Admiral Hyman Rickover Engineer of Power Marc Wortman

Jewish Lives
Publication date:
15 Feb 2022
Yale University Press
328 pages: 210 x 146 x 29mm
1 b-w illus.

A riveting exploration of the brilliant, combative, and controversial “Father of the Nuclear Navy”

Hyman George Rickover (1899–1986), born Chaim Godalia Rykower in a Polish shtetl, was an almost mythical figure in the United States Navy. Possessing engineering brilliance, a ferocious will, a combative personality, and an indefatigable work ethic, he oversaw the development of nuclear marine propulsion and the first civilian nuclear utility. During his thirty-five years as chief of naval reactors, Rickover dismissed rank and uniform, insisting that “there is no hierarchy in matters of the mind.”
His disdain for naval regulations, indifference to the chain of command, and harsh, insulting language earned him enemies in the navy but won him friends in Congress and in the White House who kept him in power and ultimately made him the longest-serving U.S. military officer in history.
In this new biography, historian Marc Wortman explores the constant conflict Rickover faced and provoked, tracing how he revolutionized the navy and Cold War strategy.

Marc Wortman is an independent historian and award-winning freelance journalist. His books include 1941: Fighting the Shadow War: A Divided America in a World at War and The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta. He lives in New Haven, CT.