At the age of ten, in early 1931, the author stood alone facing the steps of Caltech''s majestic Atheneum as Albert Einstein descended them, and asked for his autograph. Sixty years later, a graduate of Caltech, a member of the Atheneum, a Japanese wedding party he addressed in the same place were honored to meet someone who had met Einstein. Here are a dozen or so reflections on once and future famous men the author encountered during a long career in industry and government: the Nobel Laureate Robert A. Millikan; Theodore von Karman, Hungarian of the Teller-von Neumann-Szilard group of geniuses; Wernher von Braun, head of both Nazi and NASA rocket development; General Curtis LeMay, sketched in striking personal anecdotes; and President Kennedy, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, the British Minister of Defense and others shown dealing with the 1962-63 Skybolt Crisis. Tenzing Norgay, with Edmund Hillary the first to conquer Mt. Everest, appears in Chapter 7, carrying burdens of once-great fame. The volume ends with a short sketch of a man who, like Einstein, escaped Hitler''s Europe, but survived years of hardship worthily, a reflection on fate, Fortune, transience and hope.
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