Failure Is Not an Option by Gene Kranz

Failure Is Not an Option

By Gene Kranz

  • Release Date: 2001-02-21
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4.5
From 95 Ratings
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This memoir of a veteran NASA flight director tells riveting 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.

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 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.

A fascinating firsthand account by a veteran mission controller of one of America’s greatest achievements, Failure is Not an Option 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.


  • Awesome

    By Fermin Diaz
    This book is a masterpiece, I have learned a lot of the History of Nasa and the space programs, without doubt one of the best books I’ve ever read.
  • Good

    By Louralf
    Its a great story but has a great deal of esoteric vocab and endless acronyms.
  • Excellent Memoir

    By Tim_Fast
    Learned much about the personal side of the man who, to most of America, is the face of NASA's Mission Control. Most focus is naturally on the Apollo program, but fair time is given to the earlier Mercury & Gemini programs. Gene openly shares the pain & horror of the Apollo 1 tragedy, and how the NASA team rebounded to become even stronger. Would've liked to hear more about overcoming the Challenger accident, as I know he was in mission control that day too, but little is mentioned. Overall, I just loved it.
  • Great read

    By I need to tell you...
    Could not put it down. Great point of view and flow to the book.
  • Space, the final frontier

    By DerTrommler
    An al around great book about all the details of manned spaceflight from the first days of the Mercury program through splashdown of Apollo 17. Kranz does a fine job of pointing out and praising every person who played a critical role in any mission. There are a lot of names in this book and the author had nothing but great things to say about any of them, a refreshing attitude in this day and age. The book leaves you with a sad feeling considering the current state of this country's attitude towards space. Fortunately there's enough passion in the storytelling to make you hope and believe that there are people out there who want the country to get back to achieving it's full potential as a world leader in space as opposed to just hitching a ride when some other country wants to go. Overall a great read with plenty of details that are more fun to consume through a book than through a google search.
  • Good

    By jeffgordonisbest
    This was a very good book for people who like the history of the NASA space program