Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Tell the Publisher!
Id like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed [Paperback]

Leo Janos , Ben R. Rich
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
You Save: 3.00 (30%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 11 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 3 Sept.? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details


Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover --  
Paperback 6.99  
Unknown Binding --  

Book Description

10 Aug 1995

SKUNK WORKS is the true story, told for the first time, of America's most secret and successful aerospace operation. As recounted by Ben Rich, the operation's brilliant boss for nearly two decades, the story of Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works is a high-stakes drama of Cold War confrontations and Gulf War air combat, of extraordinary feats of engineering and human achievement against fantastic odds.

SKUNK WORKS is dramatic and immediate. Direct from the cockpits of these astonishing aircraft - U-2 spy-plane, SR-71 Blackbird and F-117 Stealth Fighter. It is a tribute to genius in the unrelenting contest for mastery of the skies.

Frequently Bought Together

Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed + SR-71 Revealed: The Untold Story
Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; Reprint edition (10 Aug 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751515035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751515039
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description


Dynamite - the true story of one of America's crown jewels! (Tom Clancy)

Book Description

The former head of Lockheed's SKUNK WORKS reveals the amazing story of the secret aircraft that changed the course of history - from the U-2 to the Stealth Fighter

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back in invisible Black 15 Aug 2006
By Mr. M. A. Bowles VINE VOICE
Ben Rich and Leo Janos have crafted a book that will interest any aeronautical enthusiast. With the right amount of science and technology the history of the stealth development unfolds. The politics of the 1970's sets the scene and the main players take you into the world of black operations at Skunk works, Groom Lake, better known as Area 51. The development of the Blackbird, U2, and F104 are thrown in for good measure along with tit-bits on the Hustler, F111 and much more. I should point out here that for anyone interested in back engineering and alien technology this is not the book for you.

The authors take you from the original idea of a Russian scientist, Pyotr Ufimtsev through its development by an American Denys Overholser at the Skunk works into a general idea for a radar invisible plane. This concept is then turned into a model and eventually a prototype that has a radar signal the size of a small ball bearing! The proof of the technology came with the use of stealth aircraft during the Gulf Wars.

The cut and thrust of the politics, bureaucracy, secrecy and day to day work at the skunk works complete with its own Lockhead characters keep you entertained. The development of major projects is described to you as though you were a prospective aircraft buyer about to place an order for a job lot of F117-s. The skunk works golden rules of manufacture are discussed with you, with examples and you feel you are on a joint venture. Snapshots of life at McDonald Douglas, General Dynamics, Northrop and Rockwell are woven in for good measure.

The book is focused on the development of American aircraft and this is reflected in the attitudes and language of the authors.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
To any one interested in engineering, creativity, aeroplanes, science or technology this is a must read on how to challenge and mostly triumph over military and government imbecility. Ben's description of the secret service conficating ball bearings because they had been classified top secret will stay with me forever as an example of how a bureaucracy can so completely miss the point.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rivetting insight into military aviation 16 July 2010
Ben Rich describes his time at the Skunk Works, Lockheed's facility for designing and producing high performance, specialised military planes. He starts with the development of the stealth fighter, the first major project he took on after taking the reigns from the legendary Clarence "Kelly" Johnston. The technology behind the planes is described in plain language as is how the project came about and the development of the idea to a successful plane.

After this he returns to how he joined Skunk Works and other projects the Skunk Works handled, such as the U2 spy plane and the SR-71 Blackbird. These are fascinating as each of them was dealing with creating something on the edge of our technological capabilities with many difficult challenges to overcome. In explaining the operation of the Skunk Works Ben gives a passing insight as to why they were successful and able to achieve so much. It doesn't quite go so far as explaining how to set-up a similar operation rather gives pointers to areas to consider. Also described are the politics and current events of the time which place developments in perspective. It also gives background information and analysis about well known events, such as the shooting down of the first U2 plane. Throughout the book there are contributions by others involved in the project; test pilots, air force commanders, politicians and other Skunk workers.

