Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Publications & Multimedia
  XIII: The Apollo Flight That Failed (Henry Cooper)

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   XIII: The Apollo Flight That Failed (Henry Cooper)
Paul78zephyr
Member

Posts: 344
From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 02-13-2012 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have always wondered why XIII: The Apollo Flight That Failed by Henry S. F. Cooper is very rarely mentioned during discussions of publications having to do with the flight of Apollo 13.

Clearly a book written by the commander of that flight followed by a big name Hollywood movie brought the Apollo 13 flight back into the public domain some 25 years later. But Cooper's book, written in 1972, seems forgotten even within those domains that relish all things Apollo.

From a technical and literary standpoint I have always felt the book very well written. Even when compared to 'modern' works on the Apollo 13 saga (i.e. those written by Lovell or Liebergot) there is very little about the flight that is left out. When I first read this book sometime around 1977 or 1978 I recall being absolutely glued to the pages.

Today, within my limited budget to own books Cooper's XIII sits proudly on my bookshelf besides Lovell's Lost Moon. Thinking about Apollo 13 I still will take it off the shelf and re-read a passage or two.

If you have read this book I was wondering if you could comment on it and say whether you think that this book seems to be such a 'forgotten' work on a subject that is seemingly so popular and/or any other thoughts about it you would like to share.

teachspace
Member

Posts: 65
From: river edge, nj usa
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 02-13-2012 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for teachspace   Click Here to Email teachspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I, too, enjoyed that book very much and it is part of my space book collection. Mr. Cooper has written several books about the space program and I enjoyed each one of them.

As to why it is not a popular book about Apollo 13, I think it was released when the public's interest was gettting at its lowest and it wasn't written by someone closely involved with the mission.

Gilbert
Member

Posts: 935
From: Carrollton, GA USA
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 02-13-2012 03:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I own this book and another couple of books by Mr. Cooper. I read "13" many years ago and I remember it being well written and informative. I may re-read it later this year to see how it compares to Lovell's book.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-13-2012 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have both hardback and paperback versions of this book, but my hardback is called "13: The Flight That Failed." (No "Apollo"). It was published by Dial Press in 1973 and has a metallic-silver dust-jacket.

The paperback is called "Moonwreck" and is sub-titled: "13: The Flight That Failed." The PB is distinguished by decent artwork on the covers, including a rear-cover depiction of the bizarre LM/CM combination. I don't think I've ever seen a good illustration of LM/CM before.

Paul78zephyr
Member

Posts: 344
From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 02-13-2012 06:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to all that have responded so far. Keep them coming!
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
I have both hardback and paperback versions of this book...
Thanks for that info on the hardcover edition.

I have a paperback edition: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995. The cover title is: XXIII The Apollo Flight That Failed with the Apollo 13 mission logo (three horses, etc) just above. The first title page simply says: THIRTEEN. The second title page says: THIRTEEN The Apollo Flight That Failed.

I remember when I bought it in the mid 1990s I had to have a local book store order it for me. As I recall they weren't even sure they could get it for me. I don't recall but I would assume the copy I read in the late 1970s would have been a hardcover edition.

Paul78zephyr
Member

Posts: 344
From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 02-13-2012 06:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by teachspace:

As to why it is not a popular book about Apollo 13, I think it was released when the public's interest was gettting at its lowest and it wasn't written by someone closely involved with the mission.

Those have been my thoughts exactly for some time. I think in today's world you would not get a space book published unless it was written by an astronaut. Also with the stunning technical success of Apollo I think no one at NASA (especially no astronaut) wanted to be associated with a book with the word 'failed' in the title. That would be a shame because as was so ironically brought out in the movie 25 years later what happened really was 'Nasa's finest hour'.

sts205cdr
Member

Posts: 534
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 02-14-2012 12:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I never got around to collecting this particular Cooper book, but I believe his best book was Before Liftoff. I don't think there ever was, or ever will be, another book like that about the training involved in a Space Shuttle mission. It is truly a must-read for Space Shuttle history fans.

Henry Heatherbank
Member

Posts: 146
From: Adelaide, South Australia
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 02-14-2012 02:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My version is Angus & Robertson 1973 with the dustjacket featuring essentially the Earthrise photo and bold red lettering "13: The Flight That Failed".

I first read a library copy in about 1979 and got my copy in about 1983, and remember thinking at the time that it was a very informative and authoritative book. Next to Carrying the Fire, it was one of the first books I read about any of the Apollo missions.

I agree with Paul78Zephyr that it would be difficult to get that kind of book published now, unless authored by an astronaut or someone really closely attached to the mission (like Sy Liebergot).

