Rickover and the Nuclear Navy: The Discipline of Technology

by Francis Duncan

Book cover for Rickover and the Nuclear Navy: The Discipline of Technology

An inside overview of Admiral Hyman Rickover's nuclear propulsion program. The author, an Atomic Energy Commission historian assigned to the admiral's office, spent years observing the program and its controversial leader in action. His insights reflect both his familiarity with the subject and his ability to remain an objective observer. From 1974 to the day Rickover retired in 1982, Francis Duncan had free access to files, documents, and personnel at every level of involvement. As this book clearly shows, he took full advantage of the situation to gain a unigue understanding of exactly how the program operated. The result is a thorough, balanced record of what may well be the navy's and the nation's most important and far-reaching project of the twentieth century. Duncan talked to scores of people who dealt with day-to-day operations, watched men in training and accompanied them to sea, visited civilian and naval installations, and had close contact with Rickover himself. He also interviewed former US presidents, secretaries of the navy, chiefs of naval operations, AEC chairmen, and legislative leaders who kept tabs on the program but were removed from daily activities. While the focus of the book is on the nuclear program not the man, it does provide invaluable information on how Rickover ran the program and the reasons for its success. This definitive study offers a valuable record of a program that continues to play a significant role in the nation's defence. Francis Duncan, a retired historian at the Department of Energy who lives in Bethesda, Maryland is coauthor of "Nuclear Navy, 1946 -1962", and the second volume of a history of the Atomic Energy Commission called "Atomic Shield 1947-1952".

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