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Failure Is Not an Option Audiobook

Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond

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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (1447 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer New York 09-25-16
    Amazon Customer New York 09-25-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Great Story written by an Outstanding Man"
    What did you like best about this story?

    I was fascinated by the story of the missions, but Kranz's "voice" as an author carried this out of the ballpark. He's inspiring in his lack of ego, his obvious respect for his team, and his respect for the missions. I love hearing about this time of great triumph told by a man who doesn't revel in himself, but in what we as a people were able to do.

    I highly recommend this. I didn't find it dry, in the least. A basic knowledge of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions will make this more exciting, as you will already have the astronauts' stories-- the story of the huge team behind them becomes even more important.

    Kranz as a person is the greatest part of this for me. I found it to be a kind of "self help" book in that he models so many qualities that we might strive to have, but it's not boring like self-help books, nor is it egotistical. (I think of those self-congratulatory tomes and TED talks in which people tell me all about how great they are in the guise of telling me how to be a better person.)

    For Kranz, we are in it for each other, for our nation -- for the mission -- not for ourselves. We admit to our mistakes, and we work to do better constantly. Failure is not an option in that context.

    Great story! Great book! Great author!

    Darned exciting stuff, too! It inspires.

    The Audible narration is right on the money, too.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fred Schmidt 05-18-17 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "fantastic work!"

    excellent! well written and read. it is a great telling of one of The United States' greatest accomplishments!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josh Boyle 05-11-17
    Josh Boyle 05-11-17 Member Since 2016
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    11
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    "inspiring!"

    everyone should read about these amazing Adventures, trials, and successes in the United States Space Program as recalled by Gene Kranz. Gene is a vivid storyteller and there were many times where I felt like I was there with him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dustin HOUSTON, TEXAS, United States 05-07-17
    Dustin HOUSTON, TEXAS, United States 05-07-17 Member Since 2012
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    "Very informative"

    Well worth listening too! Not that I previously didn't respect what NASA accomplished but this book makes me want to learn more about them!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-03-17 Member Since 2014
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    9
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    "Great book with a depth of information. "

    This book is an inspiration in what our country can do and the vision of the men who got us there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonda Springtown, TX, United States 03-31-17
    Rhonda Springtown, TX, United States 03-31-17 Member Since 2015
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    "the story of us."

    i grew up with these guys as my mentors. the air force granted me a job fueling titan 2 icbm's in arizona silos while mr cranz was launching Gemini.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samuel Williams 03-29-17
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    "Must read for anyone interested in outer space"

    Was emotionally overcome several times, shed a tear when the eagle landed. Shows behind the scenes of the space race and takes emotional journey through highs and lows and tense moments. Makes you appreciate how much the human factor matters and how it can overcome even the most daunting challenges.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KieferSkunk Covington, WA 03-17-17
    KieferSkunk Covington, WA 03-17-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Great book, but somewhat dry narration"

    "Failure Is Not an Option" is a great recollection of the early days of Mission Control, and Gene Kranz is unquestionably one of the most important pioneers of the US space program. This book draws you in and puts you right there in the control room with all of the flight controllers, directors and press, watching as they solve complex and time-critical problems. Kranz's pride in his crew and passion for aeronautics and space show through in virtually every page.

    My only complaint is that I found Mr. Campbell's performance a little dry, given the subject matter. Narrative pacing felt a little too mechanical at times, and I don't believe Campbell handled the author's parenthetical explanations and asides all that well - most often these were spoken in the same inflection and speed as the surrounding text, throwing off the pacing a bit. But otherwise, Campbell did a great job with this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in space exploration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy S 03-09-17
    Cindy S 03-09-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Failure"

    Very disappointed. The story was mostly boring with occasional interesting parts. Too much technical and not enough human. The narrator was boring and almost monotone. Plus it drove me crazy that he couldn't pronounce "Houston" or "rendezvous" correctly; two words that are used frequently.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shane 02-24-17
    Shane 02-24-17 Member Since 2014
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    22
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    "Don't wait, just read. now."