My view is that it is a vastly under-rated and overlooked book on the subject, being published as it was when Apollo was not yet "historical" enough to be nostalgic.

Well worth the read though.

OLDIE
Member

Posts: 169
From: Portsmouth, England
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 02-14-2012 02:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for OLDIE     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I too have a hardback copy of the book, so it must have been mentioned at sometime in CollectSpace. Mine is the 1973 English edition published by Angus and Robertson (U.K.)Ltd. I've not heard of Cooper's other book "Before Liftoff" though.

spaced out
Member

Posts: 2597
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 02-14-2012 06:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Paul78zephyr:
I think no one at NASA (especially no astronaut) wanted to be associated with a book with the word 'failed' in the title.
Not necessarily true, since my copy is signed by Jim Lovell.

In the 20+ years prior to the publication of "Lost Moon" I'm sure this wasn't the only copy Lovell signed (it's an old signature and inscription) so it seems he wasn't put off by the book's title.

Paul78zephyr
Member

Posts: 344
From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 02-14-2012 07:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spaced out:
Not necessarily true, since my copy is signed by Jim Lovell.
That is so amazing that you have a copy of the book signed by Jim Lovell! Id love to know when he signed it. It is interesting to speculate, as I have many times, whether perhaps it was this book that gave Lovell the inspiration to ultimately write his own. Id love to know what Lovell would say if asked about it today.

Jay Gallentine
Member

Posts: 249
From: Shorewood, MN, USA
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 02-14-2012 09:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just mentioned this thread to Henry, whom I've been working with on some Viking stuff. He had this to say:
Glad to see there are still people out there who are reading '13: The Flight That Failed.' The reason I used 'Failed' in the title was that Nixon had declared the flight a success, and whatever Nixon said in those days, I said the opposite.

edorr
Member

Posts: 39
From: Chelmsford, MA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 02-15-2012 08:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for edorr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cooper is one of my favorite authors of space flight related books. I have all eight of his titles:
  • Apollo on the Moon (1969)
  • Moon Rocks (1970)
  • 13: The Flight That Failed (1973)
  • A House in Space (1976)
  • The Search for Life on Mars (1980)
  • Imaging Saturn (1983)
  • Before Liftoff: The Making of a Space Shuttle Crew (1987)
  • The Evening Star: Venus Observed (1993)
Most, if not all, of his books first appeared in essay form in The New Yorker magazine. If you search the magazine's archives you'll be rewarded with other articles of his that have not been published in book form.

edorr
Member

Posts: 39
From: Chelmsford, MA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 02-15-2012 09:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for edorr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By the way, Cooper wrote an article about the movie Apollo 13. It was called (all too predictably) Houston, We Have a Movie, and it was published in Air & Space Smithsonian sometime in 1995. I can't track down exactly which issue, at the moment. The A&S web site doesn't go back that far, and I can't find any references to it on the web. It was a pretty interesting read, though.

Paul78zephyr
Member

Posts: 344
From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 02-15-2012 06:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Gallentine:
I just mentioned this thread to Henry, whom I've been working with on some Viking stuff.
I am so glad to learn that Mr. Cooper is alive and I wish well. Quite honestly I had tried to find out more about him but alas there is very little on the internet about him other than references to his writings and the fact that he is descended from the Cooper's of Cooperstown NY.

I'd love to know what he wrote about in that article that was mentioned in this thread which he wrote at the time of the big Apollo 13 'revival' in the mid-1990s (considering how little had been written about it in the preceding 25 years). I'd also be very curious to ask Mr. Cooper about how much direct access he had to key Apollo 13 people like Jim Lovell, Gene Kranz, Sy Leibergot, etc. Clearly he got his facts right in the book.

quote:
Originally posted by edorr:
I have all eight of his titles...
Thank you for that list of books by Mr. Cooper. I have read "A House In Space" and "Before Liftoff" (as well as the title being discussed) but I was not aware of some of the others. I will try to find them in my local library network.

Thanks again.

Sy Liebergot
Member

Posts: 458
From: Pearland, Texas USA
Registered: May 2003

posted 02-15-2012 07:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sy Liebergot   Click Here to Email Sy Liebergot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I spent quite a bit of time helping his research people wiith the facts, as some of us did. The simple line drawing of the fuel cells and cryo tanks was the one I sent to them. Personally, I was pleased with the book. New Yorker magazine ran the book in two issues.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-16-2012 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of the most interesting issues Cooper dealt with in "Thirteen..." was the plan, operating in parallel to the rescue plan, to aim the lunar module into an ocean trench to dispose of the plutonium ALSEP battery in the deepest water available. I always suspected there was much more to this than meets the eye. Perhaps Sy could comment.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement