessons of history (telephone, telegraph, FM radio, networks, cable TV, etc.) and how companies with the complicity of government try to shut off competition are incredibly important given current battles to save net neutrality.