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on December 20, 2015
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on May 17, 2015
The "personal journal" writing style is difficult to stay engaged with. It's a shame, as the core material of the 'ops'-centric subject matter is where the excitement and drama of the early space program happens.

It's an easy quick ready... though I found myself often flipping between my other ebooks prior to finishing this one (i.e: 'get this one out of the way').
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on November 30, 2014
Great book! Told by the man who created the history. I lived through the space age, having been born in 1947. I listened to Sputnik on my dad's shortwave radio(he was an amateur radio buff), and I stood mesmerized as we were able to watch it pass overhead. That started, my love of space and man's greatest adventures. To read the details of the background provided by Gene Kranz was fantastic.
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on June 1, 2014
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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on February 4, 2004
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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on September 14, 2003
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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on March 24, 2003
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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on January 21, 2003
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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on September 16, 2002
I enjoyed reading this book, especially that Mr. Kranz wrote it himself without the help of a ghost writer. Once you get over the fact that this author clearly thinks of himself as a hero, and wants to remind the reader of his personal accomplishments once or twice a chapter, this book contains alot of very interesting information related to the early days of NASA.
This was clearly a dynamic time, full of technological developments born out of a need at NASA. A time worthy of such an interesting book.
I was disappointed that although the cover talks about events through to the 80's there was no lengthy discussion on events after the Apollo program. There nothing discussing the events of the Challenger disaster, a period in which NASA operations pushed a "Failure Is The Only Option" approach. But this would fly in the face of the NASA Mr. Kranz believes that he helped to create.
All in all: a good book to read, about a remarkable time, from a man with an enormous ego.
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on August 7, 2002
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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