Book Review of
Bringing Columbia Home
On February 1, 2003, Columbia disintegrated on reentry before the nation’s eyes, and all seven astronauts aboard were lost. Author Mike Leinbach, Launch Director of the space shuttle program at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center was a key leader in the search and recovery effort as NASA, FEMA, the FBI, the US Forest Service, and dozens more federal, state, and local agencies combed an area of rural east Texas the size of Rhode Island for every piece of the shuttle and her crew they could find. Assisted by hundreds of volunteers, it would become the largest ground search operation in US history. This comprehensive account is told in four parts:
- Parallel Confusion
- Courage, Compassion, and Commitment
- Picking Up the Pieces
- A Bittersweet Victory
For the first time, here is the definitive inside story of the Columbia disaster and recovery and the inspiring message it ultimately holds. In the aftermath of the tragedy, people and communities came together to help bring home the remains of the crew and nearly 40 percent of the shuttle, an effort that was instrumental in piecing together what happened so the shuttle program could return to flight and complete the International Space Station. Bringing Columbia Home shares the deeply personal stories that emerged as NASA employees looked for lost colleagues and searchers overcame immense physical, logistical, and emotional challenges and worked together to accomplish the impossible.
Featuring a foreword and epilogue by astronauts Robert Crippen and Eileen Collins, and dedicated to the astronauts and recovery search persons who lost their lives, this is an incredible, compelling narrative about the best of humanity in the darkest of times and about how a failure at the pinnacle of human achievement became a story of cooperation and hope.
Both my husband and oldest daughter read Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew by Michael Leinbach and Jonathan Ward. Most Americans have heard of the Columbia accident. However, few understand the work that it took to recover the space shuttle and figure out what happened. This is a great book for anyone that loves nonfiction books about science and space.
My husband’s review: A comprehensive look into the mammoth effort to recover the Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew after it exploded on reentry. It is very much a documentary with the dryness that can come with it, but if you followed the breakup and recovery effort, love the space program, and especially if you lived through the recovery, you need to add this book to your list.