The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World
- Publish Date: 2017-03-14
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Sharon Weinberger
Based on exclusive interviews with senior Pentagon officials and previously unseen declassified documents, this is theÂ definitive history of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency--the Pentagon agency that has quietly shaped war and technology for nearly sixty years.
Founded in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnik, the agencyâs original mission was to create âthe unimagined weapons of the future.â Over the decades, DARPA has been responsible for countless inventions and technologies that extend well beyond military technology. Sharon Weinberger gives us a riveting account of DARPAâs successes and failures, its remarkable innovations, and its wild-eyed schemes. We see how the threat of nuclear Armageddon sparked investment in computer networking, leading to the Internet, as well as to a proposal to power a missile-destroying particle beam by draining the Great Lakes. We learn how DARPA was responsible during the Vietnam War for both Agent Orange and the development of the worldâs first armed drones, and how after 9/11 the agency sparked a national controversy over surveillance with its data-mining research. And we see how DARPAâs success with self-driving cars was followed by disappointing contributions to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Weinberger has interviewed more than one hundred former Pentagon officials and scientists involved in DARPAâs projectsâmany of whom have never spoken publicly about their work with the agencyâand pored over countless declassified records from archives around the country, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, and exclusive materials provided by sources. The Imagineers of War is a compelling and groundbreaking history in which science, technology, and politics collide.