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Customer Review

on November 7, 2001
I picked this book up after having read Don DeLillo's Libra, which pictures the protagonist, Lee Harvey Oswald, at a USAF base in Atsugi, Japan during his military service. The U2 spy plane that was based there definitely adds to the aura of mystery and fatefulness that pervades the whole of DeLillo's excellent novel and aroused my curiosity. Rich's account of the Skunk Works' history entirely satisfied my interest in this mysterious airplane. The book can be read in different ways: as a thrilling account of the Cold War, a captivating portrait of the complex and brilliant designer Kelly Johnson, and as a treatise on corporate innovation, cutting edge management methods and industry-government relationships. I found the book to be exceedingly well written, with just the right dosage of technical details, humour, personal anecdotes and historical drama. The integration of 'other voices' from test pilots, high level policy makers and air force top brass complements Rich's narrative nicely and helps in modulating the sometimes breathless pace. An excellent book. I enjoyed it a lot.
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