Sunday, November 11, 2007

Removed from TBR, with a tinge of sadness

Most people's favorite movie is something normal, like Gone with the Wind, or the Star Wars trilogy, or Citizen Kane. My choice is a little more offbeat. I've loved Apollo 13 ever since it came out. I've probably seen it over 100 times. Because of that movie, I planned last year's vacation around a shuttle launch (scrapped, unfortunately).

I think the real hero of that movie, and of the corresponding real-life saga, was flight director Gene Krantz. Through a combination of expertise, steely determination and excellent team management, he was able to address each problem as it arose in order to bring the astronauts home safely. The government agreed with me; he won a Congressional Medal of Freedom for his role in the mission.

So it was with a lot of excitement that I purchased his autobiography, Failure is not an Option. I was looking forward to reading the inside stories of the Apollo and Mercury programs, from the perspective of one who'd been there, not that of Hollywood. I moved it from apartment to apartment for nearly seven years before finally sitting down and giving it a real shot. I did not get far.

The early parts of the book are extremely technical, and fairly dry for such an exciting topic. Tech junkies would probably love the book, and perhaps that's who it's aimed at. Maybe one day I, too, will push through to read the more human tales of the moon landing, the launchpad fire, and the tense days of Apollo 13. I'm not going to sell the book yet, or anything like that. But for now, it's pretty far down on my TBR list.

Loyal readers, if anyone out there can recommend a book about the space program that might be more along the lines of what I'm looking for, leave me a comment!

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