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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read after reading all the astronauts' books.
Gene Kranz's book tells a similar story, as told in books by Eugene Cerman, Scott Carpenter, and Chris Kraft, without being dominated by the author's ego. The others wrote good books. But Kranz avoids using personal attacks to tell his tale. The antidotes differ from those in other stories, as Kranz does not have a Boy Scout image to preserve. However, Kranz covers...
Published on Feb. 4 2004 by Eric B. Smith

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Choppy writing style
The primary problem with this book is Kranz's choppy writing style. In several paragraphs he can be telling an emotional story, or giving facinating details about a launch, then literally in the next paragraph talk about how he cuts his hair! Right out of left field...
Read this book first, then read Lost Moon by Jim Lovell, and finally The Right Stuff by Tom...
Published on June 14 2000 by Jack PM


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read after reading all the astronauts' books., Feb. 4 2004
By 
Eric B. Smith (NE Iowa) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond (Hardcover)
Gene Kranz's book tells a similar story, as told in books by Eugene Cerman, Scott Carpenter, and Chris Kraft, without being dominated by the author's ego. The others wrote good books. But Kranz avoids using personal attacks to tell his tale. The antidotes differ from those in other stories, as Kranz does not have a Boy Scout image to preserve. However, Kranz covers mission control only through Apollo 17.
This book is an excellent story of the space race from the ground.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical book brings a new perspective on the apollo program, June 1 2014
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I really enjoyed this book, I read several that were similar to it but Failure is not an option brings to the spotlight a side of the space program that we don't hear about often. The mission control.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mercury to Apollo: the inside scoop on the US space program, Sept. 14 2003
By 
Govindan Nair (Vienna, VA United States) - See all my reviews
In my boyhoood, I collected news clippings of space flights like some others collected stamps. While I knew of the the complete or near-disasters of Apollo 1 and 13 which never escaped media attention, I could not imagine how many more instances of nervous questions there were on the ground at Mission Control Center (MCC) during many of the celebrated successful space shots.
Gene Kranz's book provides an insider's view into the inner workings of MCC, all the way from the Mercury program to the final Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Probably better suited than almost any one else to tell this story on how things looked from the ground, Kranz worked his career in NASA up to Flight Director, including for the memorable Apollo 11 and 13 flights which provide some of the most dramatic passages in the book. While the world savored the euphoria of the first men landing on the moon, Kranz tells of how he and his team were worrying about near fatal computer problems with the lunar lander. Most readers will be familiar with the Apollo 13 episode which was well enacted on the big screen with Tom Hanks , but Kranz's book provides some of the finer detail that the movie misses.
The book not only provides flight details of the manned spaced shots, but discuss some of the important management and technical issues which need to be resolved to move from Mercury through Gemini and Apollo. Kranz's epilogue concludes with some of his broader observatons and recommendations for future space policy.
Readers will be struck by the authoritarian and disciplined management style in the program, which Kranz does not easily hide. The author would probably have done well to use a ghostwriter or good editor. But apart from its prose which lacks elegance and an easy flow, this book provides an illuminating insight into how such a complex management feat was accomplished.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!, March 24 2003
By 
C. Pack "book/music junkie" (St. Augustine, FL) - See all my reviews
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I picked up this book out of interest in the Apollo program (thanks to Ron Howard and Tom Hanks). I just wanted more details, but found out I have an interest in the entire space program. This auto-biography of Gene Kranz's years at NASA reads like a well-written novel. It's a great first hand account of the early years of the space program. From Mercury to the final days of Apollo, this book is a fast paced thrill ride from start to finish. It shows the unwavering intelligence, engenuity and shear willpower of the American people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A super adventure for those of us who weren't there, Jan. 21 2003
By A Customer
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, particularly since I was born in 1965, and as a result was only vaguely aware of all the events that led to landing a man on the moon. The contrasts between now and then, particularly in computers and communication give you an even better appreciation for the ingenuity and determination of astronauts and mission control alike.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond, Aug. 8 2002
By A Customer
