Sunday, September 8, 2013

Book review: "The Right Stuff" by Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe's rollicking style (exclamation points!!) can take a little getting used to, but once you settle in, you'll find that this book is both fun-to-read and well-written.

First, Wolfe clearly did his research, filling the story with details and facts which prove illuminating (I do wish he included dates more frequently; sometimes it's hard to tell when an event is taking place). His detailed descriptions of the flights
of Alan Shepard, John Glenn and Chuck Yeager practically put you in the pilot's seat.

Second, he manages to capture the emotions and feelings of the time, showing the competitive nature that drove the astronauts, how their wives wanted respect, and how the public adored their new space heroes.

Finally, he ties it all together with some good philosophical insights. The Right Stuff! Single Warrior Combat!

My only lament about the book is that Tom Wolfe makes it look so easy. Too many writers since then have tried to imitate his style but without doing the fundamental research that makes a good story. The result can be tedious and superficial writing.


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  1. I wrote a blog about The Right Stuff yesterday too - did you happen to be at the AFI Silver Spring anniversary screening of the film this weekend? Or is it just coincidence?

    1. That's interesting timing, but in this case it's just a coincidence. I actually wrote my review and few years ago for Amazon and just now moved it to my blog. Liked your review!