Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America's manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA's Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race. He helped to launch Alan Shepard and John Glenn, then assumed the flight director's role in the Gemini program, which he guided to fruition. With his teammates, he accepted the challenge to carry out President John F. Kennedy's commitment to land a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s.
Kranz was flight director for both Apollo 11, the mission in which Neil Armstrong fulfilled President Kennedy's pledge, and Apollo 13. He headed the Tiger Team that had to figure out how to bring the three Apollo 13 astronauts safely back to Earth. (In the film Apollo 13, Kranz was played by the actor Ed Harris, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance.)
In Failure Is Not an Option, Gene Kranz recounts these thrilling historic events and offers new information about the famous flights. What appeared as nearly flawless missions to the moon were, in fact, a series of hair-raising near misses. When the space technology failed, as it sometimes did, the controllers' only recourse was to rely on their skills and those of their teammates. Kranz takes us inside Mission Control and introduces us to some of the whiz kids - still in their twenties, only a few years out of college - who had to figure it all out as they went along, creating a great and daring enterprise. He reveals behind-the-scenes details to demonstrate the leadership, discipline, trust, and teamwork that made the space program a success.
©2009 Gene Kranz (P)2011 Tantor
"Plenty of books (and several films) have already tried to depict the space program's excitement; few of their creators had the first-person experience or the attention to detail Krantz has, whose role as flight control "White" his readers will admire or even wish to emulate." (Publishers Weekly)
Gene Granz was at the center of the development of the U.S. space program, often in the hot seat as flight controller for key events in the early exploration of space and the moon missions. While the catastrophic fire of Apollo 1 and near disaster of Apollo 13 are well known, Mr. Kranz vividly reveals the difficulties that threatened many missions from Mercury through Gemini and Apollo, and the responses of astronauts and controllers in making certain life and death decisions. This is a riveting story by a man who was not only there but had to make those decisions and find solutions. The audio performance by Danny Campbell is good and provides the right tone for the book, but the overall listen is choppy with hundreds of edits throughout that sound as if edits were recorded in a different studio by a different person. The audio tone often changes from sentence to sentence and sounds as if there are two different narrators. Fortunately the story is so good the audio quality is a minor annoyance and takes nothing away from the book. Hero is a title loosely distributed these days but you will probably add Mr. Kranz to your list of bona-fide American heroes after this read.
I was really interested in a behind the scenes story on the early NASA program and this book did not let me down. It was interesting and full of details that only Gene Kranz is able to provide.
It was a bit dull at points and the narration, while good, was very narrator-y if you get my meaning. He was just reading the book with an upbeat tone the whole time even during the worst tragedies.
This book will interest people looking for inside information on how we got to the moon.
Took me a while to get through based on when I had trips and could listen, but really enjoyed this book. Kranz did a great job documenting the history of these space flights and Campbell is a great narrator. Loved the examples that tie to the title - times when the team would not accept defeat and came up with solutions. Very motivational besides being a great history lesson.
A tremendous first hand account of the space race, written with Kranz's subtle personality and narrated beautifully by Campbell.
If you're interested in aeronautics or the history of the US space race, this is a must read.
No, his focuses on too much unnecessary details
The writing is too slow
The story is great but the writing style makes it very boring
Gene Kranz, he was the main man on these missions.
Very good. Although Mr. Kranz would have done a bit better.
Yes but unfortunately I was not given that luxury.
I was really impressed meeting Mr. Kranz on a flight from Houston to Atlanta. So many memories. He is one of my HEROS!
"Fascinating story told by a true NASA legend!"
Absolutely! A storey full of little facts you just can't pick up anywhere else....
I couldn't pick one specific scene, as I honestly enjoyed the whole storey, but I must say the chapters on the Gemini missions really grabbed my interest!
I couldn't put it down....we'll take the headphones out in this case!
A must read (or listen....) for any space enthusiasts!
"Fantastic story of a hero"
No. I've heard it now but would listen to other material about the space shots.
They're all amazing characters: the engineers and of course the astronauts,
He managed to be the voice of Gene Krantz.
Interest and admiration for guys who took big risks to achieve huge things. Not sure it could happen now.
Fascinating to hear the story from the ground crew rather than the astronaut perspective
Apollo 12 - SCE to Aux
By the seat of our pants
A fascinating story. I've read a lot of books by astronauts but this is the first by a member of the ground crew. Kranz made famous through being one of the flight controllers on Apollo 13 who "got the crew home" does an excellent job of taking us through the story from the initial Mercury missions, taking in all the highs and lows along the way through Gemini to the heyday of Apollo. An inspiring story of men made from the right stuff.
"So make sure you get to the end"
So how did they really get to the Moon with sixties technology. A fascinating read with a lot of 'superhero team work' reminders but failure to get to the end is not the option to take. The 'right stuff' for mission controllers everywhere.
This is a very technical account of what has happened with the US space program. This is delivered in a bit dry manner in which it is difficult to be excited about this book. Too many abbreviations and too many technical details in which is missing the great.
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