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Pentagon

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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  134 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The creation of the Pentagon in seventeen whirlwind months during World War II is one of the great construction feats in American history, involving a tremendous mobilization of manpower, resources, and minds. Inastonishingly short order, Brigadier General Brehon B. Somervell conceived and built an institution that ranks with the White House, the Vatican, and a handful of ...more
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Published May 27th 2008 by Random House Publishing Group (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 318)
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Chris
They don't build them like this any more. An absolutely fascinating book about the people who built the Pentagon. Just an amazing feat of design and construction in a short time. Often they were building before there were plans in place. Vogel tells a great story as he weaves in FDR and the military engineers, the politicians, and the civilian construction crews. I would not have wanted to have been the contractor or the officer in charge of construction. It was a neverending chorus of changes a ...more
Anne Ward
This is a book about a building--how it was built, the action it has seen, and its place within the U.S. military. The book defies every opportunity to become a yawn and gives a intriguing account of the people and politics that went into building the Pentagon. If you live in the DC area this is a must read.

Five Stars: Historical, relevant, and well written.
Mark Mortensen
“The Pentagon: A History” captured my complete attention by simply answering all of my questions regarding: who, what, when, where and why. The Pentagon is merely a unique free standing structure some regard as the 8th wonder of the world, however it is the culture within from day one to present that is as historical as the building itself.


The top American military echelon is filled with highly talented individuals seeking advancement, recognition and responsibility in an atmosphere full of egos
...more
Paul
I bought this book in August 2008 as part of my ongoing effort to learn more about the American "military-industrial complex". It turns out that there are not many books on the Pentagon; this was one of the few devoted to it. Admittedly it appeared to be mainly about the actual building rather than the institution itself, but I hoped that a "bricks and mortar" account might nonetheless provide a useful sidelight on the institution, and, having now read it, I feel it has done so.

Steve Vogel's his
...more
Ari
Nov 02, 2009 Ari rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nerds
A very detailed history of the Pentagon. The building, not the Defense Department. In some ways, it's a paradigmatic defense procurement program. Huge, hugely over budget, pushing the technical envelope, and subject to endless political meddling.

One of the things you learn is that Roosevelt thought of himself as an
amateur architect, and kept meddling with the plans. At one point he
proposed a solid square building, 1000 feet on a side, with
fluorescent lights and air conditioning for the interior
...more
Tony Taylor
Never thought this book could be so interesting, but when my wife read it first and told me that I would like it, I took her word for it. I was stationed at the Pentagon (OPNAV 4th deck, E-ring) for 13 years up through 1988, so I feel that I knew the old Puzzle Palace fairly well, but it was not until I read this fascinating book that I realized that there was so much interesting history associated with its original construction as well as with the modernization and rebuild (after 9/11). You don ...more
P.Sannie
Dec 15, 2008 P.Sannie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in American military history
Shelves: non-fiction
Steve Vogel's history of the Pentagon reads easy and is completely fascinating. The Pentagon: A History reads like a novel, the characters are the architects, the politicians, and the workers. I normally don't read books like this, but I picked it up admittedly after Vogel made an appearance on The Daily Show. I wasn't sure I would like it, but I enjoyed it thoroughly; Vogel's writing is clear and the Pentagon's story is fascinating. Anyone who has an interest in American military history should ...more
Michael
This book follows the history of the Pentagon from the early decision to consolidate the old War Department into a single location to the reconstruction effort after the September 11 attack.

What makes the book so good is that it's not just a dry recitation of facts but instead is just short vignettes of various events.

Some of the best stories come from the construction of the Pentagon, however the building has a surprisingly colorful history.
Robert
This is a page turner, an exciting story. With all the evidence around of government screw-ups, it's restorative to read of not one but two spectacular successes, no, three: the building of the Pentagon in 1941-42, the reconstruction in the late 1990s, and the rebuilding after the attack of 9/11, which the reconstruction assured relatively minimal devastation. The people come to life as the author tells their remarkable stories.
Richard
Amazing; the world's largest office building put up in a year, with 10,000 people moved in in only 4 mos while it was still under construction. A great illustration of what the country can do when it puts its mind to something! Really interesting book that covers the personalities & politics involved in the construction of the building. Great for history buffs.
Kendra
The history behind the reason for planning and the challenges of building the Pentagon from the fight over its location to its ultimate size and purpose. Very entertaining look at the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that took place to ensure this iconic building was finished, as well as a review of the events that impacted it on Sept. 11, 2001.
Diane
Very comprehensive and detailed history of the Pentagon, from its building during World War II until its renovation after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Filled with interesting antedotes, particularly from the building's early years. At 500 pages, however, I found it a bit too long. I felt as if the material merited a shorter treatment.
beth anne
interesting stuff. after awhile the back story on some people was going on too long. it is a miracle that this building was made and still standing (not because of 9.11, but because of the way it was treated from wwI thru the 1980s). only ead if you have alot of time...this one took me a week (i am a book every 2 days person).
Jenny
I read this book over a year ago and am still fascinated by it. It's a great one for Pentagon trivia -- if you have any interest in the building at all, this is a must read!
John L
Hard to believe that from conception of the idea to the final move in was only 17 months.
If you like history, and engineering, this one's for you.
Jeff
an amazing story of American ingenuity at its best...an excellent read for anyone connected to the construction industry
Mr.
This one is manna for history/military history geeks. I enjoyed it, but unless you are D.C. wonk it might bore you to tears.
Bill
Outstanding! A must read for anyone interested in U.S. military history and certainly for anyone who has worked in the building.
Converse
A history of the building's conception, construction, renovation, and repair after September 11, 2001
Marshall Barney
Jul 04, 2008 Marshall Barney rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Engineering and planning
This is a fascinating book about the planning for and the building of the Pentagon. Good Read.
Ruth
Love this book. It is so much more meaningful knowing the backdrop as well as I do.
alex
Nov 15, 2007 alex marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I just put this on hold at work, after a glowing recommendation from a patron.
David
Good read. Highly recommended for all my friends who are Pentagon dwellers.
Joseph Wm.
A lot of interesting history about its development.
Holly
Apr 11, 2010 Holly marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
mentioned at 2010 APA conference as a top read
Eric
great book. Recommended by Gen Petraeus.
Phil
Great telling of how the Pentagon was built and later restored. It takes a powerful look at the events of 9/11 and the aaftermath. I'll admit the middle couple chapters lost a little steam but it quickly peaked my interest again.
Susan
Fascinating history
Ryan Porter
Ryan Porter marked it as to-read
Aug 12, 2015
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