Like the c-47 Dakota or the Spitfire of World War II fame, the f-4 is a classic airplane. Designed in the mid-1950s, it played a vital role in Vietnam and the Arab-Israeli wars and even served in the Persian Gulf War as a suppressor of enemy air defenses. In its upgraded variants it will continue to fly well into the first decades of the next century. Bugos, a skilled historian of technology, tells the tale not only of its design but of its bureaucratic history -- how the air force came to adopt a navy aircraft, how other nations decided to purchase it, and what role it had in deciding the outcome of various conflicts. This is, in short, a model of technological history, fluently written and accessible to a much broader audience than simply aviation buffs.