In the warm, Wolfean afterglow of John Glenn’s latest journey through space, the spectre of the Mir space station and its panoply of disasters seemed a distant nightmare — until this meticulous account of the ill-fated three-year Russian-American partnership there. Journalist Bryan Burrough (Barbarians at the Gate) provides a close look at the ground-level jockeying and verbal jousting of striving astronauts, chest-puffing NASA bureaucrats, and the tradition-rooted Russians. The choking, isolated intensity of the mission itself (especially the minute-by-minute account of a 1997 station-craft collision) is at once thrilling and terrifying, leavened by dryly startling details, like the smuggled-on vodka-filled ”drink bags.” More Apollo 13 than The Right Stuff in its demeanor, Dragonfly: Nasa and the Crisis Aboard Mir is a fitting testament to those who endured, rather than enjoyed, their time on Mir. A-

Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard Mir