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Challenger: A True Story of Hero... - Adam Higginbotham

Challenger: A True Story of Heroism and Disaster on the Edge of Space

Adam Higginbotham
Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster (May 14, 2024) , English
269 ratings

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Stunning…A heart-pounding thriller…Challenger is a remarkable book.” —The Atlantic • “Superb…Compelling and exhaustively researched.” —The Washington Post • “Devastating…A universal story that transcends time.” —The New York Times • “Gripping history.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) From the New York Times bestselling author of Midnight in Chernobyl comes the definitive, dramatic, minute-by-minute story of the Challenger disaster, based on fascinating in-depth reporting and new archival research—a riveting history that reads like a thriller.On January 28, 1986, just seventy-three seconds into flight, the space shuttle Challenger broke apart over the Atlantic Ocean, killing all seven people on board. Millions of Americans witnessed the tragic deaths of the crew, which included New Hampshire schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe. Like the assassination of JFK, the Challenger disaster is a defining moment in twentieth-century history—one that forever changed the way America thought of itself and its optimistic view of the future. Yet the full story of what happened, and why, has never been told. Based on extensive archival research and metic­ulous, original reporting, Challenger: A True Story of Heroism and Disaster on the Edge of Space follows a handful of central protagonists—including each of the seven members of the doomed crew—through the years leading up to the accident, and offers a detailed account of the tragedy itself and the inves­tigation afterward. It’s a compelling tale of ambition and ingenuity undermined by political cynicism and cost-cutting in the interests of burnishing national prestige; of hubris and heroism; and of an investigation driven by leakers and whistleblowers determined to bring the truth to light. Throughout, there are the ominous warning signs of a tragedy to come, recognized but then ignored, and later hidden from the public. Higginbotham reveals the history of the shuttle program and the lives of men and women whose stories have been overshadowed by the disaster, as well as the designers, engineers, and test pilots who struggled against the odds to get the first shuttle into space. A masterful blend of riveting human drama and fascinating and absorbing science, Challenger identifies a turning point in history—and brings to life an even more complex and astonishing story than we remember.

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