Kranz was part of the mission control team that, in January 1961, launched a chimpanzee into space and successfully retrieved him and made Alan Shepard the first American in space in May 1961. Just two months later they launched Gus Grissom for a space orbit, John Glenn orbited Earth three times in February 1962, and in May 1963 Gordon Cooper completed the final Project Mercury launch with 22 Earth orbits. And through them all, and the many Apollo missions that followed, Gene Kranz was one of the integral inside men--one of those who bore the responsibility for the Apollo 1 tragedy and the leader of the "tiger team" that saved the Apollo 13 astronauts.
Moviegoers know Gene Kranz through Ed Harris's Oscar-nominated portrayal of him in Apollo 13, but Kranz provides a more detailed insider's perspective in his book Failure Is Not an Option. You see NASA through his eyes, from its primitive days when he first joined up, through the 1993 shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, his last mission control project. His memoir, however, is not high literature. Kranz has many accomplishments and honours to his credit, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but this is his first book, and he's not a polished author. There are, perhaps, more behind-the-scenes details and more paragraphs devoted to what Cape Canaveral looked like than the general public demands. If, however, you have a long-standing fascination with aeronautics, if you watched Apollo 13 and wanted more, Failure Is Not an Option will fit the bill. --Stephanie Gold
commander, Apollo 13; and author, "Lost Moon" (also published as "Apollo 13)"
There are three kinds of people in the world: those who make things happen...those who watch things happen...and those who wonder what happened. In "Failure Is Not an Option," Gene Kranz is the one who makes things happen. This is the thrilling story of NASA's Mission Control teams that guided the Apollo spacecraft through successful lunar landings and saved the lives of my Apollo 13 crew. Kranz takes you through each exciting flight as crisis after crisis is overcome to add a never-to-be-forgotten chapter to the history of spaceflight.
"An engaging behind-the-scenes memoir, a welcome contribution to the history of space flight." -- John Noble Wilford, The New York Times Book Review
"A blow-by-blow account of heroic teams overcoming adversity...No matter how many times you read the story of the Apollo 11 landing, with computer alarms going off and only seconds of fuel left, it is a heartstopper. Here, Kranz recalls it vividly." -- Alex Roland, The Washington Post
"A rich, behind-the-scenes account of the experts who held the lives of America's first space explorers in their hands." -- Mark Carreau, Houston Chronicle