Editor reviews

"Annie Jacobsen...is a great storyteller, making the tantalizing tale of The Pentagon's Brain - from the depths of the Cold War to present day - come alive on every page." (Gerald Posner, author of God's Bankers)
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The definitive history of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, from the author of the New York Times best seller 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 of the organization, New York Times best-selling 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.
©2015 Annie Jacobsen (P)2015 Hachette Audio
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Critic reviews

"A fascinating and unsettling portrait of the secretive US government agency.... Jacobsen walks a fine line in telling the story of the agency and its innovations without coming across as a cheerleader or a critic." ( Publishers Weekly starred review)
"Filled with the intrigue and high stakes of a spy novel, Jacobsen's history of DARPA is as much a fascinating testament to human ingenuity as it is a paean to endless industrial warfare." ( Kirkus Reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Neil Ferguson-Lee on 09-02-18

Detailed but Turgid

I think this could have been shorter but - boy - is it comprehensive?! I'm afraid that the narrator's delivery was rather soporific.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By dfcgts on 30-09-15

Not what I expceted but thats not a bad thing

The author seems to have no love lost for the activities of ARPA and then DARPA from the hydrogen bomb to its work on artificial limbs. Ms Jacbosen tends to see the agency in a more negative than positive light despite the advances that have been made by its efforts. This is not uncommon as any agency that works mostly in secret, or tries to, gets the jaundiced eye more often than not.
Enough opinion on Ms Jacobsen's opinion, the book was well researched and she does a great job telling the story of DARPA despite its secretive nature. If you can get beyond the negative tone it is an informative book on one of the more influential government agency's over the last 50+ years. Good back stories on its more prominent personnel and good detail on some of its creations. Some good side stories s well.
She did a good job narrating. Her voice was paced and her pronunciation was easy to follow. I listened to it while operating equipment with one earbud in and the other listening to the machine. Despite this I had no problem hearing and comprehending the content. While being a conscientious operator, of course.

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28 of 28 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Rod A. Galindo on 29-06-16

Informative, inspiring, and disturbing

Pros: There is a lot of highly detailed history presented here, and Ms. Jacobsen obviously did a LOT of research and interviews for this book. I hope (and also fear) the myriad happenings she suberbly and theatrically summarizes from the 1950s through the present are all correct. Due to the nature of the subject matter, there's really no way to accurately verify that however; most of those who know for sure may not want or even be able to talk. Anyone who's been in the military or associated with it for any length of time knows we are not supposed to talk hyper accurately about things we do and know about for both security and patriotic reasons. Regardless, the book was very enjoyable and inspiring. It was also disturbing, if even half of what Ms. Jacobson outlines here is true. We had a very dangerous last half century. We're likely in for an equally dangerous next half-century, both from threats without as well as what our scientists develop from within.

Cons: Two small things. 1) A couple of very minor items were not exactly right (only reason I know is due to being on the ground in Iraq during Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom), but like I said they were minor and didn't majorly or negatively affect my enjoyment of the book or her credibility regarding the rest of it. 2) Regarding her performance when reading her own book, it's much better than some books I've heard that were read by their own authors, but set your playback speed to 1.10x and you'll enjoy it a little more. :)

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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