The Imagineers of War

Author: Sharon Weinberger
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 9780385351799
Release Date: 2017
Genre: HISTORY

Founded in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnik, the agency's original mission was to create "the unimagined weapons of the future." Over the decades, DARPA has been responsible for countless inventions and technologies that extend well beyond military technology. Sharon Weinberger gives us a riveting account of DARPA's successes and failures, its remarkable innovations, and its wild-eyed schemes. We see how the threat of nuclear Armageddon sparked investment in computer networking, leading to the Internet, as well as to a proposal to power a missile-destroying particle beam by draining the Great Lakes. We learn how DARPA was responsible during the Vietnam War for both Agent Orange and the development of the world's first armed drones, and how after 9/11 the agency sparked a national controversy over surveillance with its data-mining research. And we see how DARPA's success with self-driving cars was followed by disappointing contributions to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

The Imagineers of War

Author: Sharon Weinberger
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780385351805
Release Date: 2017-03-14
Genre: History

The definitive history of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon agency that has quietly shaped war and technology for nearly sixty years. Founded in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnik, the agency’s original mission was to create “the unimagined weapons of the future.” Over the decades, DARPA has been responsible for countless inventions and technologies that extend well beyond military technology. Sharon Weinberger gives us a riveting account of DARPA’s successes and failures, its remarkable innovations, and its wild-eyed schemes. We see how the threat of nuclear Armageddon sparked investment in computer networking, leading to the Internet, as well as to a proposal to power a missile-destroying particle beam by draining the Great Lakes. We learn how DARPA was responsible during the Vietnam War for both Agent Orange and the development of the world’s first armed drones, and how after 9/11 the agency sparked a national controversy over surveillance with its data-mining research. And we see how DARPA’s success with self-driving cars was followed by disappointing contributions to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Weinberger has interviewed more than one hundred former Pentagon officials and scientists involved in DARPA’s projects—many of whom have never spoken publicly about their work with the agency—and pored over countless declassified records from archives around the country, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, and exclusive materials provided by sources. The Imagineers of War is a compelling and groundbreaking history in which science, technology, and politics collide.

Imaginary Weapons

Author: Sharon Weinberger
Publisher:
ISBN: 156858329X
Release Date: 2007
Genre: Science

The story of how a lunatic fringe science project became favored by Rumsfeld’s Pentagon.

A Nuclear Family Vacation

Author: Nathan Hodge
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 9781608196692
Release Date: 2011-02-15
Genre: History

In A Nuclear Family Vacation, husband-and-wife journalists Nathan Hodge and Sharon Weinberger hit the road to explore the secretive world of nuclear weaponry. Weaving together first-class travel writing and crack investigative journalism, the pair pursues both adventures and answers: Why are nuclear weapons still on hair-trigger alert? Is there really such a thing as a suitcase nuke? And which nuclear power plants are most likely to be covers for weapons programs? Their itinerary takes them from the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan to the U.S.'s own top-secret "Site R," opening a unique perspective on the world's vast nuclear infrastructure and the international politics at play behind it.

The Pentagon s Brain

Author: Annie Jacobsen
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 9780316371650
Release Date: 2015-09-15
Genre: History

NATIONAL BESTSELLER A Pulitzer Prize Finalist and the definitive history of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, from the author of the New York Times bestseller Area 51 No one has ever written the history of the Defense Department's most secret, most powerful, and most controversial military science R&D agency. In the first-ever history about the organization, New York Times bestselling author Annie Jacobsen draws on inside sources, exclusive interviews, private documents, and declassified memos to paint a picture of DARPA, or "the Pentagon's brain," from its Cold War inception in 1958 to the present. This is the book on DARPA--a compelling narrative about this clandestine intersection of science and the American military and the often frightening results.

