bok_rev_needham

bok_rev_needham - Book Review Assignment 16.895 Engineering...

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Book Review Assignment Jennifer Needham 16.895 Engineering Apollo April 2, 2007 Failure is not an Option is the memoirs of Gene Kranz, a pioneer of mission control in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs. Writing almost forty years later, Kranz offers his account of mission control from its beginnings at Cape Canaveral during the Mercury missions, to its growing pains and move to Houston during the Gemini missions, through its maturation and Kranz’s flight controller equivalent of “passing of the torch” during the Apollo missions. In his memoirs, Kranz incorporates personal recollections of conversations, meetings, and decision-making events, and he adds intimate details about his marriage, family, and hobbies during the 1960s. Kranz’s main purpose is to promote the space program by esteeming the experiences of the author and his peers involved in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. Kranz explicitly states this intention at the end of the epilogue, “My wish as I close this book is that one day soon, a new generation of Americans will find the national leadership, the spirit, and the courage to go boldly forward and complete what we started” (p. 384). The author hopes to inspire the public with his memoirs, and in fact, his epilogue is a call-to- action, comparing the “new and bold space achievements” of the past with the current “nation of spectators, unwilling to take risks or act on strong beliefs” (pp. 381-382). The author’s call shows his belief that in contrast to today, men’s dedication and passion for the space program during his tenure in mission control led to great accomplishments in space. Certainly, the author has a handful of secondary objectives in writing his book. Most memoirs are written partly out of the human desire to be remembered and partly to offer a certain perspective on a historical event to be integrated with other accounts. However, Kranz was approached to write his book by his agent, who managed his career in public- speaking to promote space (p. 388), so his memoirs are clearly shaped with a similar objective as his career. Kranz’s desire to demonstrate the dedication and passion of his generation for space
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bok_rev_needham - Book Review Assignment 16.895 Engineering...

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