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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.
Twenty years after first reading it, I bought this copy for a second read. It held up. Tom Wolfe at his very finest. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Aeropix
Excellent book about the test pilots turned astronauts and how they 'pushed the outside of the envelope" not only while flying, but in everyday life as well. Read morePublished 10 days ago by rifv15
Have the video but never read the book. Excellent reading even if you have the video.Published 11 days ago by JF
This is possibly the most well written novels I have read. Thank you Tom Wolfe for this masterpiece. I even learned a few things too.Published 28 days ago by Amazon Customer
To be honest I was expecting a boring nonfiction read, but to my surprise Wolfe did an amazing job by introducing fiction in to real events. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Haley
the book was everything i expected. i saw the movie and wanted to read the book. as always (except for 'jaws') the book is always better than the movie.Published 1 month ago by kim quick
A classic without being a bore. Nice little Shakespeare reference when describing an astronaut singing.Published 2 months ago by Flight simmer