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The Right Stuff (1979)

by Tom Wolfe

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4,541682,370 (4.19)162
A 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.
  1. 20
    Failure is not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond by Eugene Kranz (Anonymous user)
  2. 10
    V-2 by Walter Dornberger (dukeallen)
  3. 10
    A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin (paulkid)
    paulkid: Chaikin gives a respectful account of the later astronauts' journeys and their personalities, while Wolfe gives irreverent and hilarious depictions of the mood and personalities surrounding the beginning of the space race (ie, Mercury and pre-Mercury).
  4. 00
    Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach (nessreader)
    nessreader: The shift in corporate mentality in NASA between the testosterone drenched fighter pilots of Wolfe's era and the team orientated and PR-paranoid present is instructive. The terrifying discipline required seems equal; in any case, interesting to compare.
  5. 00
    Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: Wolfe tells of the early and sometimes would-be astronauts and Smith of the later ones who walked on the moon. Both books are wonderfully readable.
  6. 00
    Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly (JenniferRobb)

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» See also 162 mentions

English (62)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
A look at the beginnings of space flight in the USA and the people who "rode the rockets" and their families. The book looks at it from the breaking of the sound barrier and concludes at the beginning of Gemini missions time frame. It also takes a look at the psychology needed to be a test pilot and astronaut, and if both truly have "The Right Stuff".

I very much enjoyed this look at the history of space flight and the how the people felt at the time. ( )
  jamesjarrett00 | Aug 28, 2023 |
Goddamn fantastic. ( )
  blueskygreentrees | Jul 30, 2023 |
The Mercury astronauts and their place in the fraternity of test pilots
I recall reading this book many years ago, in a paperback edition, but when the new Folio edition arrived I decided to read it again. I have often thought about some of the passages in the book, like the description of the drawl of the airline pilots deriving from Chuck Yeager, and the enema revolt. I also recalled Tom Wolfe's unique voice, and his vivid descriptions. I did not recall the drama of Gordon Cooper's difficult late Mercury flight, about the x-series rocket planes, and Chuck Yeager's attempt at an altitude record in a rocket powered F-104 that ended in a crash and injury. This is Tom Wolfe's best work. ( )
  neurodrew | May 26, 2023 |
  Greytail | May 7, 2023 |
Wolfe is hyperbolic, repetitive, and extremely full of himself. I couldn't stand the thought of another 250 pages of his smug assertions of the superhuman cockiness of the pilots with none of the real explanations of why astronauts were being trained the way they were.

Give me a book that talks more about the planes and rockets, that doesn't have a weird anti-science bent, that isn't so biased against Grissom.

And if you ever want to relive your nostalgia for the sexism and paternalism of the 1960s, this is your book. ( )
  Tikimoof | Feb 17, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
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Within five minutes, or ten minutes, no more than that, three of the others had called her on the telephone to ask her if she had heard that something had happened out there.
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A 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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