I'd recommend this book to anyone with a passing interest in aviation or people who like a well written account of working in an innovative area pushing technology to the limits.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating insights 29 July 2005
By Ramses
Being very interested in stealth and radar cross section reduction in general and having actively worked on RCS computation and measurements as well, I found this book absolutely fascinating. There are very few accounts of what is going on behind the scenes in these top secret military programmes and this book offers a perspective. I really liked the story behind the use of numerical methods (Ufimtsev PTD etc), this being close to my experience, but the whole book makes good reading.
Beyond the technology, you see how the politics of it all work, and you cannot not be awed by Kelly Johnson, the master engineer.
So a must read on a marvellous topic.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone in the aerospace industry 23 April 1999
By A Customer
Ben Rich describes the Skunk Works from a very personal perspective. His words teach a lesson that could be well heeded in all engineering businesses and for anyone who wants to set up a skunk works it is an essential read.
Ben Rich describes the legendary Kelly Johnson, he must have been an awesome boss. Kellys fifteen rules of the skunk works are hilarious... but you stop laughing damn quick when you realise that they're all true.
Read this book, then read "Most Secret War" by R. V. Jones, they're the two best books I've ever read.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Rich and the Blue Suiters 31 Aug 2014
By Gabriel
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ben Rich's Skunk Works is a fascinating read, it's thought-provoking, funny, inspiring and thoroughly interesting throughout. The book charts Rich's rise through Lockheed's Skunk Works, from the ground floor to the penthouse suite. The chapters cover many different projects that Rich was involved in throughout his career, some headed by Kelly Johnson (Rich's mentor and a big cheese in aviation) and some headed by Rich himself as Johnson's successor.

At times you'll be reading in disbelief, the innovation and ingenuity of the Skunk Works is beyond comprehension. To think that this technology was around many moons ago, veiled in secrecy, makes you wonder what soars above our very heads in the present day.

Anyone who has an interest in aviation most probably has this book already, but really I feel that there is a much wider appeal. In reading Skunk Works you'll gain an understanding of Cold War history, and the extreme levels of secrecy it induced, business management, international incidents like the Gary Powers' capture, and of course you'll learn about aviation. But perhaps most importantly, you'll have read an absolute whirlwind of a story, one that'll have you thinking you're reading a fiction in the same vein as The Minority Report, Telling stories of impossible technologies.

I'd highly recommend this book to anyone, literally anyone and everyone, except maybe people I don't like, but even then I'd feel like I was robbing them of a mind-blowing read. The fact you're even on this page means at the very least that the cover induced a little interest. And in my mind that pretty much guarantees you'll enjoy reading it. So treat yourself, treat a friend, buy two, you won't regret it.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very interesting insights from a world-class organisation.
Published 8 days ago by Jack Macyntire
5.0 out of 5 stars ... ranks with 'Most Secret War' as one of my favourite books. This...
This ranks with 'Most Secret War' as one of my favourite books. This account of Kelly Johnson and Ben rich at Lockheed, pushing the boundaries in every sense is a very interesting... Read more
Published 2 months ago by SteveH
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read.
Of course with this sort of book I always wonder what the author has not told the reader. If this was about a British company I am sure the MOD would have kept the lid on the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. Peter Crosland
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read - bit short
Mainly all about the F117 nighthawk. A large part about the U2 plane also. I was hoping for a bit more about the SR71 but I guess that is still too secret. Read more
Published 5 months ago by MR J M ASPBURY
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone that cares about aviation.
This book is a fantastic tour through the history and workings of the Skunk works. It an amazing place where incredible aircraft such Blackbird, the stealth fighter, the U2 and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by S. Griffiths
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
Very interesting book, full of information you wouldn't have been able to access a few years ago. I do wonder though if a lot of it is simply dis-information.
Published 10 months ago by Mr. M. Kostyrka
4.0 out of 5 stars Insight into the world of advanced aerospace
Account of work on spyplanes and drones. What this book tells you about is all pretty impressive stuff technically speaking. But it makes you wonder what they are working on now.
Published 11 months ago by PJL
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read (or two).
I have read this book more than once and it's captivating every time. It lets us into the world that existed many decades ago, describing the technological and political... Read more
Published 14 months ago by apollojr
4.0 out of 5 stars My opinion
Very good I enjoyed the book very good delivery service brilliant story good reading could not put it down from start to finish
Published 15 months ago by Kevin W Anson
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting.
I lent this to a friend so have not actually read it yet but since he likes it it must be good.
Published 18 months ago by Triksiklist
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category