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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.
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 alternate Paperback edition.
A terrific look back at an America made innocent through fear of the Soviet challenge in space and rendered jaded by its own triumphs.Published 22 months ago by Mark Housego
There was a time when space flight launch and missions were covered on live TV not a 30 second clip at the end of the news. I read this book when it first came out. Read morePublished on April 11 2010 by Garry Hoffman
"The Right Stuff" BY Tom Wolfe's book was a wonderful American story about the Mercury space program that told the tale of U.S. Read morePublished on June 7 2004 by Steven R. Travers
Although Tom Wolfe's way of writing may seem strange and at times weird, the story of these test pilots and pioneer astronauts is a classic. Read morePublished on May 9 2004 by Alex Salazar
Hey, I stayed up way to late reading this book our national effort to win the space race. Included in this book is the contributions of the pilots from Joshua treed, dusty desert... Read morePublished on May 7 2004 by Amazon Customer
This book is just a thoroughly enjoyable read. Funny, exciting, charming, moving; what more could you want? Read morePublished on July 4 2003 by L. R. Travis
"The Right Stuff" by Thomas Wolfe details the manned space race between Russia and the United States. It focuses on the United States' effort to put a man into space. Read morePublished on May 29 2003 by Travis J Smith
I opened this book with a limited interest in the Space Race, jet pilots, or Tom Wolfe, but have become fascinated by all three. Read morePublished on Sept. 7 2002 by Z. Blume