Weinberger, Sharon. The Imagineers of War. New York: Vintage Books, 2017. ISBN 978-0-8041-6972-1.
Since its founding in 1958, as a reaction to the perceived humiliation of the United States by the Soviet launch of Sputnik, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which over the years has dropped and restored “Defense” on several occasions, being sometimes known as ARPA, has been the central research organisation for the U.S. military, working independently of the military services, whose rivalry was considered one of the reasons for the slow progress in development of missile and space technology. Originally seen as a “space agency”, it quickly saw that function assumed by NASA. DARPA, largely unconstrained by Pentagon bureaucracy and scientific peer-review, has often been “out there”, pushing speculative technologies on (and sometimes beyond) the cutting edge of the possible.

This book chronicles the world-changing successes of DARPA, including ARPANET, which developed and demonstrated the technologies upon which today's Internet is built, unmanned vehicles, missile defense, and smart weapons. DARPA has also had its share of failures, the inevitable result of trying to push technologies beyond the state of the art. On occasion, DARPA has veered into territory usually associated with mad scientists and Bond villains, such as a scheme to power a particle beam ballistic missile defense system by draining the Great Lakes in fifteen minutes into caverns excavated by nuclear bombs to power generators. This is a fascinating look behind the curtain of what seems almost impossible: a government agency which has, for more than six decades, remained agile in pioneering speculative technologies on a modest budget.

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