Failure Is Not an Option

  • by Gene Kranz
  • Narrated by Danny Campbell
  • 18 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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What the Critics Say

"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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A must have for any fan of man's journey to the mo

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes I would. I enjoyed learning about the space program from someone in the trenches, not a textbook.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Failure Is Not an Option?

Mr. Kranz's account of Apollo 1 & 13. Also his epilogue


What about Danny Campbellā€™s performance did you like?

Great voice and delivery. told the story well.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Too many to mention here


Any additional comments?

If you ever wanted to know what truly happened in mission control through Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, the good the bad and the ugly, get this book.

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- Joe

A great documentary!

I lived through the manned space program as a participant....from the contractor's point of view. Gene Kranz's pivotal position in the middle of the events of that era gave him an outstanding position from which to describe them. And his telling of the fraternity of "controllers" gave my new insight into the events as seen from an insider.
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- Mike

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-29-2011
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio