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The Secret Contest to Invent Invisible Aircraft

Peter Westwick

21 November 2022

ISBN: 9780197627242

272 pages

In Stock

Price: £14.99



In Stealth: The Secret Race to Invent an Invisible Aircraft Peter Westwick reveals the process by which the U.S. military was able to produce this undetectable machine, first in the form of the F-117A, then the B-2 bomber, one sharply angular and the other smooth and round. Taking into account the role of technology, as well as the contemporary understanding of physics and engineering, Westwick offers a unique narrative, one which immerses readers in the race to produce a weapon that might save the world from nuclear Apocalypse. Stealth is a nuanced and engaging narrative about engineering ingenuity and provides a fresh view of the Cold War period.

  • An engaging look into the birth of one of the nation's most tightly held secrets: Stealth aircraft
  • Contrasts the approaches of the two competing programs, Lockheed and Northrop, giving the human face of this remarkable invention
  • Reveals momentous changes in the aerospace industry at the peak of the Cold War arms race

About the Author(s)

Peter Westwick, research professor of history, University of Southern California

Peter Westwick teaches history at the University of Southern California and directs the Aerospace History Project at the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. His books include Into the Black: JPL and the American Space Program, 1976-2004, which won prizes from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Astronautical Society.

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1. Roots of the Revolution
    Chapter 2. Dark Days in the Sunshine State
    Chapter 3. Breeding Invisible Rabbits
    Chapter 4. Lockheed: Tin Shed in a Hurricane
    Chapter 5. Northrop: Seeing the Waves
    Chapter 6. Shootout at RATSCAT
    Chapter 7. Have Blue and the F-117
    Chapter 8. Secrets and Strategies
    Chapter 9. The Whale
    Chapter 10. Winning the B-2
    Chapter 11. Building the B-2
    Chapter 12. Stealth and the Modern Military


"[A] valuable contribution to Cold War history." - Tom Ricks

"In his elegant Stealth, Peter Westwick balanc[es] a modest level of technical detail with a keen eye for the people involved, drawing on extensive interviews and oral histories. The vividness Mr. Westwick achieves is all the more impressive given the secrecy of the stealth world." - Konstantin Kakaes, The Wall Street Journal

"A rich, compelling, and eye-opening book." - Daniel J. Kevles, author of The Physicists

"Westwick does a good job of explaining the engineering principles at work, the competitive instinct of the engineers—which motivated them more than did a patriotic desire to gain the upper hand over the Soviet Union—and the advantages of a close partnership between the private sector and the state." - Lawrence Freedman, Foreign Affairs

"This concise, highly readable history of the creation, development, and application of one of the most important technologies of the Cold War brings clarity and a thorough understanding to this complex subject." - F. Robert van der Linden, Science