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The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

I grew up in Lancaster, CA a few minutes south of Edwards Air Force Base. Sonic booms and low flying jets overhead were a part of my childhood. Aviation history happened in my backyard and I am fascinated by it all. How did we go from the Wright brothers in Kitty Hawk to Yeager and the speed of sound in just fifty years?

The Right Stuff is a classic. Published in 1979, Wolfe chronicles the life of test pilots as they journey to be the first men in space. Any way you look it, this is an amazing piece of American history. If you love science and technology, you can admire the technical aspects. If you love grit and genius, you can admire the determination and bravery of the first astronauts. If you love political history, you can admire the Cold War politics manifesting through manned space flight.

This is the first time I have read celebrated author Tom Wolfe and I am very impressed. It would be very easy to spout historical narratives in a very dry and boring manner. Instead, Wolfe keeps you captivated the whole time, even when I knew the end of the story.