kimberlyschimmel profile image

Astronauts: Awesome, but Not Perfect

Tom Wolfe, in his inimitable style, gave us this masterpiece, The Right Stuff, about the original American astronauts: the "Mercury Seven." Take a break from science fiction and look into this book full of science facts as well as the real drama of families living on technology's cutting edge at a turbulent time in history.

For those too young to know, the Cold War was a scary time for Americans. Soviet communism was a clear and present danger and technology became the battlefield between the free world and the communists. Tom Wolfe takes us from the Sputnik event, in which the Russians got an artificial satellite into orbit before the United States did, to Yuri Gargarin's historic "first man in space" flight for the Soviets, to the struggles involved in getting Americans into space.

While Wolfe did his research and had a good understanding of the technical aspects of spece flight, the most compelling portions of this book are the human stories. When I was a child, astronauts were idols--supermen of our time. We wanted to drink Tang because the astronauts did, learn math and science like the astronauts did, go to engineering school like an astronaut, etc. Tom Wolfe explores the more human aspects of the astronauts. Having the right stuff didn't make them perfect, although they were certainly unique among Americans.

Wolfe also portrays the wives of the "Mercury Seven" sympathetically. The stress of marriage to a test pilot was bad enough, but these women endured even more than that. How did they cope with husbands who were celebrities engaged in dangerous experiments while the whole world watched? This book should give all Americans a greater appreciation for those who dare to explore the unknown for the sake of science or national defense.

Learn More about the Space Race

 Last updated on September 14, 2014

Useful Funny Awesome Beautiful Interesting 

Are you old enough to remember the Mercury, Gemini, or Apollo missions? 18 comments

puppy-love profile image

puppy-love 6 months ago Level 1 Commenter

This looks like an interesting read.


Linda BookLady profile image

Linda BookLady 6 months ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA Level 4 Commenter

Oh, absolutely the human stories are the best... not that I've read this book... I just know that human interest stories keep my attention!! Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the review!


aka-rms profile image

aka-rms 6 months ago from USA Level 3 Commenter

Congratulations on being selected review of the day!


Merrci profile image

Merrci 6 months ago from Oregon's Southern Coast Level 8 Commenter

Congrats on Review of the Day! It sounds like an excellent book!


David Stone1 profile image

David Stone1 6 months ago from New York City Level 7 Commenter

Congratulations on your recognition for this very well crafted lens.


Diana Wenzel profile image

Diana Wenzel 6 months ago from Colorado Level 6 Commenter

I would appreciate this book very much, as I would like to know more about the personal stories of the Space Age. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. Congrats on Review of the Day!


tonyleather 6 months ago

This looks like a book I should like to read!


alexia-britannica profile image

alexia-britannica 6 months ago

Hope this book will be a good one....


alexia-britannica profile image

alexia-britannica 6 months ago

Hope this book will be a good one....


esmonaco profile image

esmonaco 6 months ago from Lakewood New York Level 7 Commenter

Great review!! Congratulations on Review of the the day :)


Ibidii profile image

Ibidii 6 months ago from Northern California Level 6 Commenter

Awesome review, I want to watch this movie, and congratulations on Review of the the day!


Ibidii profile image

Ibidii 6 months ago from Northern California Level 6 Commenter

I meant book, I did watch the move, I will have to read the book. I listened to Apollo 13 book and it was great!


mansfisa44 profile image

mansfisa44 6 months ago

Good Job!


Vikk Simmons profile image

Vikk Simmons 5 months ago from Houston Level 1 Commenter

I actually lived through that time period with my dad who worked in the space program from Project Mercury through the early days of the space station. Congrats!


kimberlyschimmel profile image

kimberlyschimmel 5 months ago from Greensboro, NC Hub Author

A friend of mine grew up in Houston, where her dad worked for NASA during that time. I grew up in INdiana watching the astronauts on TV.


Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 5 months ago from Texas USA Level 6 Commenter

i have never watched the movie, though it opened in theatres while i was in the early days of my military career. i may have to give this a visit. excellent review. congrats on lotd.


Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 5 months ago from Texas USA Level 6 Commenter

the book looks like it might be an interesting read as well. great review of the book. i think i said movie in the previous comment.


SamuraiMarine profile image

SamuraiMarine 5 months ago Level 1 Commenter

Read this book years ago, before I saw the movie. Excellent read, and I have read it a couple more times. Wolfe is an outstanding story-teller.

Great review!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages account.

    8192 characters left.
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your Hubs or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    Please wait working