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The Right Stuff af Tom Wolfe

The Right Stuff (original 1979; udgave 2008)

af Tom Wolfe (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
3,954612,264 (4.21)139
The true story of Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra, Gordon Cooper, and Deke Slayton - the seven men chosen for the Mercury Project manned space flight program in the U.S.
Titel:The Right Stuff
Forfattere:Tom Wolfe (Forfatter)
Samlinger:Læst, men ikke ejet
Nøgleord:20th century, American History, astronauts, aviation, biography, history, NASA, non-fiction, science, space, space exploration, space program

Detaljer om værket

Kold marv af Tom Wolfe (1979)

  1. 20
    Failure is not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond af Eugene Kranz (Anonym bruger)
  2. 10
    V-2 af Walter Dornberger (dukeallen)
  3. 10
    A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts af 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
    Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery af Scott Kelly (JenniferRobb)
  5. 00
    Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth af 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
    Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void af 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.

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» Se også 139 omtaler

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The story of the first seven American astronauts, compared and contrasted with the life of Chuck Yeager, the first man to break the sound barrier. But this is far more than just a biography of names, dates and places. Wolfe delved deep into what it meant to be a Test Pilot in the years after the Second World War; how these men thought, and talked, and lived (and sometimes died). He also brings the whole story of the pilots' families into focus; what it meant to be married to a test pilot and how it affected the wives, especially in times when male and female roles were far more stratified than they are now. If this book had been written in the 1930s or 1940s, it would have been science fiction; but it goes far beyond any goshwow pulp melodrama.

All this is reflected back on the way these pilots were lauded by politicians, businessmen, the media and the American public. This adds a further dimension to the book, making it into a social history of the 1950s and 60s seen through the prism of the space programme.

Wolfe develops his theory that the top pilots had a particular mindset, the "Right Stuff" of the title. If you have to ask what the "Right Stuff" is, especially by the time you've read this book, then you are irretrievably blind to it, and you certainly don't possess it yourself. Wolfe identifies it, using the language of the time, as comprising in part of "manly virtues", though this phrase is italicised so often that I could not help but think that his tongue was firmly stuck in his cheek when he wrote it.

The 1983 film captures the book extremely well, though there is so much more in the book that the film couldn't pin down. For example, Glenn's wife Annie was (sympathetically) portrayed in the film as a somewhat shy and retiring character on account of her stammer; the film's depiction of her husband's tender relationship with her is a key part of its character portrait of John Glenn. But the book makes the point that Annie Glenn was neither shy nor retiring, coming as she did from "good pioneer stock", quite capable of holding her own in life and only quailing before a media onslaught that would roll over most people.

The book also returns often to the Air Force manned X-15 spaceplane project and its planned successors. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, whilst American administrations focussed on rocketry, the achievements of the X-15 pilots, in flying to the edge of space and beyond were broadly ignored. Yet the X-15 programme would eventually produce the first man to walk on the Moon, Neil Armstrong.

I can only fault the book on one error of fact; when talking about the Soviet Vostok vessels, Wolfe translates the Russian word 'Korabl' as 'Cosmic', when in fact it means 'ship'. Quite what the NASA astronauts would have thought, when they were pressing for changes to the Mercury capsule and the mission profiles to give them much more of the role of pilots rather than just payload, to know that the Russians were referring to their rocket as a "ship" from the outset will most likely remain lost.

The writing is resolutely Sixties, both in phrase and usage; but it is a fine piece of writing nonetheless and thoroughly deserves the accolades it received at the time of publication.

(Having said that, I'm sad to say that my copy, a film tie-in Bantam A-format paperback printed in the UK in 1983, is probably one of the nastiest books I've handled in recent years. Pulpy paper, a cover that displays edge and corner wear as soon as I picked it up, and excessively narrow margins and big blocks of text made worse by the displacement of the text towards the bottom of the page, resulting in almost no bottom margin, made the actual reading of this book an unpleasant experience. Fortunately, the content more than made up for this.) ( )
2 stem RobertDay | Mar 5, 2021 |
It is a good book and a very informative read about the start of the US space program and how it quickly was setup to counter the Russian launches. What kind of people were flying on the first rocket ships. Pretty impressive.

Recommended for all and not only for people interested into the space race back then. ( )
  gullevek | Dec 15, 2020 |
The Very Brotherhood of the Right Stuff, that Righteous, Righteous stuff, the Indefinable, Unutterable, Integral Stuff.

Test pilots have The Right Stuff. Astronauts have The Right Stuff. Thus Tom Wolfe pulls us into Chuck Yeager's world in Muroc in the 1940's when the sound barrier is about to be broken and segues us into the original Seven - the chosen ones with the righteous, righteous stuff, the first men into space. (Never mind a monkey's gonna make the first flight! Never mind our rockets always blow up!)

Wolfe goes into detail about the astronauts' lives, the astronauts' wives, the Drinking and Driving, the Drinking and Flying (oh, wait, there WAS no flying for these Mercury Seven!), the astronauts' grumbles and gripes, the astronauts' allegiance to Mom and apple pie!, the astronaut's - uh - groupies??

As always with Tom Wolfe, you're there with Yeager in the X-1, you're floundering in the ocean with Gus Grissom, you're looking at the fireflies with John Glenn in Friendship 7, and you're there (and just as upset) with the chimpanzee receiving the electric shocks in the feet when he screws up.

And you're there when some Friend of Widows and Orphans comes to your door after there's been an accident. . .

I have to give a shout out to local hero Scott Carpenter! Okay, maybe he had a bit too much fun up there in Aurora 7 (some controversy surrounds this), but he was well loved here. Also, as an aside, Grissom's capsule was recovered in 1999. Unfortunately, still no way to determine if the hatch "just blew".

Interesting read. Recommended if you can handle Tom Wolfe's writing style and can get in the back of the spaceship and peek around front to see what's really happening. ( )
2 stem Chica3000 | Dec 11, 2020 |
There is setting of Hemingway in the style, it's helping in the (very few) dry passages.
The book is doing a great job at answering: what is motivating a band of proud men at risking his life on seating on top of a rocket to go into space for the first times. ( )
  jbrieu | Nov 6, 2020 |
Like most of his early non-fiction this classic is over-the-top, but a great read. ( )
  Steve_Walker | Sep 13, 2020 |
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The true story of Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra, Gordon Cooper, and Deke Slayton - the seven men chosen for the Mercury Project manned space flight program in the U.S.

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