The Department of Mad Scientists

Author: Michael Belfiore
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780062000651
Release Date: 2010-11-02
Genre: Science

America's greatest idea factory isn't Bell Labs, Silicon Valley, or MIT's Media Lab. It's the secretive, Pentagon-led agency known as DARPA. Founded by Eisenhower in response to Sputnik and the Soviet space program, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) mixes military officers with sneaker-wearing scientists, seeking paradigm-shifting ideas in varied fields—from energy, robotics, and rockets to doctorless operating rooms, driverless cars, and planes that can fly halfway around the world in just a few hours. Michael Belfiore was given unpre-cedented access to write this first-ever popular account of DARPA. The Department of Mad Scientists contains material that has barely been reported in the general media—in fact, only 2 percent of Americans know much of anything about the agency. But as this fascinating read demonstrates, DARPA isn't so much frightening as it is inspiring—it is our future.

Raven Rock

Author: Garrett M. Graff
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781476735450
Release Date: 2017-05-02
Genre: History

The shocking truth about the government’s secret plans to survive a catastrophic attack on US soil—even if the rest of us die—is “a frightening eye-opener” (Kirkus Reviews) that spans the dawn of the nuclear age to today, and "contains everything one could possibly want to know" (The Wall Street Journal). Every day in Washington, DC, the blue-and-gold first Helicopter Squadron, codenamed “MUSSEL,” flies over the Potomac River. As obvious as the Presidential motorcade, most people assume the squadron is a travel perk for VIPs. They’re only half right: while the helicopters do provide transport, the unit exists to evacuate high-ranking officials in the event of a terrorist or nuclear attack on the capital. In the event of an attack, select officials would be whisked by helicopters to a ring of secret bunkers around Washington, even as ordinary citizens were left to fend for themselves. “In exploring the incredible lengths (and depths) that successive administrations have gone to in planning for the aftermath of a nuclear assault, Graff deftly weaves a tale of secrecy and paranoia” (The New York Times Book Review) with details "that read like they've been ripped from the pages of a pulp spy novel" (Vice). For more than sixty years, the US government has been developing secret Doomsday strategies to protect itself, and the multibillion-dollar Continuity of Government (COG) program takes numerous forms—from its potential to evacuate the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia to the plans to launch nuclear missiles from a Boeing-747 jet flying high over Nebraska. Garrett M. Graff sheds light on the inner workings of the 650-acre compound, called Raven Rock, just miles from Camp David, as well as dozens of other bunkers the government built for its top leaders during the Cold War, from the White House lawn to Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado to Palm Beach, Florida, and the secret plans that would have kicked in after a Cold War nuclear attack to round up foreigners and dissidents and nationalize industries. Equal parts a presidential, military, and cultural history, Raven Rock tracks the evolution of the government plan and the threats of global war from the dawn of the nuclear era through the War on Terror.

Spy Schools

Author: Daniel Golden
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
ISBN: 9781627796361
Release Date: 2017-10-10
Genre: Political Science

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Daniel Golden exposes how academia has become the center of foreign and domestic espionage—and why that is troubling news for our nation's security. Grounded in extensive research and reporting, Spy Schools reveals how academia has emerged as a frontline in the global spy game. In a knowledge-based economy, universities are repositories of valuable information and research, where brilliant minds of all nationalities mingle freely with few questions asked. Intelligence agencies have always recruited bright undergraduates, but now, in an era when espionage increasingly requires specialized scientific or technological expertise, they’re wooing higher-level academics—not just as analysts, but also for clandestine operations. Golden uncovers unbelievable campus activity—from the CIA placing agents undercover in Harvard Kennedy School classes and staging academic conferences to persuade Iranian nuclear scientists to defect, to a Chinese graduate student at Duke University stealing research for an invisibility cloak, and a tiny liberal arts college in Marietta, Ohio, exchanging faculty with China’s most notorious spy school. He shows how relentlessly and ruthlessly this practice has permeated our culture, not just inside the US, but internationally as well. Golden, acclaimed author of The Price of Admission, blows the lid off this secret culture of espionage and its consequences at home and abroad.

