Staff Reviews


Failure is Not an Option

Failure is Not an Option

By Gene Kranz

“ What appeared as nearly flawless missions to the Moon were, in fact, a series of hair-raising near misses. ”

    This memoir of a veteran NASA flight director tells riveting action packed stories from the early days of the Mercury program through Apollo 11 (the moon landing) and Apollo 13, for both of which Kranz was flight director.    As a flight director in NASA’s Mission Control, Kranz witnessed first-hand the making of history. 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.   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 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. He reveals behind-the-scenes details to demonstrate the leadership, discipline, trust, and teamwork that made the space program a success.    FINAO is a fascinating firsthand account by a veteran mission controller of one of America’s greatest achievements and thoroughly recommended for non-fiction readers.

Reviewed by Mr Peter Hillman