Fascinating. This book is a fascinating tale of Gene Kranz’s early years at NASA, where he rose from being one of the initial Flight Controllers for the first Mercury missions to being the Lead Flight Director for both the first Lunar landing and the Apollo 13 explosion. The story ends after the Apollo program is scrapped, and the book then introduces its singular MASSIVE flaw, that resulted in me docking it a star. In the final chapter, Kranz takes himself from the hero just doing his job of his experience with Apollo to the bitter old man who just retired 20 years later when he is writing this book and making “recommendations” about the state of NASA during the 90s. His critique of the early days of the International Space Station in particular sounds particularly hollow nearly 20 years later, while former ISS Commander Scott Kelly is still being studied after his Year In Space mission (which contrasts nicely against some of Kranz’s early missions of putting Alan Shepherd in space for just 15 minutes). Overall a great book, just ignore the last chapter to have a happier experience.
This review of Failure Is Not an Option by Gene Kranz was originally published on May 13, 2018.