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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.
"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
I read the book many years ago and loved it. Had to read it again and can't put it down.Published 8 days ago by linda leiby
Change sneaks up unawares, moveable type, computers, space flight, the Internet, smart phones--leaving people behind. Ride the wave, be bold! Aloysius.Published 1 month ago by AJ
This is the second time I've read The Right Stuff and it never fails to fascinate me. I was quite young when the space race started heating up but I took a great interest in it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Elaine Booth
There were good moments, but Wolfe was unusually repetitive, for me unacceptably so. O.K. the astronauts were considered heroes by the public and were humanized by the author- a... Read morePublished 2 months ago by PHgil