Getting To Now
by Art Dickerson
Trafford Publishing

"Although the future looked bleak for breakers in the utility market, the same technology was receiving a welcome in the scientific field of nuclear power generation."

This is partly a memoir and partly a description of technological progress from an electronics engineer who began his career with a Bachelor’s of Science in E.E. from the Navy in 1945. Too late in the war to serve, he begins work as a civilian for General Electric and stays on for twenty-two years. Transferring to Hughes Aircraft Corporation in 1968, he stays there until 1977. From then on teaching at USC while doing consulting to supplement his income for the next 37 years, the author relates innumerable examples of his experiences working in electronics, providing an inside view of the development of tubes, circuits, breakers, and solar energy technology along the way. Company politics, tactics, and management styles are also discussed, shedding an interesting light on American business practices.

Each chapter is framed by an initial discussion of world affairs in each passing year with a short description of his family life at the end. Told in an easy first-person, the chapters vary as to the amount of technical language used. None are too long or overly burdened with jargon or mathematics. Discussion of actual engineering experimentation and testing are enlivened by the inclusion of the human element. Feelings, hopes, and fears giving added depth and emotion to the narrative. There are many tidbits of information, such as the true beginning of G.P.S and the business atmosphere under Howard Hughes, that make the book worth reading by anyone. Though somewhat marred by numerous misspellings (“manger” for “manager” most often), the power of the author’s intelligence overshadows the mistakes. Cumulatively, the discussion of his family life gives a poignant and touching addition to the narrative that makes the book transcend a simple retelling of technological progress. It here has a distinctly human face.

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