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Wolfe's roots in New Journalism were intertwined with the nonfiction novel that Truman Capote had pioneered with In Cold Blood. As Capote did, Wolfe tells his story from a limited omniscient perspective, dropping into the lives of his "characters" as each in turn becomes a major player in the space program. After an opening chapter on the terror of being a test pilot's wife, the story cuts back to the late 1940s, when Americans were first attempting to break the sound barrier. Test pilots, we discover, are people who live fast lives with dangerous machines, not all of them airborne. Chuck Yeager was certainly among the fastest, and his determination to push through Mach 1--a feat that some had predicted would cause the destruction of any aircraft--makes him the book's guiding spirit.
Yet soon the focus shifts to the seven initial astronauts. Wolfe traces Alan Shepard's suborbital flight and Gus Grissom's embarrassing panic on the high seas (making the controversial claim that Grissom flooded his Liberty capsule by blowing the escape hatch too soon). The author also produces an admiring portrait of John Glenn's apple-pie heroism and selfless dedication. By the time Wolfe concludes with a return to Yeager and his late-career exploits, the narrative's epic proportions and literary merits are secure. Certainly The Right Stuff is the best, the funniest, and the most vivid book ever written about America's manned space program. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A classic without being a bore. Nice little Shakespeare reference when describing an astronaut singing.Published 8 days ago by Flight simmer
Look at the reviews of people giving this book fewer than three stars. Notice how they are a) insane or b) complaining about the Kindle edition, which apparently was poorly... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alex Tullo
Tom Wolfe broke new ground with “The Right Stuff.” He introduced new terms into the English language such as “pushing the envelope” and “the right stuff,” and revealed the real... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ricardo Mio
These guys had it big time. The public rarely found out just how risky space flight was and still is. Just ask Jim Lovell of Apollo 13 or Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11. Read morePublished 2 months ago by CAPT James Kent, USNR (ret)
I've probably read over a thousand books - I just earned my MA in History and am a writer - and The Right Stuff, along with the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, are in my top 10. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jim
This is it...the pinnacle, the best there is.
Even if you sincerely doubt that man ever stepped foot on the Moon (it's basically an impossibility)--this is still writing... Read more