Among books dealing with seemingly impossible engineering feats, this easily ranks with David McCullough’s The Great Bridge and The Path Between the Seas, as well as Ross King’s Brunelleschi’s Dome.
- Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
Vogel artfully weaves architectural and cultural history, thus creating a brilliant and illuminating study of this singular (and, in many ways, sacred) American space.
- Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
An amazing story, expertly researched and beautifully told. Part history, part adventure yarn, The Pentagon is above all else the biography of an American icon.
- Rick Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize winning author of An Army at Dawn
The saga of the construction of the Pentagon, skillfully recounted by Steve Vogel, a military reporter on the Washington Post, is as enthralling as it is improbable. . . . It was one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century–driven by the intelligence and willpower of larger-than-life figures prepared to cut corners and demand the impossible. Mr Vogel has brought to our notice a thrilling achievement.”
The Economist, June 30, 2007
Superb! Not only the best biography of a building ever written, but a fascinating look at the human architecture behind the Pentagon--the saints and scoundrels of our national defense. With his decades of experience covering the military and a web of insider connections, Steve Vogel has produced a book that's not only timely and a treat to read, but a stellar example of how to write history in the twenty-first century.
- Ralph Peters, author of Never Quit The Fight
This concrete behemoth – the largest office building in the world – is also the product of considerable human ingenuity and resourcefulness, as Steve Vogel amply demonstrates in his interesting account… This is not, of course, the first account of the [9/11] attack, but with its Clancyesque action and firsthand detail… it is surely the most vivid.
- Witold Rybczynski, The New York Times Book Review , June 10, 2007
Vogel's account shines . . . . [A]n engrossing and revealing account. . . . Vogel provides a first-rate account of the transformation of a dilapidated Arlington neighborhood into what Norman Mailer called "the true and high church of the military industrial complex.
- Yonatan Lupu, The San Francisco Chronicle, June 10, 2007
Steve Vogel's marvelous work recounts the construction of one of the world's most iconic buildings - the Pentagon. But more compelling by far, he relates the human stories underlying this huge construction effort. . .All this would of itself be enough to warrant a book but Vogel plunges on to an appropriate second story: the terrorist assault of 9/11 and the Pentagon's subsequent resurrection. This section of the book, due perhaps to the proximity of the event, is all the more compelling. . .
- Frederick J. Chiaventone, New York Post, June 17, 2007
A Wall Street Journal selection for its 2007 summer reading list. “THE PLOT: How the Pentagon, the world's most famous defense building, was erected just as the U.S was pulled into World War II, and its subsequent history, including the rebuilding after the Sept. 11 attack. THE BACKSTORY: Mr. Vogel spent two years writing and researching the book. "The Pentagon" has drawn rave prepublication reviews, and within Random House there is hope that it will fill the usual summer slot for a big history title. It's printing 30,000 copies to start. WHAT GRABBED US: Anecdotes about the Pentagon's early days. The cafeteria couldn't keep up with the flood of workers; security was so lax in 1972 that the Weathermen walked in and planted a bomb, which exploded in a bathroom.”
- Robert Hughes, The Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2007
Vogel's writing coupled with the dynamic, conflict-strewn history of the Pentagon provides for a fascinating and comfortable read while giving new insight into an old Washington landmark.
- Roll Call, June 5, 2007