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5.0 out of 5 stars The Right Stuff
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 7 months ago by Mark Housego

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but I expected much more.
This was the latest of the selections that my Reading Group picked out to read and I think that the overwhelming feeling was that we were left wondering what all the hype was about. Indeed, the book touched on a topic that is of interest to nearly everyone. Who doesn't like to think of shooting through space in a spacecraft? But, in reality, I think I am a generation too...
Published on April 25 2001 by Kirk Bentzen


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5.0 out of 5 stars The Right Stuff, Sept. 9 2013
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This review is from: The Right Stuff (Paperback)
A terrific look back at an America made innocent through fear of the Soviet challenge in space and rendered jaded by its own triumphs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read to understand the start of space flight, April 11 2010
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Garry Hoffman (Winnipeg, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Right Stuff (Paperback)
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. I bought this book for my son-in-law after we toured NASA and Cape Canaveral. The book is a must read to understand the NASA program and the type of men that lead the way to space.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Zenith of American Culture, June 17 2004
By 
Ken Zowal (Fremont, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Right Stuff (Paperback)
My boss lent me this book in about 1982. He also had just invited me to become a member of the Southern California Soaring Club (gliders). For me, it was the most important and inspiring book of its decade. As a kid, the astronauts were, to me, mythic figures who risked their lives to prove what we were worth as Americans. Several of them died in the process. The space race was not some society social. These guys embodied what President Kennedy said, that "...We do not do these things because they are easy. We do them because they are hard." That, to me, epitomizes the meaning of the term, The Right Stuff. Kennedy's statement resonated with me at the age of nine. Tom Wolfe's book brought me down from the clouds right to ground zero. All the faults and foibles of the astronauts, and the process of becoming one, grabbed me as incredibly real and authentic. It also convinced me that heroes often don't have names like Smith and Jones. And they all don't look like Gregory Peck. And that their wives sacrificed so much, and kept their best face forward, where others would have collapsed under the weight. It is also an incredibly funny book (the red boots, and other anecdoetes).
This is inspiring nonfiction of the highest order. It was the near prospect of imminent death that brought it all together. They were modern samurai. It was a huge gamble, and we all went for it. Other reviewers have commented elequently on Tom Wofle's prodigious writing talent, so I will leave it there. Bottom line, you can count on one hand novels that captured the full depth and breadth of intense emotion that surrounded the space race of the 1960s. Particularly in the late 70s and early 80s. Jim Lovell's Lost Moon is a good example.
Those were heady years, and I wish to God we could have them again, today. Compared with today, the years of the space race were the best years of our lives. And Wolfe captured all those emotions brilliantly. For me, it was America's finest hour. When we sat around the kitchen table and watched Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, it was, for me at least, the crowning achievement of the human race. I am thankful to have witnessed it, live. I will treasure that memory forever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars WHOSE THE BEST WRITER I EVER READ? I'M REVIEWIN' HIM, BABY, June 7 2004
This review is from: The Right Stuff (Paperback)
"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. pilots just brimming with gusto, bravado and...the right stuff.
STEVEN TRAVERS
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
STWRITES@AOL.COM
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff, May 9 2004
This review is from: The Right Stuff (Paperback)
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. Beginning with the stories of pilots like Chuck Yeager, the man who broke the sound barrier, the book develops into the grand drama that was the space program and the race against the Soviets to the new frontier, chronicaling the pilots who took such great risk in participating in it. If you liked the movie, you'll love the book. A great work that I highly recommend to all readers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another page-turning book, May 7 2004
This review is from: The Right Stuff (Paperback)
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 base called Edwards including the greatest pilot of them all. Read the book and you'll find out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time favorite books..., July 4 2003
By 
L. R. Travis "lotsoftreasure" (Mansfield, TX USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Right Stuff (Paperback)
This book is just a thoroughly enjoyable read. Funny, exciting, charming, moving; what more could you want? It does certainly personalize the astronauts, but I do not agree that it cuts these heroes down to size, as some other reviewers have suggested. On the contrary, Mr. Wolfe's theme is that these men really are heroes, albeit thoroughly human ones. He does, however, let us know that there are a lot of other men out there who are just as heroic, without the acclaim. Don't miss this one!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Six star entertainment, June 18 2003
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This review is from: The Right Stuff (Paperback)
Tom Wolfe gives a brilliantly entertaining and inspirational book about one of the most colorful chapters in recent American history -- from the first supersonic piloted flight up to the early Sixties, when astronauts completed the beginning of America's space program. Wolfe writes about "the right stuff--" a blend of correct judgment, coolness, and the ability to get the job done, no matter what the danger. Wolfe rarely depends on technical stuff, so the book will appeal to those who know or care little about aviation or space, and there's little to deter the squeamish, ither. The author shows the period's bright side (the accomplishments in spite of the danger, the dopamine-flowing release after a job well-done, the intense exhilaration of it all) , and the dark side (the fears of the families, the tragic deaths from minor lapses in luck or judgment, the tedious egomania of many involved in the programs).
This book epitomizes the bright and dark side of Wolfe's school of writing, too. Above all, Wolfe can be as riveting and as entertaining as you'll find -- "truth can be funnier than fiction." I have heard how Wolfe caught the essence of what someone wanted to say even better than the one who said it, and he sure puts you into the thick of the action. The author gives a legitimate and interesting perspective. Nevertheless, this style plays heavily on your emotions, with all the problems that can involve, and the book is not terribly objective -- a purely entertaining incident can assume more importance than it should. Since Wolfe's storytelling style can blur the distinction between fact and conjecture, it "stretches the envelope" of truthtelling, so if another storyteller doesn't have basic integrity (and many authors and journalists regrettably do not), this style of writing can be misleading or deceptive. Character development and depth are questionable; those who have "the right stuff" in the face of danger are portrayed as almost superhuman, and those who don't are made into buffoons (no matter how significant their contributions to the mission). This "tyranny of the cool" can get a bit annoying after a while.
In short, I think Wolfe's book gives a grand idea of the spirit of the times, and of life's entertainment value, but it is rightly considered a novel rather than history. I easily gave it five stars because it is SUCH an inspirational and delightful read, but I would approach it with a bit of light-hearted skepticism.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie, Even Better Book, May 29 2003
This review is from: The Right Stuff (Paperback)
"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. The story of the first seven American astronauts is told, along with a description of test pilots, scientists, and others involved with spaceflight during this time.
It is an excellent read, with just the right amount of storytelling, personalization, and technical details. The people are exposed as real people, not put on a pedestal, the way many books tend to treat historic figures. The movie version is good, the book is even better. Read this book whether you're a techie or just interested in this stage of American history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great ride, Dec 11 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Right Stuff (Paperback)
Tom Wolfe's rollicking style (exclamation points!) can take a little getting used to, but once you settle in, you'll find that this is not just a fun-to-read book, but a well-written one too.
First, Wolfe clearly did his research, filling the story with details and facts which prove illuminating (I do wish he included dates more frequently; sometimes it's hard to tell when an event is taking place). His detailed descriptions of the flights of Alan Shepard, John Glenn and Chuck Yeager practically put you in the pilot's seat.
Second, he manages to capture the emotions and feelings of the time, showing the competitive nature that drove the astronauts, how their wives wanted respect, and how the public adored their new space heroes.
Finally, he ties it all together with some good philosophical insights. The Right Stuff! Single Warrior Combat!
My only lament about the book is that Tom Wolfe makes it look so easy. Too many writers since then have tried to imitate his style -- but without doing the fundamental research that makes a good story. The result can be tedious and superficial writing.
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The Right Stuff
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe (Paperback - March 4 2008)
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