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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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NIGHT

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

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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