Skunk Works



From the development of the U-2 to the Stealth fighter, the never-before-told story behind the high-stakes quest to dominate the skies Skunk Works is the true story of America's most secret & 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 & achievement against fantastic odds. Here are up-close portraits of the maverick band of scientists & engineers who made the Skunk Works so renowned. Filled with telling personal anecdotes & high adventure, with narratives from the CIA & from Air Force pilots who flew the many classified, risky missions, this book is a portrait of the most spectacular aviation triumphs of the 20th century.  (Summary and book cover courtesy of


“Skunk Works” is one of the best books I’ve read.  It’s just as fascinating to me when I read it the 8th time as it was the first.  I believe one of the reasons I ultimately majored in aerospace engineering was due to this book (and perhaps my unhealthy space obsession helped). 

This is a “behind-the-scenes” look at how the United States’ most successful planes were created.  The book explains in simple terms WHY the engineering was so impressive and how a group of motivated men managed to create planes that are unmatched even to this day.  You certainly don’t have to be an engineer to find the book intriguing.  Both engineers and folks who hate math will find this book a fascinating read.  I’d highly recommend this to anyone who has the least interest in American history as I believe the story in “Skunk Works” is one everyone should know.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Anyone with a remote interest in history, defense or the aerospace industry.