Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey” as Want to Read:
The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  191 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
WHEN THE MARINES decided to buy a helicopter-airplane hybrid “tiltrotor” called the V-22 Osprey, they saw it as their dream machine. The tiltrotor was the aviation equivalent of finding the Northwest Passage: an aircraft able to take off, land, and hover with the agility of a helicopter yet fly as fast and as far as an airplane. Many predicted it would reshape civilian avi ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Simon & Schuster (first published April 10th 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Dream Machine, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Dream Machine

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Edit 12/17/13: This article by Whittle is worth reading regarding the safety of the machine compared to standard helicopters. One statistic he did not cite was a comparison of the number of flying hours between crashes.

The Holy Grail of aviation engineering has always been a device that carries a reasonable load, can take off vertically, and flies safely and fast. The V-22 Osprey was supposed to fill those criteria. That it has entered service with the Ma
Michael Alexander Henke
An in depth, and fairly enjoyable look into the development of the V-22 Osprey. I have to be honest, this book didn't exactly deliver to me what I wanted. I was much more interested in the technical aspects of the development. The engineering of the machine, how it was put together, what it's flaws were, and the overall difficulty of building a new type of aircraft. While the book does touch on these points, a large majority of the narrative is focused more on the political side. The bureaucracy ...more
Jun 08, 2012 Christopher rated it really liked it
Always been fascinated by military technology and especially the Osprey ever since I first heard about it. When this book first came out I immediately put it on my to read list and waited for my local library to get a copy and when it did I picked it up.

Whittle has done a great job not only telling the story of the V22 but laying the groundwork and background story how this aircraft got to where it is today. Whittle never gives a hint of his view until the very end so in my view he did an excel
Oct 06, 2013 Steve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, military
Solid and serious research, reporting, and history. Whittle spent (literally) years interviewing hundreds of people and pouring through mountains of documents to tell a detailed yet lively tale of the nearly 30-year evolution of one of the more unique aerial platforms deployed by the U.S. military (primarily the Marines). My guess is the book primarily attracts thin slices of a diverse audience, ranging from defense weapon systems geeks (like me), engineers, military historians, pilots, public-p ...more
Julie Arthur
Jan 03, 2017 Julie Arthur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author does a pretty good job of giving a fair, unbiased assessment of the V-22 program. Although I did feel in the beginning that he favored Bell over Boeing, most of his account does not lean toward one side or another. Whittle does a great job of presenting nonfiction in an interesting and readable way. He develops his characters well; those closest to the program are described in more detail and some insight into their personalities is given. I thought this book might be too technical fo ...more
Oct 02, 2010 gargamelscat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, misc, ebook
The wide access given by so many of the players I think has resulted in the author pulling his punches. Any negative comments seem so couched as to be as inoffensive as possible.

Could have been more technical and I'd like to have seen some comparisons with similar overruning projects (JSF anyone?).

What I don't understand is why I've never noticed a mention of the V22 Osprey before seeing this book.
Roy Hector
Jul 02, 2015 Roy Hector rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steven Kaminski
Jan 26, 2017 Steven Kaminski rated it really liked it
"Logic doesn't win political battles...VOTES do." - Curt Weldon

Fascinating book. I have read quite a bit about DOD, the procurement process for military hardware and how both the military and Congress work to protect their pet projects...but the story behind the V-22 Osprey is ridiculous. You want to know HOW ridiculous? When Dick Cheney was the Secretary of Defense he tried for ten YEARS to kill the Osprey as a program and he couldn't do it. TEN! And he was running the department as the Defense
Mark Monsma
Jan 25, 2016 Mark Monsma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-war
Wow. A single word, 3 letters long, and an expression of surprise and content.

This book was amazing. While I don't know if the V-22 Osprey is a dream machine, it was someone's dream creation. The V-22 Osprey, for those who don't know, is a military aircraft which can convert from a helicopter to an airplane in mid-air. It was made famous in two of the Transformers movies, as well as other movies and several video games. I personally witnessed this amazing aircraft at an airshow three years ago.
Jan 06, 2013 Greg rated it really liked it
Book about the development of V-22 raptor. Basically, use of big-bang development led to requirements that could not possibly be met by the technology of the time, and resulted in a project that was decades behind schedule. Instead of breaking the project into phases and prototypes that incrementally made progress toward the ultimate goal, they tried doing everything at once and ended up with nothing to show for a long time.

