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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Twelve thrilling and terrifying space-mission failures, told by the bestselling author of Apollo 13! There are so many amazing, daring, and exciting missions to outer space that have succeeded. But for every success, there are mistakes, surprises, and flat-out failures that happen along the way. In this collection, bestselling author and award-winning journalist Jeffrey Kluger recounts twelve such disasters, telling the stories of the astronauts and the cosmonauts, the trials and the errors, the missions and the misses. With stories of missions run by both Americans and Russians during the height of the space race, complete with photos of the people and machines behind them, this book delves into the mishaps and the tragedies, small and large, that led humankind to the moon and beyond.…

Overall Book Review:

Disaster Strikes, by Jeffrey Kluger, offers the reader a thrilling view into the world of space travel, through the lens of some of the most harrowing moments since mankind decided to explore outside the boundaries of our own planet. Each chapter of this book details a dangerous, or even deadly, episode in space exploration history, and it is unusual because it contains stories of space explorers from several countries, broadening its focus from the United States.

The accounts in this book are true stories, and much of the dialogue was pulled directly from transcripts of actual missions. This lends authenticity to the accounts and make it an excellent choice for history buffs. The book’s rich historical value is complimented by the author’s excellent storytelling ability. This book is far from the dry record that some history books are and that it easily could have been. The author has a fantastic skill for bringing stories to life, making the reader sympathize with the characters, and creating an atmosphere of tension and suspense.

This is one history book that older middle grade readers will love. And this adult reader did, too.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Philomel

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 religious exclamation; 5 minor obscenities; 1 derogatory name.

Violence/Gore:  All of the violence in this book is in a historical context, and none of it is gory or graphic. It includes: discussion of the dangers of travel in general and space travel in particular; possibility of nuclear war (mention); report of many deaths by bombing in war; report of death by disease; report of death in a plane crash; report of several deaths in space; many tense disaster situations; a few characters are nearly drowned; a few vehicles are destroyed; fire and explosions damage spacecraft a few times; characters are killed in a plane crash; characters are killed in a fire; characters are killed in spaceship crash or explosions a few times.

 Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

Loss of a loved one (parent, spouse, friend).

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Mention of celebratory cognac.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My taste in literature leans heavily towards sci-fi, fantasy, and (my favorite) horror, and the latter can present some fairly murky waters for parents to let their children explore. I enjoy novels of both the standard and graphic varieties. Since those genres, and graphic novels in particular, tend to appeal to boys, I hope that I can help other Boy Mommies in their quest to find books that their little video gamers--I mean, future bibliophiles will read and enjoy. When I am not reading, I enjoy tabletop role-playing games, video games, and singing karaoke. I have a wonderful husband who lets me indulge my reading habit by sharing the housework and being a great dad to our genius kids and their faithful hound.