Cassandra in Oz

Author: Conrad C. Crane
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
ISBN: 9781682470206
Release Date: 2016-09-15
Genre: History

This book is a unique combination of intellectual history, personal memoir, and military theory. When Conrad Crane retired from twenty six years of active duty to become a research professor at the Army War College, he never expected to become a modern Cassandra, fated to tell truth to power without being heeded. As he watched the world change after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, he warned the Army that it was not prepared for “Phase IV” stability operations, counterinsurgency, and eventually the reconstruction of Iraq. Eventually his work attracted the attention of Lieutenant General David Petraeus, who along with his Marine counterpart James Mattis, was launching a broad program to make the American military a learning organization better prepared for modern war. Crane soon found himself in charge of a team of Soldiers, Marines, and civilian academics with the mission to create the very counterinsurgency doctrine he had pleaded for. For the next year he wrestled with conflicting ideas, complex personalities, and bureaucratic inertia to create the groundbreaking Field Manual 3-24/ Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 3-33.5 Counterinsurgency. The process was long and tortuous, and much more complicated than the way it has been characterized so far in other narratives. The end result was a unique blend of traditional and modern theory, tempered by hard lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan. Its principles and paradoxes of counterinsurgency, focus on legitimacy, and concepts of operational campaign design have had immense influence on US and NATO doctrine. The new doctrine was not perfect, and had been rushed through production in record time, but the guidance it provided would be an essential element in the Surge in Iraq that secured breathing space for the nascent Iraqi government to solve its political differences. Crane found that out when General Petraeus asked him to come observe the Surge himself in late 2007. Traveling all around that embattled nation, Crane watched the greatest counterinsurgency force the world had ever seen adapting to the exigencies of modern counterinsurgency is a very complex environment. He describes in great detail the hard work of dedicated Soldiers, Marines, and civilians that were creating a mosaic peace out of a mosaic war, in places as disparate as Baghdad, Anbar Province, and the detention facilities at Bucca. There were still problem areas, such as in the British zone and Diyala Province, but the conflict was definitely trending in the right direction. Crane closes his book with an account of what went wrong in Iraq, as the mosaic peace unraveled with the Americandeparture, and also how the new counterinsurgency doctrine was never properly resourced or applied in Afghanistan. His final chapter covers the lessons be believes should be gleaned from the past decade and a half of global war. There have been many critics of the new doctrine, and Crane recounts their arguments and concedes that promises of counterinsurgency were oversold. But much of what has been labeled as counterinsurgency is really just modern warfare, and while the United States is understandably reluctant to engage in further irregular conflicts and nation building, they remain a growth industry in the rest of the world. The United States government, military and civilian agencies, must be prepared to do better next time. And Cassandra says, there will be a next time.

The General Vs the President

Author: H. W. Brands
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 9781101912171
Release Date: 2017-10-03
Genre: History

At the height of the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman committed a gaffe that sent shock waves around the world, when he suggested that General Douglas MacArthur, the willful, fearless, and highly decorated commander of the American and U.N. forces, had his finger on the nuclear trigger. At a time when the Soviets, too, had the bomb, the specter of a catastrophic third World War lurked menacingly close on the horizon. A correction quickly followed, but the damage was done; two visions for America's path forward were clearly in opposition, and one man would have to make way. The contest of wills between these two titanic characters unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of a faraway war and terrors conjured at home by Joseph McCarthy. From the drama of Stalin's blockade of West Berlin to the daring landing of MacArthur's forces at Inchon to the shocking entrance of China into the war, The General and the President vividly evokes the making of a new American era.

