I was too small to remember much of the feelings around the world when the news broke that Apollo 13 had had an explosion onboard, and the crew's safety was in doubt. By all accounts the whole world seemed to hold its collective breath until the command module splashed down.
In this book the inside anxiety of the crew, as well as all at mission control and their contractors is conveyed. It is really a story of how everyone---hundreds, if not thousands of people---pulled together to save the lives of three men, left drifting in space with dangerously low resources. The inventiveness of solving each problem is amazing; and the problems kept mounting. Carbondioxide poisoning, skewed trajectories, no navigation computers, potentially damaged rockets, doubtful heatshield. At each stage the team worked the problem as best they could with inventiveness and true grit; never giving up. The explanation of the accident's cause is as intriguing as the tale itself (glossed over in the film), and serves as warning to all who work on safety critical system.
It is a true American tale---a success in failure, as it showed how America could "organize and measure the best of [thier] energies and skills" as Kennedy said at Rice University.
This collaborative effort between the commander of Apollo 13, Jim Lovell, and Jeff Kluger makes for a terrific read and captures the feeling of the times wonderfully. A tale which is now part of American history.