The Right Stuff - Tom Wolfe

Having massively enjoyed The Bonfire of the Vanities, and being geeky enough to be interested in rockets 'n' stuff, I bought Tom Wolfe's book on early American spaceflight. It turns out that it's really much more the story of Air Force test-piloting, and how that, rather bumpily, extended to space flight. The early part of the book reads like the inspiration for Top Gun, and Wolfe's style does come through in places, with the repetition of his particular theses.

Having said that, it's quite a jolt reading a piece of Tom Wolfe's non-fiction work after The Bonfire of the Vanities. The feel is very different. Overall, I was slightly disappointed, but only because I had very high expectations. Factually, it gave me a much better understanding of the history of manned rocketry - for example, I'd previously been pretty much unaware of the existence of space flights in Air Force rocket planes. All in all, worth reading, but not exactly worth running to the bookshops for.

Posted 2005-11-02.