    This book was so dang exciting. well written. Such a rich history. At certain points I was actually cheering out loud holding onto my steering wheel listening on the edge of my seat. I want more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Guy B
    11/23/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "amazing"

    though and competent. a mantra from a great man. great book and great audio book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • E. A. Williams
    England
    6/28/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A hero of a man experiencing incredible NASA times"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. This is not only the insights into the life of an incredible man, but he takes us behind closed doors into the most exciting and pivotal moments in NASA and mankind's history in space.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Gene Kranz - he is my hero, because of the respectful manner in which he deals with people, the incredible leadership skills he has in enabling teams to work in pressured situations that none of us are likely to ever experience again, without any fear/blame - in fact, to quite the contrary: relieving them of fear/pressure and enabling them to perform to the best of their abilities. I've learnt a lot previously about how Gene manages people and have applied that to my own teams - as a result, I always create high performing, motivated teams. He is my life-hero.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    I love how he speaks to his teams and the pride he has with them - the book describes the pride with which he puts on the White Flight waistcoats his wife made for him for each mission, and how they became the badge of honour for his teams and the signal that things were about to begin. I love the way he describes the support for Apollo 13, his calmness and supportive approach of asking people to be careful and 'let's not make it any worse by guessing'. His descriptions of the loss of the space shuttles and the impact that had on those in Mission Control is amazing. I just love this book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely. And will listen to over and over again.


    Any additional comments?

    Please get it back into the availability Library so others can read it. It is a work of historical importance, documenting times that have gone and will never return. What people in NASA did during this time period was absolutely amazing (putting people on another planet with less computing power than is now in a mobile phone). Mankind will never, ever do this again in this way - it is an incredibly important historical document, and gives an insight into the life of an amazing, incredible man who was part of those amazing times that have now gone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • james kirkup
    6/14/16
    Overall
    "inspiring"

    great listening. easily understandable to the non astronaut! worth a re listen. "we are GO!"

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chris Tech
    3/18/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good listen"

    The book is a great timeline of the history of NASA and the forgotten controllers who made it all happen.

    Gripping, especially during the Apollo 1,11 & 13 chapters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anonymous
    1/15/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too much detail?"

    An interesting perspective on America's early space programme, but presented with too much detail for those with a casual interest. Perhaps one for those with a more specific interest in Mission Control!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Michael
    2/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Team builder and leader"
    Would you listen to Failure Is Not an Option again? Why?

    It's about cutting edge leadership, under tough conditions. Today leadership is so badly understood. Usually companies employ matcho men who have little substance and little ability. Zranz shows leadership at it's best. We all remember the 3 who got to the moon. We should also remember the team on the ground, who sustained the 3.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joseph
    12/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating story told by a true NASA legend!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely! A storey full of little facts you just can't pick up anywhere else....


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    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!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I couldn't put it down....we'll take the headphones out in this case!


    Any additional comments?

    A must read (or listen....) for any space enthusiasts!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • PJ
    United Kingdom
    5/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic story of a hero"
    Would you listen to Failure Is Not an Option again? Why?

    No. I've heard it now but would listen to other material about the space shots.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    They're all amazing characters: the engineers and of course the astronauts,


    What about Danny Campbell’s performance did you like?

    He managed to be the voice of Gene Krantz.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Interest and admiration for guys who took big risks to achieve huge things. Not sure it could happen now.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • avidreader
    Edinburgh, Lothian United Kingdom
    2/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Compelling listening"
    What made the experience of listening to Failure Is Not an Option the most enjoyable?

    Fascinating to hear the story from the ground crew rather than the astronaut perspective


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Failure Is Not an Option?

    Apollo 12 - SCE to Aux


    Which character – as performed by Danny Campbell – was your favourite?

    Gene Kranz


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    By the seat of our pants


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steve
    SE England
    12/21/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So make sure you get to the end"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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