Audio Book Coming April 24!

It’s hard to believe that it is less than two months since Bringing Columbia Home was “officially” released. The book’s momentum continues to be very strong, as evidenced by both sales data as well as the feedback we’re receiving from readers.

We learned this week that the book is going into its third printing! Pre-orders were so strong that the second print run was ordered before the book even officially went on sale in January. Sales stats show that it’s selling well all over the country, not just in areas near NASA centers. We feel that is an indication that people from all walks of life are seeing this as an American success story.

Audiobook set for release next month!

Tantor Media will be releasing the audio version of Bringing Columbia Home on April 24! Pre-orders are available at Tantor’s website. Danny Campbell and Cassandra Campbell are the voice actors who are reading the book. Danny was the reader for the audio version of Gene Kranz’s Failure Is Not an Option. Cassandra Campbell has recorded nearly 200 audiobooks and has one many awards for her narration. We are confident that this amazing team will do a great job with the book.

What readers are saying

The book is getting rave reviews on, and Mike and I are grateful for the feedback that people are leaving for us on the website, on Amazon, and also the private emails that people have sent us.

We were particularly moved by this review left on Amazon by Barent “Barry” McCool, who is the father of Columbia‘s final pilot:

Since my son was Cdr Willie McCool, this book had a special meaning for me. Additional closure and an account on the events while I was in Houston during the recovery efforts. I give it 5 Stars plus.

We also appreciate the honest feedback from people who have told us how emotionally difficult it was for them to read. This comment from a recent reviewer sums up what we hear a lot—and what we ultimately hope people take away from the story of STS-107’s recovery and reconstruction:

I found myself in tears more than once as the tale unfolds. This book makes me proud to be an American all over again.

And we also had some feedback from astronaut Scott Kelly!

In ‘Bringing Columbia Home,’ Mike Leinbach and Jonathan Ward have vividly captured the intensity of those very difficult days. They tell the story with compassion but without pulling any punches. The book also reminded me of the spirit of the American people who selflessly worked together to help NASA in its hour of greatest need. It’s a message we all need to remember these days.

If the book moved you as it has moved these other readers, we of course would be grateful for your spreading the word to your friends and colleagues. A positive review on Amazon is also very helpful for encouraging other people to read the book.

March appearances

Mike and I are still catching our breath after the first phase of the book tour ended in mid-February. We are continuing our public appearances, and here are a few upcoming events:

  • NASA Safety Days, Kennedy Space Center: Mike will be delivering two talks at KSC the week of March 12 as part of NASA’s Safety Days observances.
  • NASA Alumni League – Florida Chapter: Mike will be the guest speaker and will be signing books at the NAL’s meeting at 11:00 on March 20 at the Debus Center at the KSC Visitor Complex. The event is sold out!

Next week’s blog update will include information on our public appearances the rest of this spring and summer.

Mike and Jonathan deliver the keynote presentation at the Space Exploration Educators Conference, Johnson Space Center, February 3, 2018. (Photo by Phyllis Friello via Facebook)

Author: Jonathan Ward

Jonathan Ward is an author of books on the history of American manned spaceflight. He also serves as an adjunct executive coach at the Center for Creative Leadership.

3 thoughts on “Audio Book Coming April 24!”

  1. Just finished Bringing Columbia Home and was very impressed. It brought back lots of memories. I live in Lufkin and was eating breakfast, watching Fox and Friends and trying to keep my blueheeler Elvis from stealing my bacon when he suddenly started barking and running around in circles, then the sonic booms started and continued for over a minute. Several of us from Lufkin volunteered and participated in the early search efforts around Hemphill, but stopped after the National Guard and other assets started showing up on site. Then a couple of weeks later, I hired on for the Forest Service at the Nacogdoches base camp in transportation. I drove my vehicle, trucks, and 15 passenger vans moving crews, picking up personnel from airports, taking injured to doctors, moving material between camps, and using my local knowledge to find lost personnel. One job I inherited was using the Nacogdoches Sheriff Dept’s tools to get into over 100 locked rental vehicles over the 3 months the camp operated. The best part of the job was working with all the great people I met especially the native American fire crews.


    1. Thanks for your service, Mike, and thanks for sharing your stories! Isn’t it amazing how dogs sense things a few seconds before we do? My hound dog started going crazy about half a minute before an earthquake struck.


      1. Thought I might repeat a few more stories from the recovery.

        One of the first jobs I did was together with another driver and 2 15 passenger vans drove to Shreveport and picked up a native American fire crew at the airport. On the way back a young lady is seating beside me taking in the strange new sights. The Texas Louisiana border is pretty swampy around there and she asked if we were really in Texas. I said “Yes, Why?” She said, “Boy this sure doesn’t look the John Wayne movies.”

        Speaking of movies, I ran into a Cheyenne crew who had played extras in “The Last of the Dogmen.” with Tom Berenger and Barbara Hershey. They were flattered I had recognized them. They said Barbara Hershey spoke their native language almost as good as them and attended their pow wow every year.

        One morning the bosses sent me down to the medical tent for a transport to the doctor. A young Indian was sitting outside looking not to good for wear. He had been beaten up. I helped him into my Yukon and away we went. He said he had come out of the port-a-potty and group of Sioux firefighters had attacked him. I asked what had caused it and he said he was a Crow. He said the Crow were Custer’s scouts and the Sioux still held a grudge.
        He said this always happened when the Forest Service screwed up and put the two fire crews together in the same fire camp. I said I could understand because some people in Texas were still upset about the Civil War. He grinned, but said it hurt to laugh.

        I tried to show all the Native crews I worked with all the hazards we ran into. Fire ants, snakes, alligators, poison ivy, saw briars, and yellow jackets nesting in the ground. Some listened, some didn’t. I hauled those to the doc.
        They all wanted samples of all the weird stuff from Texas to take home to show their family and friends especially bamboo and Hercules club and all the briars.

        I had another medical transport one day that stood out. A native American from Alaska had what the medics thought was heat exhaustion, it was March and 55 F. I was wearing a wool shirt. I helped the guy into my truck and away we went. He said when they left home it was -25F. The medics were right.

        The last story concerns the last Incident command group at the Nacogdoches camp who were from the Los Angeles/San Diego area. Out of spite or ignorance they always put the Texas flag up every day upside down.
        After several days of this another driver and I slipped down to California flag pulled it down reversed it and tried it up about 8 feet high using a step ladder, and left a note saying The Texas flag always had the white stripe on top.
        It worked.


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