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Download Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond Audiobook, by Gene Kranz Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.95222222222222 out of 53.95222222222222 out of 53.95222222222222 out of 53.95222222222222 out of 53.95222222222222 out of 5 3.95 (27 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gene Kranz Narrator: Danny Campbell Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2011 ISBN: 9781452673905
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Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America's manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA's Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race. He helped to launch Alan Shepard and John Glenn, then assumed the flight director's role in the Gemini program, which he guided to fruition. With his teammates, he accepted the challenge to carry out President John F. Kennedy's commitment to land a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s. Kranz was flight director for both Apollo 11, the mission in which Neil Armstrong fulfilled President Kennedy's pledge, and Apollo 13. He headed the Tiger Team that had to figure out how to bring the three Apollo 13 astronauts safely back to Earth. (In the film Apollo 13, Kranz was played by the actor Ed Harris, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance.) In Failure Is Not an Option, Gene Kranz recounts these thrilling historic events and offers new information about the famous flights. What appeared as nearly flawless missions to the moon were, in fact, a series of hair-raising near misses. When the space technology failed, as it sometimes did, the controllers' only recourse was to rely on their skills and those of their teammates. Kranz takes us inside Mission Control and introduces us to some of the whiz kids-still in their twenties, only a few years out of college-who had to figure it all out as they went along, creating a great and daring enterprise. He reveals behind-the-scenes details to demonstrate the leadership, discipline, trust, and teamwork that made the space program a success. Finally, Kranz reflects on what has happened to the space program and offers his own bold suggestions about what we ought to be doing in space now. This is a fascinating firsthand account written by a veteran mission controller of one of America's greatest achievements. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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. Publishers Weekly
  • “An engaging behind-the-scenes memoir, a welcome contribution to the history of space flight.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “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 Kranz has.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “These incredible stories will thrill listeners of all ages…Campbell’s delivery is steady and focused; he keeps listeners engaged for the duration of the book.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 2/20/2014

    " You know how I keep saying I'll review things later? That. Plus, I need to actually get around to doing that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betsy | 2/14/2014

    " While the astronauts were getting the glory of magazine covers and trips to the White House, members of the ground crew in Houston were quietly keeping the space program in motion. Gene Kranz, perhaps best known for serving as Flight Director during Apollo 13, was a sharp, well-respected manager and team leader. He began with NASA during the Mercury program and rose to great success within the organization. While this is a great autobiography for space buffs, it's also a great guidebook for business leaders, especially those who manage project teams. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 JParsons1974 Parsons | 2/5/2014

    " Give this book to someone who wants to be a leader. Kranzs' book is the Right Stuff for the Geek crowd. This book is a good a history of the early space program. Its also a book about leading during crisis. I wish I had read it when I was young. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex | 12/28/2013

    " Very good if sometimes dry account of the space race. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Holli | 12/21/2013

    " I really enjoyed reading this book. Ever since I saw the movie "Apollo 13", I've been interested in the history of space flight and the great heroism portrayed in that movie. What I found out reading this book was that the whole space program from the beginning was filled with heroism and dedication and hard work and patriotism. It was fascinating to read of the various missions and how they worked through the problems to succeed and protect the lives of those involved. He includes a lot of technical detail about the space craft and the missions that I often skimmed through - a bit too technical for my interest - otherwise I probably would have given it four stars. A great read. What an amazing time period and efforts put forth by a great group of people. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 12/13/2013

    " Great book...a real time capsule...reveals the importance of the human element. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marisa Lyden geraghty | 10/9/2013

    " Really puts into perspective just how amazing it was to launch a man into space, and then land on the moon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve Fischer | 8/18/2013

    " I loved to read and remember the courage and honor and committment that all the men that helped us reach the moon had. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 7/8/2013

    " Very interesting book, it's amazing how much NASA got done with what can only be seen as primitive technology. Getting to the moon was a much bigger accomplishment than I ever realized. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ed K | 11/21/2012

    " A good history of the early manned space program by one of the most important people involved in it. A little dry at times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lance | 11/3/2012

    " Excellent telling of the origins of NASA and the space race. Really gives a feel for all the behind the scenes action and how the space agencey really works. A definate re-read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hillary | 7/16/2012

    " It is about the early space program. How could it be bad?! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jesse | 4/21/2012

    " Great book that shows the inside of Mission control all throughout the early space program right up to the moon landing and beyond until apollo 17. Written by the guy who was played by Ed Harris in Apollo 13. This was a lot of fun to read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martijn | 12/21/2011

    " A very inspirational book, and a testament to a time of great technological acchievements. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Craig | 12/7/2011

    " Too technical. Gave up halfway through the book as I found other histories of the Space Race that were more enjoyable to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patrick | 9/29/2011

    " An interesting account of the early days in the space program. What I found interesting is the fact that every launch had problems and difficulties. But, these difficulties did not stop the endeavor. I found the book a bit technical at times, but it was a good insight by some in the know. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Perry | 8/9/2011

    " An excellent first person narrative / biography from the start to the end of the beginning of the American space program. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 JParsons1974 | 8/4/2011

    " Give this book to someone who wants to be a leader. Kranzs' book is the Right Stuff for the Geek crowd. This book is a good a history of the early space program. Its also a book about leading during crisis. I wish I had read it when I was young. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bill | 8/3/2011

    " If you are or ever have been a NASA geek this is a must read. Gene Kranz has always been one of my favorite people in the NASA story (in his ever present mission vest) and the story from his viewpoint is engaging. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 3/22/2011

    " One of the best non-fiction books I've ever read. A true behind the scenes look at the space program. The real story behind the personalities and decisions that formed our quest for information and exploration. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aaron | 12/21/2010

    " Hands-down the best book about the united states' journey into space. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth S | 10/11/2010

    " Immensely interesting to read. As some other reviewers have said, the book is sometimes more technical than many readers would enjoy. But it didn't bother me. Just too interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 9/26/2010

    " A great story about Kranz himself as well as the Apollo program. His narrative had that "pinch me, I can't believe I fortunate enough to be in this position." Humble and insightful. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Craig | 9/12/2010

    " Too technical. Gave up halfway through the book as I found other histories of the Space Race that were more enjoyable to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 9/5/2010

    " Great book...a real time capsule...reveals the importance of the human element. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lance | 7/19/2010

    " Excellent telling of the origins of NASA and the space race. Really gives a feel for all the behind the scenes action and how the space agencey really works. A definate re-read. "

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About the Author

Gene Kranz is a former NASA Mission Control flight director and the corecipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work leading the Apollo 13 teams.

About the Narrator

Danny Campbell is an actor who has appeared in CBS’ The Guardian, the films A Pool, a Fool, and a Duel and Greater Than Gravity, and in over twenty-five commercials. Winner of two AudioFile Earphones Awards, he has narrated Once a Spy by Keith Thomson and read the part of David Foster Wallace in Mike Lipsky’s Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, among many others. He is a member of the adjunct faculty in the theater arts department at Santa Monica College.