The Rickover Effect: How One Man Made a Difference

Theodore Rockwell, Author, James D. Watkins, Foreword by
Theodore Rockwell, Author, James D. Watkins, Foreword by US Naval Institute Press $32.95 (411p) ISBN 978-1-55750-702-0
Paperback - 411 pages - 978-0-471-12296-8
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Rockwell, Rickover's former technical director, has written a notable, anecdote-rich biography of the controversial ``father of the nuclear navy.'' In 1951 Hyman G. Rickover (1900-1986), then an obscure captain in the navy's Bureau of Ships, set himself the task of creating an atomic submarine. Four-and-a-half years later, USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear sub, joined the fleet. In lay language, Rockwell explains how he accomplished this amazing feat. For one thing, Rickover gave new meaning to the concept of industrial quality control. Rockwell also makes clear why his former boss was widely hated and feared, and provides examples of his unique ability to infuriate as well as inspire. Most prominently, Rockwell demonstrates Rickover's genius for getting things done. Finally, he relates the strange story of Rickover's enforced retirement in 1982 at the instigation of Navy Secretary John Lehman, who accused him of accepting favors from contractors. If this fine biography has a flaw, it is the author's failure to explain adequately why Lehman was so implacably hostile to the man who immeasurably strengthened the United States Navy. Illustrations. (Oct.)
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