Patrick's Reviews > The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
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's review
Oct 24, 2010

really liked it

This is a really good book. A great author with a really interesting subject. The book is about the Mercury Space Program, and does a great job of recounting the history of America's first manned space program. The story skews to the personal stories of the astronauts and major NASA personnel versus the technical side, but Wolfe is a good enough writer to merge the personal and technical and keep the story moving the entire time. Throughout the book the idea of "the right stuff" permeates. This is the phrase Wolfe gives to the feeling that all great pilots must have in order to be able to push the envelope. The pilots must be technically superior, but they also must have "the right stuff" to stay calm and make the correct decisions under extreme pressure when something goes wrong in flight. In exploring this idea, Wolfe spends a significant chunk of the book writing about Chuck Yeager, the famed test pilot and first man to break the speed of sound. Yeager steals the show, and the sections about him were my favorite of the book.

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