Blue Sky Dream: A Memoir of America's Fall from Grace

Blue Sky Dream: A Memoir of America's Fall from Grace

David Beers

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 015600531X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Beer’s “important...fascinating” book(Los Angeles Times) shows how suburban California came to epitomize the american Dream-until its affluent complacency was shattered by downsizing, anxiety, and distrust.

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technicians, and organizers belonging to very nearly every branch of modern science and industry. Astronomers, physicians, mathematicians, engineers, physicists, chemists, and test pilots are essential; but no less so are economists, businessmen, diplomats, and a host of others.” A host of people, Wernher von Braun saw, all ready to be coordinated and put to work on great projects of the state. The time had come, he was saying, for nothing less than the reorganization of America’s way of making

Dornberger became America’s victory spoils, they dusted off visions of apocalypse for their new paymasters at the Pentagon. “I didn’t come to this country to lose the Third World War. I lost two,” Dornberger would tell the Air Force, still selling his hellfire raining space bomber. But it was von Braun’s genius to hook into the American mass imagination not with destruction fantasies but with an immigrant’s ode to his new country’s can-do spirit. He stroked the ego of “the most fantastically

cost estimator for the local arsenal. There had been a time when he had been boss of a company that made bolts for the railroads, and they had all had lived in a roomy, even fashionable, home in New Jersey. But the Depression had taken that away, and all my mother remembers is her father as he was in Rock Island, a man who was kind and patient and God-fearing after many worldly disappointments. Rock Island’s churches were dark, full of flickering votive candles that lit the patient faces of the

the satellite, whirling in space, as a mathematical abstraction. Lockheed needed to program the flight of Samos in such a way as to best conserve power and film aboard. This involved finding the optimal times to turn certain switches on or off, and this could be expressed as an equation on paper. My father was paid to make numbers slide off his slide rule, numbers which would eventually be placed in the hands of other men whose duty was to sit at the controls that guided the actual Samos

and his brass got their pictures back from space, such scare talk immediately cooled, and Americans breathed easier. Samos, it seemed, had pulled off the gambit that good spy stories turn on, the unmasking of the enemy’s bluff, the stealing of secrets to shift the balance of power back to the good guys. My father felt glad, his first year at Lockheed, to know he was part of this high drama with a national pride ending. This seemed a more romantic start to a career than had he been assigned to,

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