When the heroic American astronauts of the '60s and '70s inquired, "Houston, do you read?" it was often Krantz's team who answered from the ground. Veteran NASA flight controller Krantz (portrayed by Ed Harris in the film Apollo 13) has written a personable memoir, one that follows his and NASA's careers from the start of the space race through "the last lunar strike," Apollo 17 (1972-1973). Krantz's story opens in the world of the first U.S. space scientists, of exploding Mercury-Atlas rockets, flaming escape towers and "the first rule of flight control": "If you don't know what to do, don't do anything!" Its climax is Apollo 13, with Krantz serving as "lead flight director" and helping to save the trapped astronauts' lives. His account of that barely averted disaster evokes the adrenalized mood of the flight controllers and the technical problems ("gimbal lock," oxygen status, return trajectories) that had to be solved for the astronauts to survive. Elsewhere in these often-gripping pages we learn of the quarrels that almost derailed Gemini 9A's spacewalk; "the best leaders the program ever had," among them George Mueller, who revived NASA after a 1966 launchpad fire; the forest of internal acronyms and argot ("Go-NoGo," "all-up," EVA, the Trench, CSM, GNC, FIDO, RETRO, GUIDO); and the combination of teamwork and expertise that made the moon landings possible. 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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This is the kind of book you want to like., July 11 2002
This review is from: Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond (Hardcover)
"They made it look easy," said a reviewer for another Apollo book, and it's true. When I was a kid, I loved to watch the space program - I realized it was dangerous - but the sheer amount of hard work needed to pull it off never dawned on me. This is a book by one of the guys who made it look easy.
The author seems pretty straight-up, dedicated, hard working, decent.
The topic is interesting, and the author well-placed to describe the inner workings of the space program.
I love that he wrote the book himself, without the polish of a ghostwriter. Seems like unabashed, unvarnished straight goods.
Perversely, the lack of polish is probably the book's biggest drawback.
However there are lots of interesting goodies about Mercury and Gemini, in addition to Apollo.
Also, I never realized how important a military background seemed to be in the program. It was a civilian program, but a good number of people seemed to have been ex-military. I found myself wondering how I would shape up.
I had a good chuckle with some of his comments on engineers - I'm sure I've given the same "non-answers" myself many times.
Some slight negatives:
I thought he might have described some of the background information better.
I was looking for some idea of how NASA was organized - how did they manage to pull off something so complex? The book doesn't spend a lot of time explaining job titles and such - which at first, seemed frustrating - but maybe that is the answer, that organizational charts and bureaucracy don't really matter - dedication and competency do matter.
Curiously, post-Apollo events get little coverage, but many other books have the same fault. I would look forward to seeing a post-Apollo book by the same author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great account from the inside. Super stuff!, July 8 2002
By 
Jack W. Crenshaw "bird lover" (Saint Johns, FL) - See all my reviews
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No one who saw "Apollo 13" can forget the heroic image of Ed Harris, as the man in the white vest, who held the team of Apollo controllers together and made the safe return of the three astronauts happen, against all odds. Now read the true account, written by the real hero, whose story is even more heroic than you dreamed.
I myself got in on the ground floor, joining NASA in 1959 to help send men to the Moon. It was my life's work for the next 10-12 years. But I had no idea what Chris Kraft and Gene Kranz were doing, and only the vaguest notion of the flight control center they helped to create. What they did was nothing less than to create a whole new engineering discipline: that of the space flight controller. It was a monumental achievement, one that changed history. It also took a level of dedication to excellence and to purpose that few humans in the history of mankind have ever experienced.
Everyone needs to read this book, if for no other reason than to understand the things mankind is capable of, when we set our minds to it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good bit of history, July 7 2002
By 
WhoWasJohnG "basementofbooks" (Morganville, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond (Hardcover)
Gene's account provides historical background to the development of the backroom operations of the space flight, thing that he made glamorous. His TV appearance on the Apolo 13 was more forceful, the book is subdued and at time repititious. On the whole it's a readable account, particularly for those who are trying to round out the events.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, April 24 2002
By 
"kensmishka" (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
Gene Kranz not only helped to bring home the Apollo 13 crew, he was part of Mission Control from day one. He explains in detail how he and many others "wrote the manual" for space flight operations. You realize how critical it is to be perfect when you're a flight controller, and a bad day at work could mean death to a crew thousands of miles away. Kranz tells his story in such a way, that you don't have to be a mathematical engineer to understand how we really pushed our luck in achieving our ultimate goal... The Lunar Landing.
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