The Imagineers of War

Author: Sharon Weinberger
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 9780385351799
Release Date: 2017
Genre: Military art and science

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.

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: 1560258497
Release Date: 2006
Genre: History

Traces the work of a team of fringe scientists who are working on "isomer weapon" technology--a grenade-sized bomb capable of atomic-level destruction--in an account that discusses the exorbitant amounts of money allocated by the Pentagon for its development and the scientific battle being waged between military officials and top nuclear scientists.

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.

Raven Rock

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

The eye-opening true story of the government’s secret plans to survive and rebuild after a catastrophic attack on US soil—a narrative that spans from the dawn of the nuclear age to today. Every day in Washington, DC, the blue-and-gold 1st Helicopter Squadron, code-named “MUSSEL,” flies over the Potomac River. As obvious as the presidential motorcade, the squadron is assumed by most people to be 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 are left to fend for themselves. For sixty years, the US government has been developing secret Doomsday plans to protect itself, and the multibillion-dollar Continuity of Government (COG) program takes numerous forms—from its plans to evacuate the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia and our most precious documents from the National Archives to the plans to launch nuclear missiles from a Boeing 747 jet flying high over Nebraska. In Raven Rock, Garrett 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 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 political history, Raven Rock tracks the evolution of the government’s plans and the threats of global war from the dawn of the nuclear era through the present day. Relying upon thousands of pages of once-classified documents, as well as original interviews and visits to former and current COG facilities, Graff brings readers through the back channels of government to understand exactly what is at stake if our nation is attacked, and how we’re prepared to respond if it is.

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.

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.

Last Hope Island

Author: Lynne Olson
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9780812997361
Release Date: 2017-04-25
Genre: History

A groundbreaking account of how Britain became the base of operations for the exiled leaders of Europe in their desperate struggle to reclaim their continent from Hitler, from the New York Times bestselling author of Citizens of London and Those Angry Days When the Nazi blitzkrieg rolled over continental Europe in the early days of World War II, the city of London became a refuge for the governments and armed forces of six occupied nations who escaped there to continue the fight. So, too, did General Charles de Gaulle, the self-appointed representative of free France. As the only European democracy still holding out against Hitler, Britain became known to occupied countries as “Last Hope Island.” Getting there, one young emigré declared, was “like getting to heaven.” In this epic, character-driven narrative, acclaimed historian Lynne Olson takes us back to those perilous days when the British and their European guests joined forces to combat the mightiest military force in history. Here we meet the courageous King Haakon of Norway, whose distinctive “H7” monogram became a symbol of his country’s resistance to Nazi rule, and his fiery Dutch counterpart, Queen Wilhelmina, whose antifascist radio broadcasts rallied the spirits of her defeated people. Here, too, is the Earl of Suffolk, a swashbuckling British aristocrat whose rescue of two nuclear physicists from France helped make the Manhattan Project possible. Last Hope Island also recounts some of the Europeans’ heretofore unsung exploits that helped tilt the balance against the Axis: the crucial efforts of Polish pilots during the Battle of Britain; the vital role played by French and Polish code breakers in cracking the Germans’ reputedly indecipherable Enigma code; and the flood of top-secret intelligence about German operations—gathered by spies throughout occupied Europe—that helped ensure the success of the 1944 Allied invasion. A fascinating companion to Citizens of London, Olson’s bestselling chronicle of the Anglo-American alliance, Last Hope Island recalls with vivid humanity that brief moment in time when the peoples of Europe stood together in their effort to roll back the tide of conquest and restore order to a broken continent. Advance praise for Last Hope Island “A rip-roaring saga of hairbreadth escape, espionage, and resistance during World War II, Lynne Olson’s Last Hope Island salvages the forgotten stories of a collection of heroic souls from seven countries overrun by Hitler who find refuge in Churchill’s London and then seek payback in ways large and small. In thrilling fashion, Olson shows us that hell hath no fury like a small country scorned.”—Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake “Lynne Olson is a master storyteller, and she brings her great gifts to this riveting narrative of the resistance to Hitler’s war machine. You will be thrilled and moved—and enraged, saddened, and shocked—by the courage and steadfastness, human waste and stupidity, carelessness and nobility, of an epic struggle. Last Hope Island is a smashing good tale.”—Evan Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of Being Nixon “A powerful and surprising account of how figures from Nazi-occupied Europe found Great Britain an essential shield and sword in the struggle against Hitler. This is a wonderful work of history, told in Olson’s trademark style.”—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion

