- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Zenith Press (April 14, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0760309574
- ISBN-13: 978-0760309575
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,156,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Spyplane: The U-2 History Declassified Hardcover – April 14, 2001
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Furthermore, the majority of the information can be found in greater detail in Jay Miller's History of the Skunk Works, as well as his "X-Planes: X-1 to X-45" which details the development of the Bell X-16, a competing design to the U-2 contract. Furthermore, he draws heavily from Ben Rich's autobiography "Skunk Works." Not to say that Polmar plagerized these previous works, but one would expect a much more impressive offering, giving the wealth of information already available.
Polmar makes an unforgivable number of mistakes regarding dates, designations, and events, which indicates carelessness, if nothing else. Also, one wonders why publication was pushed back nearly five months, indicating perhaps a revision in light of information discovered by other authors. Furthermore, the lack of new and truly interesting illustrations and photographs and the anemic index make this book pale in comparison to those mentioned above.
* How badly Pres. Eisenhower was misled as to the detectability of the various reconnaissance systems CIA and USAF proposed sending over the USSR, and how badly Ike was torn between his desires to use "technical means" to obtain vital intelligence and, at the same time, to avoid provoking the Soviet leadership. His support of the "Corona" spy satellite program through a dozen failed launches becomes very easily understandable.
* The vital role of civilian scientist-consultants in birthing the U-2, a system neither the CIA nor USAF originally had the vision to develop.
* How badly Francis Gary Powers was hung out to dry by the CIA, especially the petty personal reactions of John McCone and John Kennedy.
* Polmar thinks well of "Kelly" Johnson, the Lockheed engineer who designed the semi-successful U-2, and such other splashy failures as the SR-71 and the F-104. I think it is time to reevaluate his reputation.
The worst point of the book is the index, which is only two pages long, badly incomplete and in teenytype. It is partially compensated for by thirty pages of chapter notes. (One correction: Chapter 11, note 11 -- LBJ did not become President on November 11, 1963. That would have been a coup!)
I had been waiting for this book since I first saw the title. It did not disappoint me.