[The Right Stuff free] PDF By Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe ´ 1 SUMMARY

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. A uite good read but not really what I would expect from Wolfe The tone is very informal and the narrative almost unstructured conversational This makes the first third a bit slow and drawn out as we re repeatedly hammered by the problem with the start of the Mercury program being that the pilot cum astronauts would not be reuired or even able to use their flying skills The race with Russia was full on from the start and the feats being accomplished under their program with little forewarning or insights is compared to the Chief Designer and the Integral of Zamyatin s We This is an apt parallel but awfully tiresome when used 20 30 times Something happens near the middle of the book though and when actual space flights and orbital flights start taking place it s almost unputdownableThe last part of the book slows down some again but does have it s definite highlights such as the astronaut charm school teaching such indispensable knowledge as what way your thumbs should be pointed should you ever put your hands on your hips Which as we all know probably should be avoided altogether Another great part is the failed Yeager attempt to set a new altitude record for the souped up version of the F 104 fighter planeAll in all should the first third be tightened up some and a few mentions of the Integral be removed along with a bunch of exclamation marks this would be brilliant As it is it s well worth reading

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The Right Stuff

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. I ve probably read over a thousand books I just earned my MA in History and am a writer who s headed to UC Berkeley in the fall and The Right Stuff along with the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test are in my top 10 Exhilarating uncanny and unusual for Wolfe concise The man s range as a writer going from drug fueled hippie rebellion to death defying test pilots with unuestioned loyalty to the state remains virtually unprecedented I m re examining Wolfe s body of work as I finish my first book The Case of the Cleantech Con Artist A True Vegas Tale

REVIEW ó EXCEEDBDF.CO.UK ´ Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe began The Right Stuff at a time when it was unfashionable to contemplate American heroism Nixon had left the White House in disgrace the nation was reeling from the catastrophe of Vietnam and in 1979 the year the book appeared Americans were being held hostage by Iranian militants Yet it was exactly the anachronistic courage of his subjects that captivated Wolfe In his foreword he notes that as late as 1970 almost one in four career Navy pilots died in accidents The Right Stuff he explains became a story of why men were willing willing delighted to take on such odds in this an era literary people had long since characterized as the age of the anti hero Wolfe's roots in New Journalism. This would have been a superb book but for Wolfe s puzzling decision to libel astronaut Gus Grissom Sadly between the book and its movie adaptation Wolfe s distortions are probably all that most people know about Grissom assuming of course that they remember any astronaut other than Neil Armstrong in the first placeGrissom was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts and the second to go into space After his capsule splashed down its hatch blew before the recovery helicopter arrived and the spacecraft sank marring a near flawless mission No one was able to determine the cause of the incident even after the capsule was recovered from the ocean floor thirty years later but the universal consensus among NASA s engineers and astronauts was that mechanical failure couldn t be ruled out and that Grissom deserved the benefit of the doubtFor some reason Wolfe decided that Grissom despite having been a combat veteran and despite the fact that the most dangerous stages of the mission launch and re entry were behind him had panicked and blown the hatch himself He also insinuates that the souvenirs Grissom had brought along a few rolls of coins and some keychain sized models of the capsule had somehow contributed to Grissom s nearly drowning in fact air had been escaping from a valve that he admitted he had forgotten to close reducing his buoyancy Wolfe cynically adds that NASA covered up Grissom s blunders in the interest of protecting its public imageIn reality there s no evidence for Wolfe s position Even the curmudgeonly Flight Director Chris Kraft whose autobiography shows no reluctance to tear into other astronauts has steadfastly maintained that Grissom wasn t at fault The clearest evidence of Grissom s blamelessness is the fact that he was chosen to command the first Gemini mission and the first manned Apollo mission If NASA s administration had believed that Grissom was incompetent there would have been no need for them to make any embarrassing public admissions they could have asked him to resign for personal reasons or they could have kept him on salary while simply not assigning him to any new missionsA lesser flaw with the book is that Wolfe presents his opinions as facts regarding the meaning of the right stuff and the meaning of the public s adoration of the Mercury Seven but these flaws are easier to overlook And having said all that this is an otherwise compelling look at the early days of manned space exploration at the glory days of Edwards Air Force Base and at the test pilots who first broke the sound barrier and went on to fly rocket planes to the edge of space


10 thoughts on “The Right Stuff

  1. says:

    This would have been a superb book but for Wolfe's puzzling decision to libel astronaut Gus Grissom Sadly between the book and its

  2. says:

    Updated May 15 2018 RIP Tom Wolfe reading this book was such an eye opener You were a true original I'll never forget the pure pleasure I had reading this book as well as the great satire that was that is Bonfire Of The Vanities Yee hawwww Tom Wolfe's 1979 book about the American space race is a high octane non fiction masterpieceW

  3. says:

    Treasure of the Rubbermaids 24 Rocket Men The on going discoveries of priceless books and comics found in a stack of Rubbermaid containers previously stored and forgotten at my parent’s house and untouched for almost 20 years Thanks to my father dumping them back on me I now spend my spare time unearthing lost treasur

  4. says:

    Good GRIEF somebody please remind me about this the next time I think I will read a Tom Wolfe book I seem to read one about every 15 years and in between I forget what an unpleasant experience I find it I cannot Ta

  5. says:

    Back when I was a kid I watched The Right Stuff And while that really dates me it also sparked my fascination with the OTHER side of the science fiction coin You know REALITY and the real men and women doing real scienceAnd even if I'm not fanatical about learning science I've never stopped learning and I don't want to Sure I may be doing it

  6. says:

    I've probably read over a thousand books I just earned my MA in History and am a writer who's headed to UC Berkeley in the fall and The Right Stuff along with the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test are in my top 10 Exhilarating uncanny and unusual for Wolfe concise The man's range as a writer going from drug fueled hippie rebellion to death defying test pilots with unuestioned loyalty to the state remains virtually un

  7. says:

    Catch up Review 2 of 4So this was a buddy read among the pantsless in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing Unfortunately for me it was of a failure to launch than a successful mission See what I did there?I WANTED to like this I wanted to learn about the men who made this mission the ones brave enough to leave the planet and try to land on the moon the ones that clearly had cojones the size of beachballs that's the

  8. says:

    Tom Wolfe's big and beautiful nonfiction romp makes for an absolutely A audiobook listen While listening to Dennis uaid's narration I felt as

  9. says:

    A uite good read but not really what I would expect from Wolfe The tone is very informal and the narrative almost unstructured conversational This makes the first third a bit slow and drawn out as we're repeatedly hammered by the problem with the start of the Mercury program being that the pilot cum astronauts would not

  10. says:

    No better book has been written about flying or the space race Tom Wolfe has what it takes the bubbling enthusiasm and critical eye to write properly about astronauts The Right Stuff is about endurance guts reflexes a cool head and giant titanium testicles It's about going up day after day in high performance jets that are trying their level best to kill you and statistically will kill 23% of pilots in peace

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