The Jasons

Author: Ann Finkbeiner
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101201282
Release Date: 2006-04-06
Genre: History

The Jasons are a well-guarded group of world-class scientists, briefly outed in the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, who have been meeting every summer since 1960 to tackle classified problems that the Defense Department cannot solve. Among many stunning innovations, they helped invent our electronic battlefield and Star Wars missile defense technology, and are now looking into ways to improve our intelligence gathering. Recounting the unknown story of these brilliant, stubbornly independent thinkers, Ann Finkbeiner takes advantage of her unprecedented access to this elite group to explore the uncertain bargains between science and politics. It is a story older than Faust and as timely as tomorrow’s headlines.

Striking Power

Author: Jeremy Rabkin
Publisher: Encounter Books
ISBN: 9781594038884
Release Date: 2017-09-12
Genre: Political Science

Threats to international peace and security include the proliferation of weapons of mass destructions, rogue nations, and international terrorism. The United States must respond to these challenges to its national security and to world stability by embracing new military technologies such as drones, autonomous robots, and cyber weapons. These weapons can provide more precise, less destructive means to coerce opponents to stop WMD proliferation, clamp down on terrorism, or end humanitarian disasters. Efforts to constrain new military technologies are not only doomed, but dangerous. Most weapons in themselves are not good or evil; their morality turns on the motives and purposes for the war itself. These new weapons can send a strong message without cause death or severe personal injury, and as a result can make war less, rather than more, destructive.

The Biology of Doom

Author: Ed Regis
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 080505765X
Release Date: 2000-10-01
Genre: History

From anthrax to botulism, from smallpox to Ebola, the threat of biological destruction is rapidly overtaking our collective fear of atomic weaponry. This riveting narrative traces America's own covert biological weapons program from its origins in World War II to its abrupt cancellation in 1969. In light of America's increasing surveillance and condemnation of foreign biological weapons programs, this exposé of America's own dangerous Cold War secret is both fascinating and shocking. The project, at its peak, employed 5,000 people and tested pathogens on 2,000 live human volunteers; conducted open-air tests on American soil; sprayed our cities with bacterial aerosols; and stockpiled millions of bacterial bombs for instant deployment. Yet, surprisingly, almost nothing has been published about this project until now. This is the first book to expose the true story of America's secret program to create biological weapons of mass destruction.

Mercies in Disguise

Author: Gina Kolata
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781250123992
Release Date: 2017-03-21
Genre: Medical

"[Kolata] is a gifted storyteller. Her account of the Baxleys... is both engrossing and distressing... Kolata's book raises crucial questions about knowledge that can be both vital and fatal, both pallative and dangerous." —Andrew Solomon, The New York Review of Books New York Times science reporter Gina Kolata follows a family through genetic illness and one courageous daughter who decides her fate shall no longer be decided by a genetic flaw. The phone rings. The doctor from California is on the line. “Are you ready Amanda?” The two people Amanda Baxley loves the most had begged her not to be tested—at least, not now. But she had to find out. If your family carried a mutated gene that foretold a brutal illness and you were offered the chance to find out if you’d inherited it, would you do it? Would you walk toward the problem, bravely accepting whatever answer came your way? Or would you avoid the potential bad news as long as possible? In Mercies in Disguise, acclaimed New York Times science reporter and bestselling author Gina Kolata tells the story of the Baxleys, an almost archetypal family in a small town in South Carolina. A proud and determined clan, many of them doctors, they are struck one by one with an inscrutable illness. They finally discover the cause of the disease after a remarkable sequence of events that many saw as providential. Meanwhile, science, progressing for a half a century along a parallel track, had handed the Baxleys a resolution—not a cure, but a blood test that would reveal who had the gene for the disease and who did not. And science would offer another dilemma—fertility specialists had created a way to spare the children through an expensive process. A work of narrative nonfiction, Mercies in Disguise is the story of a family that took matters into its own hands when the medical world abandoned them. It’s a story of a family that had to deal with unspeakable tragedy and yet did not allow it to tear them apart. And it is the story of a young woman—Amanda Baxley—who faced the future head on, determined to find a way to disrupt her family’s destiny.

