The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff

eBook - 2008?
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Men first flew into space in 1961, but until The Right Stuff was first published in 1979 few people had a sense of the most engrossing side of that adventure: namely, the perceptions and goals of the astronauts themselves, aloft and during certain remarkable odysseys on earth. It is this, the inner world of the early astronauts, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, and their confreres, that Tom Wolfe describes with his extraordinary powers of empathy. He shows us the bidden olympus to which all ambitious combat and test pilots aspired, the top of the pyramid of the right stuff. And we learn the nature of the ineffable pilot's grace without which all else meant nothing. We see the men whose achievements dominated the flying fraternity in the late 1950's as the space age began, men like Chuck Yeager and Joe Walker, pilots of the first rocket planes, most notably the X-1 and the X-15. The selection of the Mercury astronauts in 1959 shook up the fraternity as thoroughly as had Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier twelve years before. Public excitement and concern over the space race with the Soviets immediately elevated the seven astronauts to the uneasy eminence of heroes, long before their first flight. We see the seven men, in the very moment of their idolization by the outside world, struggling to gain the respect of their peers within the flying fraternity, even to the point of altering NASA's original conception of the astronaut's role in keeping with the unspoken prerequisites of the right stuff. - Author web site.
Publisher: New York : Picador, [2008?], 1979]
Copyright Date: ©1979
ISBN: 9781429961325
1429961325
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xiii, 352 pages)

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From Library Staff

Wolfe's classic narrative of the early days of the U.S. space program and the people who made it happen, including Chuck Yeager, Pete Conrad, Gus Grissom, and John Glenn.


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ValinOR14
Dec 30, 2019

I'm definitely going to be the outlier with this review. I felt like The Right Stuff was more of a satirical, historical fiction than a non-fiction book. On one hand, I appreciated learning more about test pilots and the original seven astronauts than I did from watching the movie made in 1983. I can remember growing up in San Bernardino and hearing the sound barrier being repeatedly broken. I remember watching Alan Shepard's 15-minute flight on TV. It was an exciting time!

On the other hand, all of the strangely capitalized words, italicized words, and many, many exclamation points drove me crazy. Also, the part about Gus Grissom and the blown hatch was pretty much fiction. The problem was with the hatch and Grissom was exonerated of any wrongdoing. Why not mention THAT??? I guess I wasn't the target audience for this book.

k
kbomber
Mar 15, 2018

This book was awesome. It really gets into the heads of the astronauts, pilots, their wives and families and all those associated with the space program. The detailed accounts of the first american suborbital space flight and first orbital flights were really interesting.

d
dnakanis
Jan 07, 2018

One of the worst books I've ever read. Overly verbose descriptions of people, completely arrogant and pompous style of writing. What's there to like about this book? Absolutely nothing. 90% of this book is filler full of gratuitous details to meet a page quota it seems.

PimaLib_WilliamB Jun 29, 2016

I can't say enough good things about this non-fiction account of the original Mercury Seven astronauts in the space race of the late 50s/early 60s. The backstory to Chuck Yeager and flight record breaking in the High Deserts of California segue into the stories of pilots like John Glenn and quirky Gordo Cooper. Tom Wolfe writes very a very excited pace, including lots of !'s at the end of sentences. It's a fun read and rent the DVD, too!

k
KellyReader
Feb 15, 2011

What a fantastic book!

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