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The Rickover Effect

Theodore Rockwell

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ISBN 10: 1557507023 / ISBN 13: 9781557507020
Published by Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1992
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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About this Item

More than anyone else, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover made nuclear power a reality. Building on the scientific breakthroughs of the atomic bomb project, he created the nuclear navy almost over night. Written by a close associate of the Admiral. Bookseller Inventory # 9540

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Rickover Effect

Publisher: Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland

Publication Date: 1992

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition: Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: First Printing

About this title


More than anyone else, Adm. Hyman G. Rickover made nuclear power a reality. Building on the scientific breakthroughs of the atomic bomb project, he created the nuclear Navy almost overnight, when nearly everyone else thought it was a pipe dream, and built the world’s first commercial atomic power station. He did most of this in a single decade.

Rickover’s incredible ability to get things done won his program wide public acclaim and personal honors that included presidential citations, honorary doctoral degrees, and congressional gold medals. Despite all this, Rickover was the subject of bitter controversy and was twice passed over for promotions. In 1953 he was saved from involuntary retirement only through congressional intervention. Nearly forty years later, when he was fired as a four-star admiral, all three living American ex-presidents attended his post-retirement party.

Now, for the first time, one of Rickover’s close associates tells what it was like to be with this remarkable man day and night as he accomplished his miracles, and why he was bitterly opposed by so many powerful people. Theodore Rockwell, the admiral’s long time technical director, takes the reader behind the “zirconium curtain” that protected the program to give an inside account of those turbulent times. Using on-the-spot anecdotes and little-known documents, he explores Rickover’s methods and relationships with others to help us understand his strengths and weaknesses.

The author describes Rickover’s successes beginning right after World War II in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. His account includes the first submarine voyage from Pearl Harbor to England to the North Pole, the continuously submerged round-the-world journey of the USS Triton, and the buildup of the U.S. nuclear fleet and the civilian nuclear power industry.

This candid, insightful portrait could only have been written by a key player. The Rickover Effect makes and important contribution to the understanding to one of this century’s most elusive personalities.

About the Author:

Theodore Rockwell has been directly involved in nuclear power for nearly half a century. After completing his master’s degree in chemical engineering at Princeton in 1944, he worked on the atomic bomb project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

In 1949 he joined Rickover’s Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, where he became director of the Nuclear Technology Division. In 1954 he was made technical director, helping to assure the safe operation of nuclear-powered naval vessels and the creation of the world’s first commercial nuclear-power plant. He left the program in 1964 to set up an engineering firm with two colleagues in Washington, D.C.

In 1960 Rockwell was awarded an honorary ScD degree for his contributions to the development of atomic power. He earned distinguished service medals from the Navy and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, an “Award for Exemplary Achievement in Public Administration” from the William A. Jump Foundation, and the first “Lifetime Contribution Award", henceforth known as the "Rockwell Award” from the American Nuclear Society. He is editor of The Reactor Shielding Design Manual and coauthor of The Shippingport Pressurized Water Reactor and Arms Control Agreements. He has written numerous technical papers and several magazine articles, including “Frontier Life Among the Atom Splitters” for Saturday Evening Post, “Bred for Fury” for Time, and “Heresy, Excommunications and Other Weeds” for New Realities.

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