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Publisher's Summary

From the development of the U-2 to the Stealth fighter, the never-before-told story behind America's high-stakes quest to dominate the skies. Skunk Works is the true story of America's most secret and successful aerospace operation. As recounted by Ben Rich, the operation's brilliant boss for nearly two decades, the chronicle of Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works is a drama of Cold War confrontations and Gulf War air combat, of extraordinary feats of engineering and human achievement against fantastic odds. Here are up-close portraits of the maverick band of scientists and engineers who made the Skunk Works so renowned. Filled with telling personal anecdotes and high adventure, with narratives from the CIA and from air force pilots who flew the many classified, risky missions, this book is a riveting portrait of the most spectacular aviation triumphs of the 20th century.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2013 Ben R. Rich (P)2015 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nar
  • Hagerstown, MD
  • 09-19-15

Nice work for a techie or aero interested

Overall liked it a lot. Performance was good. The narrator tried to alert you when the chapter or passage was someone else other than the principal contributor but it would be more helpful if those passages were voiced by a different voice actor.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 08-04-15

Awesome

Skunk Works is a personal memoir written by the chief engineer of Lockheed’s Skunk Works Ben Rick. The book tells of his first experiences at Lockheed during the 1950s; it ranges all the way past the First Gulf War.

The author describes the varied events that occurred and projects that were undertaken at Lockheed’s aerospace development wing. The first four chapters are about building the first stealth bomber. Rich tells how the name Skunk Works came about. He describes the U2 project and Blackbird.

Rich also tells about his co-workers and particularly his boss the genius Kelly Johnson. He also discusses his colleagues from other agencies such as the Air Force and the CIA. Rich covers many of the technical details and challenges that the Skunk Works’ team faced overcoming engineering problems as well as the difficulties of funding and politics. Rich also covers his personal life including the death of his wife. I enjoyed the comment from various fellow workers from Lockheed, Air Force offices and the various Secretary of Defenses and other political appointees.

This is a great book as it describes the almost impossible challenges the engineers rose to solve. The book is well written and moves right along. This is a book you will want to keep to use as a reference book. Pete Larkin narrated the book.

31 of 35 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing look behind the most amazing aircraft

A personal, no-BS account of the drama and politics behind these high budget, cutting edge technology projects. Great balance between the ins and outs and human sides of developing world class aircraft, plus an interesting treatment of the aircraft design legend Clarence Kelly Johnson. Multiple contributors make it a little tough to follow who is talking but overall it is great to hear from pilots and other team members. The reader clearly had a cold while recording the last few chapters but still a solid performance. Excellent listen for Cold War, technology, aircraft, or engineering enthusiasts especially as well as the average reader.




6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome book.

Thank you for all the hard work. Who knows what would have happened without them

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great listen

A little hard to keep up with who the author is speaking for but great book and story on skunkworks

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Skunk Works

Very interesting coverage of the history of the skunk works and the people behind it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • Palo Alto, CA, United States
  • 08-14-15

Engrossing tale of the skunk works

What made the experience of listening to Skunk Works the most enjoyable?

The details about the SR71 and U2 aircraft

If you could give Skunk Works a new subtitle, what would it be?

Skunk works up to 1990

Any additional comments?

Too bad the story ends about 20 years in the past

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good, but an hour too long

A fun book, but the hour-long exposition on the value of defense spending and the skunk works development model was a boring and pointless ending.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing book

Amazing book for anyone who likes cold war stories or aviation story. An inside look on the development of the most amazing airplanes ever developed.
The audio book could have benefit from multiple readers, sometimes it's hard to keep track on whom is telling a specific story as everyone is interpreted by the same reader. The book does not follow a linear storyline, it goes back and forth on time, so you need to pay attention to not get lost

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Must Read or listen book.

Every avation fan should read or listen to this book. Stories about production of U2,Blackbird and stealth fighter are an eye opener....

1 of 1 people found this review helpful