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)
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!
Very captivating story and narrator. I'm glad it was recommended to me. I will look for other books by the author and narrator.
Great book, really interesting content and well read! A new perspective of space travel history.
Space, as a subject matter, can hardly be beat. Conquering it by sheer National determination is breathtaking! This book is #1 in chronicling that history in detail and emotion.
Kranz weaves a compelling story turning technical detail into an interesting and sometimes exciting read. He shows the triumphs and the pitfalls in the race to the moon from his ring side seat in mission control.
Still, I found the background music of strong American patriotism and idealism very difficult to get through. Readers should be aware this is, in part, commentary on the American political system from right of centre.
(I'm not American though, maybe they go for this kind of thing?)
Was really hoping for something a little more a-political. Something that might mean more to somebody who isn't American.
"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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