Customer Review

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable Time, Men, Women, And Accomplishments, 12 Dec. 2002
This review is from: Failure is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond (Thorndike Paperback Bestsellers) (Paperback)
The fact that Apollo 13 did not appear in the book until page 306 of 380 pages put a great deal of NASA and their missions in perspective for me.

Apollo 13 is well known by those who remember, and a generation that learned about it through the movie, and great books like, Tom Lovell's, "Lost Moon",. I hope as many people know about the tragedy of Apollo 1, and The Challenger is still rather fresh in the public's mind.

Apollo 13 was an incredible accomplishment by all involved, and the 3 men who persevered to make it back are nothing short of remarkable. Those on the ground took everything so personally, but the crew actually had to live through it. However, the book puts this mission into perspective by taking the reader through the Mercury and Gemini programs as well.

Alan Shepard was the first to climb on a rocket that had a bad habit of exploding. I don't know what the "Right Stuff" actually is, but he had to made from it. And the Mercury Astronauts that followed all had experiences that were way up on the terror scale for non-astronauts/test pilots. That is one of the most eye opening parts of this book, every mission was so new, that the majority had problems that were potentially fatal.

You will read about the first moon landing, I never knew what happened on that one. Manned mission hit by lightening, a mission coming back with engines still on because who knew if the heat shield was still there. Every mission is just incredible from the complexity, and despite this, the rate of success.

I especially admired the manner that Mr. Kranz discussed the blown hatch on Gus Grissom's flight. The movie did a grave injustice to a man who subsequently died doing his job. The factual stories are incredible, taking liberties with what happened for dramatic effect are not necessary, and, in this case cruel.

The way the Mission Control people worked together, trusted one another, and took responsibility for their actions, is better than any management book I have ever read. The young age and the responsibility that people in their 20's had was remarkable.

Mr. Kranz and all those like him are role models; their integrity and personal commitment were total. They gave this Country over a decade, a type of pride that was unique, and they did it with a special kind of class.

Long before the politicians got around to it, this group was far ahead of the human relations curve. The final Lunar Landing included a gesture that could only be made by the USA, as we were the only Country to plant 6 flags there, and had the selflessness to pay tribute to a group that you will have to read the book to learn about. I don't believe many Countries would have done it, and I suppose it really was not a Country, as much as the men and women acknowledging what is and what is not important.

An exceptional memoir!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Dec 2010 19:32:16 GMT
Bedinog says:
Another execllent review. I'm assuming your reference to the harsh treatment of Gus Grissom is the portrayal of his Mercury flight in the film 'The Right Stuff'.
Also, a minor matter- the author of 'Lost Moon' was Jim, not Tom, Lovell.
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