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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The history part is correct
I can sum the problem with this book (and the last one) in one reference.
About two-thirds of the way through, when the author is talking about micro- and bio-drones, she relates an event at Lafayette Park, across from the White House. This is not the crux of the book and won’t ruin her point for you. An Islamic leader (I don’t remember the name) was egging the crowd on again then President Bush 2. The rally was being spied upon. And as it turned out, a guy from the same mosque as the protestor, was a known and wanted terrorist, the head of Al Qaeda in the U.S. In fact, the speaker recruited the terrorist leader to the mosque, personally.
Then she jumps in quickly and with great concern to state: Association is not a crime. The trouble maker in the park could be a friend of the terrorist without knowing he was a terrorist. We know she concerned, because the author is also the narrator, so her real emotion came through.
I agree with the point, though not the example. Association is not a crime.
However, when it’s not an America-Hater, but an America defender, she’s not so quick to defend.
In fact, that’s the whole premise, not of just this book, but her Operation Paperclip book, as well. The DARPA guys, like the Paperclip Scientists, are guilty by association. Because they work on weapons, because spend tax-payer money, because they kill bad guys, they are evil…by association.
And that’s hypocrisy.
She complains about the war in Vietnam for hours and all of the attempts to stop Communist expansion in Asia. She forgives the Viet Kong their crimes, because “most didn’t even know what Communism was.” She wasn’t so forgiving about mid-level rocket engineers from Germany, who probably knew nothing about what Nazism was. Nor did she forgive college professors (who should be liberal by default, after all) who were DARPA Janus members. They were doing their duty without a 50,000ft view of the situation or 50-year 20-20 hindsight.
There was no equal condemnations for the Soviets who signed anti-biowarfare treaties in the 70’s and never even slowed their production of Super-Plague and Super-Anthrax.
She even uncovers who the Soviets gave excess quantities of their Bio Weapons of Mass Destruction in the mid-1990s, but the fails to make the connection with that fact and later American actions. Nor does she realize that the reason we were trying to stomp out Communism in Vietnam is because Communists are the kinds of people who would ignore a treaty and make Super Plague.
By they end, she complains about drones, robots, networks, and rats who can’t think for themselves. Fine, you hate America and Western Civilization. That’s your right, but why not just admit that up front?
And while you’re at it, why not point out that the people you agree with most are the real villains of this book. It wasn’t Ike, Nixon, and Reagan who pushed DARPA to kill most efficiently, It was Truman (D) who approved the H-Bomb, LBJ (D) in Vietnam, Clinton (D) who let the Russians distribute their bio-weapons, and Obama (D) directing the robot armies, you despise so much.
The historical facts, like in Paperclip, were accurate, but the one-sided, naïve narrative that forgives all enemies and other liberals gets old about an hour in.
Save your sanity
People buy audiobooks because it's suppose to be an enjoyable experience. Spend freaking money to get someone GOOD to read your audio book. It's that simple
This is the WORST voice and cadence for an audiobook and I can't get past chapter 2. She terrible. Awful. You are warned before you buy