Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster Challenger: A True Story of Heroism and Disaster on the Edge of Space
Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster Challenger: A True Story of Heroism and Disaster on the Edge of Space

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

By Adam Higginbotham


Publication Date: May 14, 2024

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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 new archival research and in-depth reporting—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 a crew including New Hampshire schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe. Like the assassination of JFK, the Challenger disaster is a defining moment in 20th 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. Until now.

Based on extensive archival research and meticulous, original reporting, Challenger: An American Tragedy follows a handful of central protagonists—including each of the seven members of the doomed crew—through the years leading up to the accident, a detailed account of the tragedy itself, and into the investigation that followed. It’s a compelling tale of optimism and promise 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, 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 brings to life a turning point in history—and the result is an even more complex and astonishing story than we remember.

About the Author

Adam Higginbotham has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, GQ, and Smithsonian. The author of Midnight in Chernobyl and Challenger: An American Tragedy, he lives in New York City.

Format: Hardcover

Length: 576 pages

Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781982176617

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