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Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 6, 1994

4.8 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 6, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly

Astronaut Lovell and Kluger, a contributing editor at Discover magazine, take us on the terrifying voyage of unlucky Apollo 13. Launched in April 1970 and manned by Lovell, Jack Swigert and Jack Haise, Apollo 13 was scheduled to orbit the moon while Lovell and Haise descended to its surface. En route, though, a cyogenic tank exploded, causing a loss of oxygen and power in the command module. Luckily, the LEM, the lunar module that was to land on the moon, was uninjured and the astronauts could survive briefly on its oxygen. What unfolds is a story of courage as the astronauts and the personnel at Mission Control in Houston labored to return the spacecraft to Earth. First, there was the crucial alignment to ascertain the position of the spacecraft. Then came the all-important "burn" to swing the spacecraft around the moon on a "free return" trajectory back to earth. And finally there was the important PC+2 burn to guide the ship to the South Pacific, making sure it would enter Earth's atmosphere precisely-if done wrong the craft would either incinerate or skip into orbit around the sun. Everything went perfectly and Apollo 13 splashed down in the Pacific. This is a gripping and frightening book that commands rapt attention. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The lunar landing mission of Apollo 13, commanded by veteran astronaut Lovell, was to be the crowning accomplishment of his NASA career. However, little more than two days into the flight, an oxygen tank exploded, crippling the service module's electrical system and forcing the crew to abandon their mother ship and use the lunar module as a lifeboat. Lovell and Kluger's account of Mission Control's heroic efforts to figure out a way to bring the crew home safely and the astronauts' race against time in a freezing spacecraft provide the core of this gripping narrative. Shifting from the engineers' struggles in Houston to contractors' efforts across the country to the concerns of the astronauts' families, this work fleshes out Apollo 13's story more fully than earlier accounts (Henry Cooper's Thirteen: The Flight That Failed, LJ 3/15/73) and adds to the growing body of firsthand astronaut accounts of their pioneering flights. Highly recommended.
--Thomas J. Frieling, Bainbridge Coll., Ga.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; 1st edition (September 6, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395670292
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,655,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on July 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Apollo 13 is one of History's great voyages regardless of how long one extends the time frame into the past. If the mission had transpired faultlessly, it still would have qualified for the astonishing, remarkable achievement it would have been. With the malfunctions that cascaded upon the 3 crewmen, they, together with the men and women on the ground, created their own miracle when the splashdown with the 3 crewmembers was completed. The return, in spite of the overwhelming odds that were against them, places this trip in category of great human achievement, even as it is hoped it never need be repeated.
One fact helped to put the trip into perspective for me. If you have a hand held calculator nearby, pick it up. The chances are the computing power you hold in your hand surpasses that available to the crew in their effort to come home. The movie demonstrated this with slid rules and math completed with paper and pencil. The whole event is almost unimaginable.
The book is worth reading because as hard as it may be to fathom, the actual trip was even more hazardous, the problems even more numerous than the movie portrayed. I am not suggesting the movie was flawed, only that it was limited by time for telling the entire story.
I met Mr. John L. Swigert when I was quite young. My memories are limited but I have a picture that was taken with him that is a treasure. Several years ago I heard Mr. Jim Lovell speak, and his remarks confirmed that the actual trip held hazards the movie did not depict. As he related parts of the story the impression was of a man who was always in control, a leader, and utterly confident in the men he flew with, and those they relied so heavily upon at Houston and other ground facilities.
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Format: Hardcover
Jim Lovell's dreams of landing on the moon were literally blown away in April 1970, when an oxygen tank aboard Apollo 13's service module exploded less than a day away from lunar orbit, forcing the crew to limp home under perilous circumstances. More than two decades after surviving that mission, Lovell (with his co-author Jeffrey Kluger) has written an excellent account of that ill-fated moon flight.

LOST MOON is one of the best of the Apollo books I've read, especially one concerning a single mission. This is also one of the best books about the work of mission control, who were the key figures behind the successful return of the crew. It is as complete a description of this mission as we are ever likely to see. The attention to detail is on a very high level, and the amount of transcripted dialogue is plentiful, well presented, and from a myriad of sources. There are a number of slightly testy exchanges between Lovell's crew and mission control, highlighting the tension of the situation in an honest and unapologetic manner. The examination of exactly how the accident happened, as told in the epilogue, is covered exceptionally well.

An aspect of the book that bothered me was the decision to use a third-person narrative throughout (which is defended unconvincingly in the author's notes). I had never before read any autobiographical account in which the central figure is treated in the third person. Basically, I was looking forward to reading Lovell's descriptions of events using his own voice and experience, and that didn't quite happen. To read Lovell -- one of the most engaging personalities of all the early astronauts -- diminished by such an impersonal, veiled perspective was disappointing.
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Format: Hardcover
Lovell writes a gripping account of the space mission that almost made him a permanent fixture in the heavens.
Apollo 13 grabbed the attention of the world and brought back to a confident nation the danger and great risk associated with exploration. On its way to the moon, a tank blew out, causing a partial systems failure and raising the possibility that the three man crew might not be able to return safely to earth -- or even intercept our planet to try a reentry. (they faced the very real possibility of skipping off of the earth's atmosphere and traveling forever through the cosmos).
Although filled with technical talk, this book is very much a human story. It is filled with heros: the astornauts, the men at Mission Control who guided them safely back and the wives who very publicly waited to see if their husbands might be martyred to our scientific ambitions. Lovell puts this all very much into perspective. He gives excellent background of his preparation as well as the planning for the mission. The critical days aboard the spacecraft and at Mission Control as all of the problems associated with bringing him back alive are solved are as fascinating and as absorbing as any Tom Clancy novel.
Lovell tells a great story in a superb manner
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Format: Hardcover
Right up front: I'm not a techno geek and I rarely read non-fiction books. But I've long been interested in astronomy and particularly the Apollo program. After seeing Apollo 13 (the movie) about 4 times, I decided to look into some books for a more accurate account of that particular mission. I got this one because Jim Lovell helped write it. After I got it, I found out the movie was based on this book and it was interesting and amusing to note the differences between the two.
Despite my "handicap," I found this book to be highly readable and much more gripping than the movie. I polished it off in about three days. On the other hand, I'm not sure how much I would have understood if I hadn't seen the movie and known (from history) the basic plot. There was also some biographical information about Jim Lovell that I found extraneous to this particular account and some stuff left out that I would have found interesting (like training for the actual moon walk which wasn't even really touched on). An appendix at the end with suggested further reading would also have been a nice touch.
But the two authors do a remarkable job of taking what was basically a technological catastrophe and putting a very real and very human face on it. This is a book I am sure I will read again.
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