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As a young professor at MIT in the 1920s, Vannevar Bush (1890-1974) did seminal work on analog computing and was a cofounder of Raytheon, whose initial success was based on long-lasting radio tubes. But he is best known for his role in Washington during World War II: as President Roosevelt's advisor,
From Library Journal
FDR's director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II, a gifted mathematician and engineer, a prophet of the Manhattan Project and the Internet, a founder of the Raytheon Company, soul of the modern organization man?Vannevar Bush firmly established and maintained the seminal linchpin between the resources of the civilian scientific community and the needs of an ever-hungry military backed by the largesse of the federal government. Zachary, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, labors extensively to reconstruct the prodigious life of this "patron saint of American science, 'one of the most important men in America,'" in light of the puzzling truth that his subject is virtually forgotten today. Cloyingly praiseful, Zachary uses extensive detail to create an apotheosis of a hero who brought science and the centralized organization to bear on winning the war and establishing the modern public-private partnership. With over 70 pages of end notes, bibliography, abbreviations, and index; recommended for academic and large public libraries.?Robert C. Ballou, Atlanta
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Bush's seminal essay "As We May Think," which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in 1945, may seem quaint today, but not too long ago it was required reading for budding library and information scientists. In it Bush envisioned automated information retrieval and a complex device called the Memex, and for that he has gained a place in history. Zachary is a Wall Street Journal reporter and author of Show-Stopper (1994), an account of Microsoft's efforts to create Windows NT. He has been researching Bush's life for more than 10 years, and his effort has paid off here. Zachary calls Bush "the most politically powerful inventor since Benjamin Franklin." He documents Bush's many inventions and patents and his contributions at MIT and the Carnegie Institution. He details Bush's roles with the National Defense Research Committee and the Office of Scientific Research and Development, where Bush helped create what has become known as the military-industrial complex by heading the research effort that united science with the military and helped win World War II. David Rouse --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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G. Pascal Zachary
G. Pascal Zachary
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Well-written and engaging, with lots of interesting historical tidbits and good insight on the personalities involved.
Glenn H. Reynolds
The writing style is excellent, in that it rarely digresses into narratives of a personal nature, or to provide disclosures of popular culture of the day.
He had a "commitment to excellence and integrity that reinforced his belief in the power of one person to make a difference."
F. R Anscombe
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Vannevar like beaver
By Harvey M. Solomon on July 5, 2000
This is a very well written and entertaining book about a scientific administrator who played a major effort in organizing the technical responses required to anticipate and successfully meet the challenges of WWII. His skillful analysis, technical comprehension and political astuteness not only provided outstanding leadership at the time but shaped the intractions of goverment, industry and the academic community in such a fashion as to remain intact to this time. One comes awawy with an enormous respect for Dr. Bush. He must have been one tough character and difficult to deal with but he got the jobs done. It is a pity that his battles with Admiral Ernest King have, to my knowledge, never been documented. The issues they disagreed about were not trivial and their interactions must have been awesome. I read this book shortly after completing Tycho's Island and the similarity between the two men and the administrative issues they dealt with is both striking and illuminating.
Good men are hard to find and good books about them deserve our attention.