To complement our theme of space exploration, Scott Brown, editor of Fine Books & Collections magazine, has chosen one of the very finest copies of Tom Wolfe’s history of the Mercury space program, The Right Stuff, as the pick of the month.
The Right Stuff
by Tom Wolfe
A fine copy in two dust jackets (both in fine condition): the usual first edition jacket and the rare first-state jacket with an entirely different hippy design which is suggestive of the covers on Wolfe’s earlier books.
Publisher: New York: Farrar, Strauss, Giroux
Publication Date: 1979
Binding: Hardcover, with two dust jackets
Edition: First Edition
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Tom Wolfe made a name for himself in the 1960s by chronicling the counter-culture in books like The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers. That background made his terrific book, The Right Stuff, about heroism during the early years of the American space program, all the more surprising. The book appeared when the United States still felt the malaise of the Watergate scandal and just days after the Iranian hostage crisis began. The Right Stuff reminded readers of the tremendous risks taken by test pilots like Chuck Yeager, Gus Grissom, and John Glenn.
Bertram Rota Ltd., a venerable London antiquarian bookstore, is offering an exceptional first edition of The Right Stuff. This first edition includes the very scarce trial dust jacket, which was changed at the last minute from a striking design suggestive of the covers on Wolfe’s earlier books to a more somber, patriotic illustration. Copies in the trial wrapper were never sold to the public and even now are not widely known to exist.
Even better, Wolfe inscribed this book in a magnificent hand to Wayne Warga, a pilot and fellow author, who, according to Wolfe “first returned the astronauts to earth.” This inscription refers to the first memoir of a moon astronaut, Buzz Aldrin’s 1973 book, Return to Earth, which was co-written with Warga. Bertram Rota’s copy of The Right Stuff is accompanied by a four-page advanced promotional pamphlet entitled The Brotherhood of the Right Stuff. Warga is familiar to many book collectors as the author of three bibliomysteries, Hardcover, Fatal Impressions, and Singapore Transfer, featuring a fictional Los Angeles book dealer
First edition. Fine in fine dustwrapper. Wolfe's look at the early days of the manned space program, basis for the highly regarded 1983 film directed by Philip Kaufman, and featuring a good ensemble cast with Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, and Dennis Quaid. A lovely copy. First edition.
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A very nice copy of this First Edition. Very clean and tidy protected dust wrapper*. No significant dirt. No chips or tears. A little bumping / edge wear to the wrapper with some darkening to the edges. Not clipped. The book itself is very clean and tidy, with no significant damage to it. Slight darkening to the edges. No inscriptions. (*All our wrappers are protected in removable clear plastic film). ; 8vo 7 ¾" - 9 ¾" tall; 480 pages.
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