On the Cutting Edge: Tales of a Cold War Engineer at the Dawn of the Nuclear, Guided Missile, Computer and Space Ages

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On the Cutting Edge: Tales of a Cold War Engineer at the Dawn of the Nuclear, Guided Missile, Computer and Space Ages by Robert F. Brodsky. Richard Altschuler and Associates (http://www.richardaltschuler.com), 100 West 57th Street, New York, New York 10019, 2006, 220 pages, $18.00 (softcover), ISBN 1-884092-62-4.

In On the Cutting Edge, Dr. Robert Brodsky compiles stories from his long career as an aeronautical engineer, covering a half century that spans the Cold War and includes the "glory days" of engineering in the 1960s. Readers learn that Brodsky had a hand in improving the aerodynamic stability of atomic bombs, solving guidance and control problems on Navy missiles, and designing satellites and a moon rover, among other accomplishments. His account of the time he devoted to writing proposals, managing departments, and leading research and development efforts also offers insight into the culture of large defense contractors. Furthermore, Brodsky touches on giving testimony as an expert witness in aircraft accident cases and describes his academic roles, teaching courses as well as developing the first degree program in astronautical engineering. Students of Cold War history will recognize many projects, weapon systems, and facilities- perhaps, as I did, dogearing certain pages for additional research.

Brodsky's doctorate in engineering (he performed calculations for his dissertation on ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic computer! …