Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: The Right Stuff

The Right StuffThe Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the third book I've read by Tom Wolfe, and it was stupendous! It was ground-breaking! A real treat! (Okay, I'll stop with the exclamation points now. I'm no Tom Wolfe, after all). After having read "The Bonfire of the Vanities," which was fiction, and the "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," which was non-fiction, I was a bit wary to read "The Right Stuff" since I wasn't too fond of the latter book. It was too spacy and disconnected for my liking. But after having read "The Right Stuff," I came to realize that the out-there writing approach used for "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" was purely intentional, as the prose in "The Right Stuff" has a very different and more dramatic tone to it that fits the subject matter. It really works here.

Following test pilots who eventually become astronauts, the story soars with Wolfe's exceptional writing. And since Tom Wolfe was one of the brothers of the "new school of journalism", this true account reads like a novel. I'm actually pretty shocked at how in depth he was allowed to get with his subjects, as there's a lot of talk about things like infidelity and drinking and driving in here. It doesn't always paint the pilots and astronauts in the best light.

But it certainly is juicy, and I understand why the book was such a massive success when it originally came out. I have to watch the movie now. I wonder how this story translated to film. Give it a read if you're into flight and space travel. There's probably no more entertaining book about it.

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