"I was in the middle of all these historic events, but didn’t realize at the time that history was in the making."

College graduates with a technical or mathematical degree in the 1940s–1960s walked out of college halls straight into NACA/NASA jobs as America raced to beat the Russians into space. Young men and women were needed to program computers, creating software programs based on mathematical equations that evaluated real flight data and then reported the results. Alfred Miller was one of those talented young mathematicians who worked at the Edwards Air Force base, where test pilots like Chuck Yeager pushed the envelope into space. Miller assisted his boss, director Al Phillips, by programming the new IBM computers with their initial software.

The author begins his memoir telling of childhood values learned from Swedish immigrant families who operated dairy farms and attended church regularly. It didn’t take long for the son, Alfred, to decide that milking cows long hours of the day was not what he wanted to do with his life. Fortunately, he came from a large family, so other siblings stayed to help the Miller parents run the farm. The author spent thirty-eight years of his life in various technical and management positions at Edwards Air Force Base.

The author has been thorough in documenting his memories, but some additional editing would make this book live up to its potential. Still, Miller’s years of experience surrounded by the newest aircraft, missiles, and later the shuttle, flown by the most experienced pilots in the world, make his memoir come alive. NASA and original photos help preserve the stories for another generation. Since Miller is a man who loves his family, we likewise read of many gatherings at holidays and special occasions. He and his wife Dorothy parented eight children. Anyone interested in America’s technical history of flight will want to buy and read the book as the jewel it is.

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