I first reviewed this book for Amazon in 1999, but did so anonymously because I didn't want to say that I was related to Stanley Hooker lest it raised doubts about my objectivity. I've recently re-read the book, but haven't changed my opinion about it. Stanley Hooker was an extraordinary man, as his achievements demonstrate. He wrote this book in biro on lined pads as he struggled with cancer, a struggle which he ultimately lost, but I still think this lucid and readable book is a very fitting account of an extraordinary life.
My original review is reproduced below:
Stanley Hooker was probably Britain's foremost engineer of the 20th Century. An outstanding mathematician, he doubled the power of the RR Merlin, designed the Pegasus in today's Harrier, and, with Sir Kenneth Keith, rescued Rolls-Royce from oblivion. This book is a highly readable account of his contribution to aviation. The son of a Sheerness docker, he writes with clarity, pace and humour. Technical topics are contained in a full appendix, the principal one being the formula he developed which enabled him to transform the Merlin and, hence, the Spitfire, by boosting the input of the one and then two superchargers.
Bill Bedford, the Harrier's original test pilot, publicly wondered if Hooker was actually Britain's greatest engineer ever. Read this book and decide for yourself.