OK, I confess. I wasn't able to make it all the way through this book, a failure that doesn't happen often. It seemed to go flat at a certain point. That having been said, the reason I made it as far as I did was the first chapter! If nothing else, if you consider yourself a reader,you must read the first chapter before you die. You owe it to yourself. I could not begin to count all the books, fiction or nonfiction, that I have read over a generous life. And no doubt some may quibble with me over this. But the first chapter of this book was the most gripping, engaging, delightful chapter I have ever read! The craftsmanship of this chapter is masterful.
So if nothing else, take an hour and savor this chapter. Leave a comment if you agree with me. And perhaps the momentum of that chapter will carry you through to the end. If so, let me know if I missed something nearly as wonderful later in the book.
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.
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.
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.
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!
What a fantastic book!
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