Eventually, some technological advances that happened independently of t
Sep 29, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it
Pretty much exactly what it says: The definitive history of the V-22, starting with a lengthy introduction outlaying the concept of a "dream machine" - an aircraft that can take off like a helicopter but fly as fast as a plane. My only issues with the book were that this introduction goes on a little long; I understand the author is setting the table for the Osprey to appear by talking about autogyros and failed attempts at tilt-rotor planes, but it can drag a little, and the biographies some pe ...more
May 11, 2010 Gary rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: pilots
Fantastic book for anyone interested in aviation, the U.S. Marine Corps, or the defense acquisition process. Whittle tells a tale 25 years in the making - how the U.S. Marine Corps managed to get a revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft into service. Certainly not under budget, not on time, and with a certain cost in lives, was it worth it? That's the only part that is yet to be written. The parts where Whittle describes the crashes are like watching a horror movie where you know what is coming and yo ...more
Aug 19, 2010 Paul rated it liked it
Insightful and comprehensive history of the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor program. Does a good job of illustrating the technical challenges and personalities behind this decades-long program which finally deployed operational aircraft to Iraq recently. The writing is pretty good; the technical and engineering discussions are clear and accessible to non-technical readers but the author goes a little over-the-top at times when dramatizing the personal aspects of the (several) deadly V-22 crashes during d ...more
Nick Pascucci
Feb 03, 2015 Nick Pascucci rated it liked it
I was hoping that this would cover more of the engineering behind what I think is one of the more interesting aircraft to have entered military service in the past 20 years, but this book is much more oriented towards documenting the political struggles that the defense contractors and their allies in Congress went through to keep the program alive. While it was interesting to read about, it wasn't what I expected.
Oct 08, 2013 Marc rated it it was ok
This is an insiders book. It is detailed and parts of it are interesting. Greater parts are just boring. It does provide great examples of how the military-industrial complex works though, especially the insider & cross departmental politics. Still boring though.

I struggled to finish this and several chapter were scanned rapidly. I thought I would be interested but the book failed to grab me.
Tony Espy
Oct 13, 2011 Tony Espy rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book about a flying machine unlike any other. It tells the story of early tilt-rotors, how the Osprey was sold to the Marines, the crippled development process, the battle with Dick Cheney, and of course the many fatal crashes during test and evaluation flights that occurred due to major design flaws. If you're at all interested in aircraft, military history, or the working of the military industrial complex, read this book!
Mar 28, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it
Particularly interesting to me as a naval aviator and former Hill fellow. It's probably more of a three star book. It is very insightful to the iron triangle and how expensive military projects generally get completed. In that sense, it will leave a bad taste in your mouth. I would like to see an updated ending with the successes and failures of this aircraft in operational settings.
May 16, 2013 Sam rated it really liked it
This book detailed the workings of the military industrial complex pertaining to the procurement of the Osprey. Bell helicopter really made this project happen, but the plane was made bigger than they wanted it to be. They sacrificed efficient design to meet the military requirements for troop carrying capacity. It also shows how useful the plane is for the Corps
Eric Morgan
Dec 30, 2010 Eric Morgan rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Very well written account of the V-22 Osprey program from the early beginnings of rotary wing aviation through 26+ years of tilt-rotor development. A must read for anyone involved in the acquisition of major weapons systems for the military. Highly recommended!
Peter Smith
Aug 17, 2015 Peter Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books on history I have ever read.

As a former V-22 vendor, I was privileged to play a very tiny role in the birth of this aircraft. To be able to read the full history of this amazing aircraft is a gift. This book is nothing short of outstanding.
Walt DeGrange
Dec 02, 2010 Walt DeGrange rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be required reading for all Officers in the Department of Defense. Tells the story of the V-22 Osprey through the eyes of contractors, Marines, politicians and engineers over the 25 year development.
Matt Pitts
May 29, 2015 Matt Pitts rated it it was amazing
Well written, well researched, and well worth reading for anyone interested in the Osprey.
Oct 12, 2012 Norbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very detailed and very interesting book about the development of the v-22

But I would like to know about it's use in Irak and Afganistan
Sep 22, 2011 WRH rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very intereesting story about the tilt rotor plane. Also an insightful commentary on the military acquisition process.
Vivian Blaxell
May 16, 2016 Vivian Blaxell rated it really liked it
Far more than I needed to know.
Aug 01, 2015 Stef rated it liked it
well written and full of details. the story is very long but the author manage to keep narrative fluid.
Adam Johns
Pretty good book. Well documents the past several decades of development of the osprey and comes off very un-bias which is fairly refreshing considering the topic!
Apr 06, 2014 Bhall rated it liked it
With Captain Benton IV flying these incredible machines...thought i should read up on em :-)

Way more detail than i needed, Author takes you from Alpha to Omega of the Osprey.
Suzanne rated it liked it
Jun 30, 2012
Brett Anderson
Brett Anderson rated it it was amazing
Jan 17, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon
  • Military Innovation in the Interwar Period
  • Strange Victory: Hitler's Conquest of France
  • Bomber Command
  • Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century
  • Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton
  • The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State, 1688-1783
  • The Command: Deep Inside The President's Secret Army
  • War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History: 1500 to Today
  • The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War
  • Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War
  • The War Nerd
  • The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs
  • Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds
  • To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight
  • Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887-1941
  • Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion
  • Fusiliers: Eight Years with the Redcoats in America
Richard Whittle, author of Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution (Henry Holt and Company, September 2014), and The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey, (Simon & Schuster, 2010), is a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington and 2013-2014 Alfred V. Verville Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum. He writes ...more
More about Richard Whittle...

Share This Book

“That was why stories on outrageous schedule delays and cost overruns were a staple for reporters on the Pentagon beat. Development schedules and cost estimates for major military hardware—especially aircraft—were almost always ridiculously optimistic. The incentive on both sides, for the military and for the contractors, was to shoot for the moon and worry later about how much they were going to miss it by.” 0 likes
More quotes…