The Pentagon's Brain

  • by Annie Jacobsen
  • Narrated by Annie Jacobsen
  • 18 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The definitive history of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, from the author of the New York Times best seller Area 51.
No one has ever written the history of the Defense Department's most secret, most powerful, and most controversial military science R&D agency. In the first-ever history of the organization, New York Times best-selling author Annie Jacobsen draws on inside sources, exclusive interviews, private documents, and declassified memos to paint a picture of DARPA, or "the Pentagon's brain", from its Cold War inception in 1958 to the present.
This is the book on DARPA - a compelling narrative about this clandestine intersection of science and the American military and the often frightening results.

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Audible Editor Reviews

"Annie Jacobsen...is a great storyteller, making the tantalizing tale of The Pentagon's Brain - from the depths of the Cold War to present day - come alive on every page." (Gerald Posner, author of God's Bankers)

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What the Critics Say

"A fascinating and unsettling portrait of the secretive US government agency.... Jacobsen walks a fine line in telling the story of the agency and its innovations without coming across as a cheerleader or a critic." (Publishers Weekly starred review)
"Filled with the intrigue and high stakes of a spy novel, Jacobsen's history of DARPA is as much a fascinating testament to human ingenuity as it is a paean to endless industrial warfare." (Kirkus Reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not what I expceted but thats not a bad thing

The author seems to have no love lost for the activities of ARPA and then DARPA from the hydrogen bomb to its work on artificial limbs. Ms Jacbosen tends to see the agency in a more negative than positive light despite the advances that have been made by its efforts. This is not uncommon as any agency that works mostly in secret, or tries to, gets the jaundiced eye more often than not.
Enough opinion on Ms Jacobsen's opinion, the book was well researched and she does a great job telling the story of DARPA despite its secretive nature. If you can get beyond the negative tone it is an informative book on one of the more influential government agency's over the last 50+ years. Good back stories on its more prominent personnel and good detail on some of its creations. Some good side stories s well.
She did a good job narrating. Her voice was paced and her pronunciation was easy to follow. I listened to it while operating equipment with one earbud in and the other listening to the machine. Despite this I had no problem hearing and comprehending the content. While being a conscientious operator, of course.
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- dfcgts

Very Interesting Story, Not an Extraordinary Book

Where does The Pentagon's Brain rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top 50%


Did the narration match the pace of the story?

It's always tricky when the author reads their own work. In this case it worked ok, although the delivery was a bit flat. And her mispronunciation of a few words in the book was pretty strange. But it was fine for this particular book (being non-fiction, and not emotion-laced).


Any additional comments?

I found this a very interesting book. But it's almost stream of consciousness in terms of DARPA's history over 50 years, as opposed to providing much analysis or insight. For a book of that length, I would have expected more framing, as opposed to just recounting of history.

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- Mark T

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-22-2015
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio