Brotherhood of Arms
Given the enormous military expenditures of the United States, citizens should better understand the defense industry. This readable, lucid, well-organized book provides a splendid view of General Dynamics, the country’s most far-reaching and controversial contractor.
The book is well-documented, indexed, and has a useful chronology and a glossary to explain acronyms such as JCMPO, TERCOM, or GOCO.
Three chapters trace the history of Electric Boat and Convair Aircraft, the major components of the company, and show how the diverse parts were merged into the whole that is General Dynamics. The bulk of the volume deals with current weapon programs--tanks, aircraft, and submarines--and the cost-overrun problems that have surrounded them. The F-16 fighter, M-1 tank, and the cruise missile are clearly explained to the nonspecialist reader, both in terms of their technology and the politico-military decisions that created them.
Nicely covered is the controversy over P. Takis Veliotis, who headed the Electric Boat Division during the growing problems with the nuclear attack submarines. The battles that he and other General Dynamics officials waged with Congress and the navy were monumental. These conflicts were widely reported on the CBS network’s “60 Minutes” and in the newsmagazines, but Goodwin covers the subject with much greater understanding and depth.
While Goodwin is no great fan of Admiral Hyman Rickover, he...
(The entire section is 317 words.)
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