Books by Jeffrey Kluger

DISASTER STRIKES! by Jeffrey Kluger
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 7, 2019

"A thrill ride punctuated with spectacular failures—but also spectacular successes. (sources, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)"
Twelve harrowing episodes in the history of space travel. Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 20, 2018

"This detailed account of a lesser-known space flight varies in narrative quality but does just enough to draw in readers who grew up well after the space race. (photographs, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
In this account of the Apollo 8 flight, astronaut Frank Borman and his crewmates take the first manned trip around the moon at the height of the 1960s space race. Read full book review >
<i>APOLLO 8</i> by Jeffrey Kluger
NON-FICTION
Released: May 16, 2017

"An enjoyable retelling of one of the momentous American achievements that made the moon landing possible."
How NASA defeated the Soviets in the space race by becoming the first country to send three astronauts on a flight to the moon despite what might have been a disastrous setback. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 9, 2014

"An entertaining book of popular psychology."
Time editor at large Kluger (The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us, 2011, etc.) reveals recent scientific findings and age-old chestnuts about every possible breed of narcissist. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

"An entertaining, enlightening and helpful handbook for familial relations from an author who's been through them all."
An in-depth exploration of the bonds between siblings and their surprisingly large influence on how we develop. Read full book review >
FREEDOM STONE by Jeffrey Kluger
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 1, 2011

Thirteen-year-old Lillie has lived her whole life in slavery on the Greenfog plantation in South Carolina. Her father joined the Confederate Army with the promise of freedom for himself and his family, but when he was killed at the Battle of Vicksburg and a bag of gold was found on him, he was labeled a thief and the promise of freedom was broken. With the help of Bett, an old Ibo charm worker who can bend time with her bread baking, Lillie plans to travel back to the battle and find the truth in order to free her family. The novel is strongest in its depiction of slavery and the idea of one old slave's acts of quiet dissidence, but the central premise of magical bread and time travel, besides being ponderously developed, is a silly contrivance, insulting to the reality of slavery and the millions who had no magic to ease the anguish of their daily existence. Young readers will feel for Lillie and not be comforted by hope in magical African stones and bread baking. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 9-13)Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: June 1, 2008

"Moderately entertaining airplane fare—in the Malcolm Gladwell school of explaining the world as it is, but without the flair."
A middling book of pop science that attempts to explain why we so often see complex events as simple phenomena, and vice versa. Read full book review >
FANTASY
Released: June 1, 2007

A one-footed ex-thief and a homeless orphan with a ruined hand figure prominently in this ambitious tale of a town that unites to rebuild a clipper ship. Some say that Yole lies under a curse, sitting as it does on the infertile bed of a berry-blue sea that was drained generations ago by land speculators. In any case, it's never amounted to much—until ne'er-do-well Nacky and young Teedie Flinn find 40,000 pieces of teak floating in the local (berry-blue) lake, and persuade the impoverished townsfolk to undertake the seemingly pointless task of fitting them all together. There are obstacles aplenty to overcome—notably the schemes of rapacious landlord Mally Baloo—but overcome they are, and though things don't work out quite as planned, by the end Nacky's in love, injustices have been corrected and Yole has become a workers' paradise. There isn't much here to hook young readers; more a prose stylist than a storyteller, Kluger salts his narrative with fanciful names and words. The pace ambles, he pays more attention to the adult characters and he blithely disregards internal logic to trot in convenient solutions to every problem. A noble effort, but may struggle to find an audience. (Fantasy. 12-15)Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

"Scientific triumph by a medical hero, described with admiration and lucidity. (Photos, not seen)"
A mighty medical event occurred half a century ago, when the curse of polio—of youthful paralysis and suffocating death—was conquered. It was then that the vaccine developed by Dr. Salk was pronounced safe and effective and mass inoculations began. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Oct. 20, 1994

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) Read full book review >