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Addictive reading indeed
am 26. Januar 2000
Even if the authors did get a fact or two wrong (the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter was NOT America's first supersonic jet, as the book erroneously states about 3 times. The F-86 and F-100 were both supersonic and preceded the F-104), and even though Leo Janos' touch was perhaps a bit too evident here and there (darned near everybody in the book talks in the vernacular of Chuck Yeager -- or was that Janos all along? -- with perhaps a few too many "goddams" thrown in for effect) the book is a great read.
It abruptly yanks the alluring veil of secrecy off of the Skunk Works and shows you the basic, raw underbelly of what it took to design, build, fly and sell the most advanced aircraft the world has yet seen.
Unfortunately, as a definitive document on the Skunk Works' achievements and historical implications of their aircraft, the book is but a tease. The story of the amazing SR-71 alone is worthy of a book-length treatment. But as a preface, "Skunk Works" is a great lead-in to other relevant books such as:
"Operation Overflight", by Francis Gary Powers with Curt Gentry; "Mayday: Eisenhower, Khrushchev, and the U-2 Affair", by Michael R. Beschloss; "Sled Driver: Flying the World's Fastest Jet", by Brian Shul (SR-71 pilot)