The Right Stuff

Wolfe, Tom

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1983
ISBN 10: 0374250332 / ISBN 13: 9780374250331
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Stated first printing of the new edition, with a new foreword by Wolfe. Full cloth hardcover binding is clean and tight, but the spine is somewhat cocked. Previous owner's gift inscription on the half-title page, otherwise the interior and text are clean and unmarked. The dust jacket is price-clipped, but is bright, attractive, and otherwise whole. NOT ex-lib. A generally clean, solid copy in jacket. 436pp. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: Millions of words have poured forth about man's trip to the moon, but until now few people have had a sense of the most engrossing side of the adventure; namely, what went on in the minds of the astronauts themselves - in space, on the moon, and even during certain odysseys on earth. It is this, the inner life of the astronauts, that Tom Wolfe describes with his almost uncanny emapthetic powers, that made this book a classic.

Review: Tom Wolfe began The Right Stuff at a time when it was unfashionable to contemplate American heroism. Nixon had left the White House in disgrace, the nation was reeling from the catastrophe of Vietnam, and in 1979--the year the book appeared--Americans were being held hostage by Iranian militants. Yet it was exactly the anachronistic courage of his subjects that captivated Wolfe. In his foreword, he notes that as late as 1970, almost one in four career Navy pilots died in accidents. "The Right Stuff," he explains, "became a story of why men were willing--willing?--delighted!--to take on such odds in this, an era literary people had long since characterized as the age of the anti-hero."

Wolfe's roots in New Journalism were intertwined with the nonfiction novel that Truman Capote had pioneered with In Cold Blood. As Capote did, Wolfe tells his story from a limited omniscient perspective, dropping into the lives of his "characters" as each in turn becomes a major player in the space program. After an opening chapter on the terror of being a test pilot's wife, the story cuts back to the late 1940s, when Americans were first attempting to break the sound barrier. Test pilots, we discover, are people who live fast lives with dangerous machines, not all of them airborne. Chuck Yeager was certainly among the fastest, and his determination to push through Mach 1--a feat that some had predicted would cause the destruction of any aircraft--makes him the book's guiding spirit.

Yet soon the focus shifts to the seven initial astronauts. Wolfe traces Alan Shepard's suborbital flight and Gus Grissom's embarrassing panic on the high seas (making the controversial claim that Grissom flooded his Liberty capsule by blowing the escape hatch too soon). The author also produces an admiring portrait of John Glenn's apple-pie heroism and selfless dedication. By the time Wolfe concludes with a return to Yeager and his late-career exploits, the narrative's epic proportions and literary merits are secure. Certainly The Right Stuff is the best, the funniest, and the most vivid book ever written about America's manned space program. --Patrick O'Kelley

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Right Stuff
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: 1983
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Very Good
Edition: First Thus

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Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Condition: Acceptable. {Sp9780723236498 ecial Notes} The book is a readable copy showing signs of wear and the pages are intact. The cover may have some creases or minor tears. The dust jacket (if applicable) may be missing. The book may be an ex-library book. The book may contain: a publisher remainder mar All orders guaranteed and ship within 24 hours. Before placing your order for please contact us for confirmation on the book's binding. Check out our other listings to add to your order for discounted shipping. Seller Inventory # BOS-J-04c-00564

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Book Description Condition: Good. [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ][ Ships Daily ] [ Underlining/Highlighting: NONE ] [ Writing: NONE ] [ Edition: Reprint ] Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Pub Date: 10/1/1983 Binding: Hardcover Pages: 448 Reprint edition. Seller Inventory # 6110208

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Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1983. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. 1st Edition. 1st edition, 1st printing of 1983 edition. dust jacket in Brodart wraps. light edge and corner wear, small chip on bottom spine of dust jacket. some edge wear to boards. foxing on fore edge. text is unmarked. binding crisp, tight. Seller Inventory # 5008166

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