This Is Improbable

Author: Marc Abrahams
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 9781780741147
Release Date: 2012-09-01
Genre: Science

Often, thinking seriously about outlandish problems is the only way to make progress in science. The rest of the time, it’s hilarious. Marc Abrahams, the founder of the famous Ig Nobel prizes, offers an addictive, wryly funny exposé of the oddest, most imaginative, and just plain improbable research from around the world. He looks into why books on ethics are more likely to get stolen and how randomly promoting people (rather than doing it based on merit) improves their work. He also shares the findings of weird experiments, from whether Vegas lap dancers earn higher tips at a certain time of the month to how mice were once outfitted with parachutes to find a better way to murder tree snakes. Abrahams’ tour through this strangest of strange science will first make you laugh, and then make you think about your world in a completely new way. Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel prize, offers an addictive, wryly funny exposé of the most improbable research from around the world, from why one psychologist insisted it was better to promote people randomly to whether Vegas lap dancers get higher tips at certain times of the month. As you travel from the bizarre to the profound, Abrahams will make you laugh, and then think about the world in a completely new way.

Simply Clean

Author: Becky Rapinchuk
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781501158797
Release Date: 2017-03-21
Genre: House & Home

From the cleaning and homekeeping expert and creator of the wildly popular Clean Mama blog comes a simple and accessible cleaning guide with a proven step-by-step schedule for tidying a home in just ten minutes a day. Becky Rapinchuk, the “Clean Mama,” understands that many people don’t have the time, organizational skills, or homemaking habits to maintain a constantly clean and decluttered living space. In Simply Clean, Becky will help you effortlessly keep a tidy house and build habits to become a neat person—no matter how messy you may naturally be! Simply Clean features: -A 7-Day Simply Clean Kick Start and the 28-Day Simply Clean Challenge, to turn cleaning from a chore into an effortless habit -A designated catch-up day, so you’ll never have to worry or stress when life gets in the way of cleaning -Step-by-step tutorials for speed cleaning hard-to-clean spaces -Dozens of recipes for organic, environmentally conscious cleaning supplies -Many of Becky’s famous checklists, schedules, and habit trackers No matter how big your home or busy your schedule, the Simply Clean method can be customized to fit your life. It really is possible—in just ten minutes a day, you can create a cleaner, happier home.

Unclear Physics

Author: Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9781501706455
Release Date: 2016-09-01
Genre: History

Many authoritarian leaders want nuclear weapons, but few manage to acquire them. Autocrats seeking nuclear weapons fail in different ways and to varying degrees—Iraq almost managed it; Libya did not come close. In Unclear Physics, Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer compares the two failed nuclear weapons programs, showing that state capacity played a crucial role in the trajectory and outcomes of both projects. Braut-Hegghammer draws on a rich set of new primary sources, collected during years of research in archives, fieldwork across the Middle East, and interviews with scientists and decision makers from both states. She gained access to documents and individuals that no other researcher has been able to consult. Her book tells the story of the Iraqi and Libyan programs from their origins in the late 1950s and 1960s until their dismantling. This book reveals contemporary perspectives from scientists and regime officials on the opportunities and challenges facing each project. Many of the findings challenge the conventional wisdom about clandestine weapons programs in closed authoritarian states and their prospects of success or failure. Braut-Hegghammer suggests that scholars and analysts ought to pay closer attention to how state capacity affects nuclear weapons programs in other authoritarian regimes, both in terms of questioning the actual control these leaders have over their nuclear weapons programs and the capability of their scientists to solve complex technical challenges.

Sunsets Over Charleston

Author: W. Thomas McQueeney
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
ISBN: 9781614237808
Release Date: 2012-11-20
Genre: History

Charleston is among the world's most cherished destinations, and its history is told and retold to the mass of travelers in search of the storied, classical southern ambiance touted in a bygone age. The people of Charleston have witnessed this awakening from within, and author W. Thomas McQueeney presents a glimpse of that shared experience through conversational interviews with some of the city's more notable inhabitants. Explore the area's recent past and present by reading about just some of this city's more interesting personalities who were born in or drawn to a place America has come to love. Each is testament to why the Holy City has become one of the most livable and enjoyable places to be.