Wonders Beyond Numbers

Author: Johnny Ball
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 9781472939968
Release Date: 2017-10-05
Genre: Mathematics

In this book, Johnny Ball tells one of the most important stories in world history – the story of mathematics. By introducing us to the major characters and leading us through many historical twists and turns, Johnny slowly unravels the tale of how humanity built up a knowledge and understanding of shapes, numbers and patterns from ancient times, a story that leads directly to the technological wonderland we live in today. As Galileo said, 'Everything in the universe is written in the language of mathematics', and Wonders Beyond Numbers is your guide to this language. Mathematics is only one part of this rich and varied tale; we meet many fascinating personalities along the way, such as a mathematician who everyone has heard of but who may not have existed; a Greek philosopher who made so many mistakes that many wanted his books destroyed; a mathematical artist who built the largest masonry dome on earth, which builders had previously declared impossible; a world-renowned painter who discovered mathematics and decided he could no longer stand the sight of a brush; and a philosopher who lost his head, but only after he had died. Enriched with tales of colourful personalities and remarkable discoveries, there is also plenty of mathematics for keen readers to get stuck into. Written in Johnny Ball's characteristically light-hearted and engaging style, this book is packed with historical insight and mathematical marvels; join Johnny and uncover the wonders found beyond the numbers.

The Road Not Taken Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam

Author: Max Boot
Publisher: Liveright Publishing
ISBN: 9780871409430
Release Date: 2018-01-09
Genre: History

In chronicling the adventurous life of legendary CIA operative Edward Lansdale, The Road Not Taken definitively reframes our understanding of the Vietnam War. In this epic biography of Edward Lansdale (1908– 1987), the man said to be the fictional model for Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, best-selling historian Max Boot demonstrates how Lansdale pioneered a “hearts and mind” diplomacy, first in the Philippines, then in Vietnam. It was a visionary policy that, as Boot reveals, was ultimately crushed by America’s giant military bureaucracy, steered by elitist generals and blueblood diplomats who favored troop build-ups and napalm bombs over winning the trust of the people. Through dozens of interviews and access to neverbefore-seen documents—including long-hidden love letters—Boot recasts this cautionary American story, tracing the bold rise and the crashing fall of the roguish “T. E. Lawrence of Asia” from the battle of Dien Bien Phu to the humiliating American evacuation in 1975. Bringing a tragic complexity to this so-called “ugly American,” this “engrossing biography” (Karl Marlantes) rescues Lansdale from historical ignominy and suggests that Vietnam could have been different had we only listened. With reverberations that continue to play out in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Road Not Taken is a biography of profound historical consequence.

Unshackling America

Author: Willard Sterne Randall
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781250111845
Release Date: 2017-06-27
Genre: History

Unshackling America challenges the persistent fallacy that Americans fought two separate wars of independence. Williard Sterne Randall documents an unremitting fifty-year-long struggle for economic independence from Britain overlapping two armed conflicts linked by an unacknowledged global struggle. Throughout this perilous period, the struggle was all about free trade. Neither Jefferson nor any other Founding Father could divine that the Revolutionary Period of 1763 to 1783 had concluded only one part, the first phase of their ordeal. The Treaty of Paris of 1783 at the end of the Revolutionary War halted overt combat but had achieved only partial political autonomy from Britain. By not guaranteeing American economic independence and agency, Britain continued to deny American sovereignty. Randall details the fifty years and persistent attempts by the British to control American trade waters, but he also shows how, despite the outrageous restrictions, the United States asserted the doctrine of neutral rights and developed the world’s second largest merchant fleet as it absorbed the French Caribbean trade. American ships carrying trade increased five-fold between 1790 and 1800, its tonnage nearly doubling again between 1800 and 1812, ultimately making the United States the world’s largest independent maritime power.