ADDRESSES: Office—Time, 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020-1393.
CAREER: Journalist. Writer and editor for New York Times Business World Magazine, Family Circle, and Science Digest; Discover, New York, NY, columnist; Time, New York, NY, senior writer, 1998-.
AWARDS, HONORS: Whitman Bassow Award for the best reporting in any medium on international environmental issues (with two colleagues), Overseas Press Club of America, 2002.
(With Jim Lovell) Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo Thirteen, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1994, republished as Apollo Thirteen, 2000.
Journey beyond Selene: Remarkable Expeditions Past Our Moon and to the Ends of the Solar System, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999, published as Moon Hunters: NASA's Remarkable Expeditions to the Ends of the Solar System, Touchstone (New York, NY), 2001.
Splendid Solution: Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio, G. P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to publications, including New York Times Magazine, Gentlemen's Quarterly, and Wall Street Journal.
SIDELIGHTS: Author Jeffrey Kluger has written on a number of subjects, but his primary focus remains science, particularly space travel. His work has appeared in various periodicals, and he has worked as both writer and editor for such publications as Discover and Time. In addition, he has written several nonfiction books about science and the astronaut program, most notably books on the Apollo Thirteen space mission.
One of these titles, Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo Thirteen, which Kluger cowrote with Apollo Thirteen commander Jim Lovell, provides a precise account of the space mission from the point of view of the crew, as well as of their families back on Earth and the ground controllers who struggled to find a way to bring them home alive. The book later served as the basis for the script of director Ron Howard's film Apollo Thirteen, an emotional drama that plays up the suspenseful aspects of the incident Kluger chronicles. An oxygen tank explosion had destroyed both the ship's electrical and life support systems, and the astronauts were forced to retreat to the lunar module that was designed to support two people for two days, hoping it could keep the three of them alive for twice that long.
John Shibley, in a review for Astronomy, remarked that "Lost Moon peels back the layers of time to reveal many unknown aspects of Apollo Thirteen. This is the first time anyone has thoroughly woven together the mission's tale by tapping the memories of the players involved … it documents a triumph of human ingenuity…. Lovell and Kluger … have made its story even more compelling." However, in a piece for the New York Times Book Review, Rudy Abramson remarked that, "although this is Mr. Lovell's book, we do not learn a great deal about the thoughts or fears of a man facing the real possibility of being lost in space." A contributor to Publishers Weekly also found that "a sense of real dramatic tension—the desperation of being stranded in a tin can in space—is oddly missing." Yet Atlantic Monthly contributor Phoebe-Lou Adams found that "the book's construction works very well indeed, both as immediately observed history and as a tale of adventure to chill a reader's spine," and a different contributor to Publishers Weekly wrote "this is a gripping and frightening book that commands rapt attention."
Journey beyond Selene: Remarkable Expeditions Past Our Moon and to the Ends of the Solar System traces the progress of various space unmanned spaceships sent by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to explore the corners of the solar system and report back their findings, a collection of data then pieced together in an effort to explain the workings of the universe. The book chronicles the hardships and the triumphs of the lab, particularly the early probes sent to the moon that laid the groundwork for the moonwalks to come, and also the lab's assurance that eventually they will discover other life in the universe.
Carolyn T. Hughes, in a review of Journey beyond Selene for the New York Times Book Review, remarked that "as Kluger's entertaining book aptly points out, the scientists and engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory are in the business of making the seemingly impossible somehow happen." Astronomy contributor John Shibley commented that "like any overenthusiastic yarn spinner, Kluger at times gets carried away with hyperbole." He went on to say, however, that he "found Kluger's treatment up to the task of recording our discovery of worlds around planets," and called the book "an entertaining and eye-opening read." Gilbert Taylor of Booklist called Kluger "a splendid chronicler of the missions to the gas planets," and a contributor to Publishers Weekly wrote of Kluger that "his descriptions of our small galactic neighborhood convey scientists' excitement about what we may find," calling the book "an enticing narrative of scientific exploration."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Astronomy, January, 1995, John Shibley, review of Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo Thirteen, pp. 94-95; January, 2000, John Shibley, review of Journey beyond Selene: Remarkable Expeditions Past Our Moon and to the Ends of the Solar System, p. 110.
Atlantic Monthly, December, 1974, Phoebe-Lou Adams, review of Lost Moon, pp. 144-145.
Booklist, September 15, 1994, Donna Seaman, review of Lost Moon, p. 91; July, 1999, Gilbert Taylor, review of Journey beyond Selene, p. 1913; March 15, 2000, review of Journey beyond Selene, p. 1337.
Cosmopolitan, August, 1995, Guy Flatley, review of Apollo Thirteen, p. 32.
Library Journal, June 15, 1999, Jack W. Weigel, review of Journey beyond Selene, p. 103.
Natural History, February, 2000, review of Journey beyond Selene, p. 22.
New York Times Book Review, January 15, 1995, Rudy Abramson, "Light Years From Home," review of Lost Moon; August 29, 1999, Carolyn T. Hughes, review of Journey beyond Selene, p. 20.
Publishers Weekly, August 22, 1994, review of Lost Moon, p. 45; June 21, 1999, review of Journey beyond Selene, p. 46.
Science News, July 14, 2001, Cait Goldberg, review of Moon Hunters: NASA's Remarkable Expeditions to the Ends of the Solar System, p. 18.
Houghton Mifflin Web site, http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/ (December 8, 2004), "Jeffrey Kluger."
Time Web site, http://www.time-planner.com/ (December 8, 2004), "Jeffrey Kluger."