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In his farewell address, President Dwight Eisenhower warned against the dangers posed by the "military-industrial-university complex." His warning became a rallying cry of liberal dissent and, for some, this partnership became the most ominous aspect of what came to be known as the "establishment."
Rescuing Prometheus presents a radically different view of the alliances behind the large-scale technological and scientific undertakings of the post-World War II era. In his analysis of the accomplishments of this coalition, Thomas Hughes shows how aerospace, computing, and communications were revolutionized. He explains how the design and development of four projects in particular led to a new understanding of technology: The SAGE air-defense project fostered the first interactive, digital computer designed for information processing; the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile project inspired a new form of management known as systems engineering; the Boston Central ArteryTunnel Project addressed the complex relations between industry, science, and grassroots community interests; and ARPANET, the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency, would not only create the information superhighway but also develop the collegial, meritocratic management style now prevalent in the computer software industry.
PRAISE FOR Rescuing Prometheus:
"The four case studies move quickly, and Hughes skillfully explains how lessons learned in one were applied to the next. He is at his best in providing texture by describing the backgrounds and personalities of some of the key figures -- like Jay W. Forrester, who led M.I.T.'s team to create a modern computer for missile defense; Gen. Bernard Schriever, the Air Force combat pilot and engineer who was a power behind the Atlas project; and Frederick Salvucci, an engineer and savvy mediator among special political interest groups in Boston. In all four projects he deftly describes both the political setting and the internal politics of the projects. His enthusiasm for the era is contagious."
--New York Times Book Review