|Amazon Price||New from||Used from|
Tom Wolfe began The Right Stuff at a time when it was unfashionable to contemplate American heroism. Nixon had left the White House in disgrace, the nation was reeling from the catastrophe of Vietnam, and in 1979--the year the book appeared--Americans were being held hostage by Iranian militants. Yet it was exactly the anachronistic courage of his subjects that captivated Wolfe. In his foreword, he notes that as late as 1970, almost one in four career Navy pilots died in accidents. "The Right Stuff," he explains, "became a story of why men were willing--willing?--delighted!--to take on such odds in this, an era literary people had long since characterized as the age of the anti-hero."
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.
Technically accurate, learned, cheeky, risky, touching, tough, compassionate, nostalgic, worshipful, jingoistic . . . The Right Stuff is superb. (The New York Times Book Review)
One of the most romantic and thrilling books ever written about men who put themselves in peril. (The Boston Globe)
An exhilarating flight into fear, love, beauty, and fiery death . . . Magnificent. (People)
Absolutely first class . . . Improbable as some of Wolfe's tales seem, I know he's telling it like it was. (The Washington Post Book World)
Crammed with inside poop and racy incident . . . fast cars, booze, astro groupies, the envies and injuries of the military caste system . . . Wolfe lays it all out in brilliantly staged Op Lit scenes. (Time)
Splendid . . . It shows our propensity to manufacture heroes, and, just as quickly, to forget them; it shows how a scientific program was exploited for political advantage; it provides a revealing character study of seven exceptional Americans. (The Saturday Review)
The book is wonderful and in good shape but the listing said it was autographed. It had somebody's name in it but it was NOT autographed.Published 7 days ago by Rick Eyerdam
This was a fantastic book about early space history! I loved all the details about the astronauts and their wives. I also loved the style of the writing. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Karen
Tom Wolfe had an amazing way of telling history as a story. No where is that talent more evident than in The Right Stuff. He mades the history personal.Published 13 days ago by Hal Gangnath
I lived this history as a young teen and am still fascinated by the technology and the men who calmly risked their lives pushing the edge.Published 18 days ago by Joseph H. Verbisk
Since I have been watching ABC's Astronaut Wives Club mini series this summer, I thought it would be fun to have some additional background on the space program. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Marianne
I love the story of the space program, but I didn't like Tom Wolfe's writing style. I didn't think his story telling style was very effective and at times it was disjointed and... Read morePublished 22 days ago by GVS
Brutally honest, tantalizingly detailed, and wonderfully articulated. Tom Wolfe's writing style is unlike any I've read before, and it felt as if he were right there in the room... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Chauncey
Great book, very quick read, excellent author; however, the digital version still has typos as if some pages were scanned in. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Spardan