Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

I was asked to preview this book for the HEO curriculum year 10. It turned out to be a little too risque to recommend for the curriculum, but it was such an interesting book that I couldn't take it back to the library before finishing it. Tom Wolfe is an excellent writer, although definately for an adult crowd. The Right Stuff is a book about the beginning of America's entry into the space race. It shares the lives of those involved in breaking the sound barrier and also the first Astronauts who participated in the Mercury space program. The book chronicles people such as Chuck Yeager, Al Sheppard, John Glen and the other of the first 7 astronauts and flight test pilots that broke speed records in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Mr. Wolfe does an excellent job of putting you in the place of the wives of the test pilots, experiencing the emotions of not knowing if your husband would come home from work that night or if some official would knock on your door to let you know that he would never come home again. The language in the book is very rough and the lifestyles of the guys are also rough. Mr. Wolfe is a very descriptive writer that helps you to visualize the story well, even the things you would rather not see, such as the sordid details of the pilots lives. The book also took a look at the competition involved in the flight test program and probably with military pilots in general. Overall, I am glad I read the book, it put the space program in human terms. We watched the movie years ago, when it first came out - now I will have to watch it again and see what I think.

1 comment:

Graham Jones said...

That brings back memories.