LOST MOON

THE PERILOUS VOYAGE OF APOLLO 13

In another of this year's lunar memorial volumes, Lovell, commander of Apollo 13, vividly recalls that nearly disastrous moon mission in superb, measured, dramatic prose. It was to have been NASA's third lunar landing. But on April 13, 1970, almost 56 hours and 200,000 miles away from Earth, an explosion aboard the spacecraft left astronauts Lovell, Fred Haise, and John Swigert with almost no power and less than two hours' worth of oxygen. If something wasn't done, the three men would soon suffocate and the crippled craft would continue in an ``absurd, egg-shaped orbit...for millennia.'' While the world watched and waited, inescapable comparisons were drawn with the January 1967 tragedy in which Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White were killed in an explosion during a dress rehearsal for the first manned Apollo mission. The authors (Kluger is a contributing editor of Discover) provide a gripping version of that event and an excellent history of the whole Apollo program. Lovell had been on Apollo 8, the first manned ``trans-lunar journey,'' and his description of his initial glimpse of the moon as the spacecraft began orbit is extraordinary. But sightseeing was far from his mind when Apollo 13 went haywire. The scientists at Mission Control, those ``responsible for keeping the mechanical organism alive in a place that it really had no business being,'' put the spacecraft through a series of maneuvers that they could only hope would return the astronauts safely. Lovell and his men, meanwhile, abandoned ship, climbing into the tiny but intact lunar excursion module (LEM), where they stayed until just prior to splashdown. They then returned to the command module, jettisoned the LEM, and landed in the Pacific, shaken and ill from their ordeal. Even the hard science comes clear here. Lovell and Kluger recapture—and rekindle—our sense of awe and wonder at manned space flight. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 1994

ISBN: 0-395-67029-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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