I read this book for the group book challenge task 31 - A Book Your Father Loves. It would also work for a book made into a movie, a book about heroes, n inspirational story, and a book with a blue cover.
I actually remember my Dad reading this book. My mom got it for him when I was about 8 or 9. It was just before the Space Shuttle Columbia's original launch so there was a lot of interest in astronauts. My Dad was a retired fighter pilot by then, so for him, there was always a lot of interest in astronauts.
I remember my Dad talking about Chuck Yeagher. He was the pilot of the X-15 who was the first man to break the sound barrier. I could never understand why Yeagher was not an astronaut, but Wolfe does a brilliant job explaining why in his book. The official story is that he wasn't qualified because he didn't have a college degree but the fact is, Yeagher was a pilot and the Mercury astronauts didn't actually fly the capsules.
I thoroghly enjoyed this book. I grew up with my Dad and men like him - fighter pilots - those that had "the right stuff". I've never had who they are more exacty described then here, in Wolfe's wonderful book I am fascinated by this time in history and I love reading about astronauts and test pilots. I thought this book did a fantastic job describing what life was really like for these men and what inspired them to do the things they did It also provides an excellent historical and political backdrop to all the factors that escalated the space race. Another wonderful book, if this topic interests you is The Astroanaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel.
Aside from the fantastic subject matter, Wolfe is- quite simply- a brilliant writer. His flow and word choice - impeccable. Just reading his writtten thoughts is a joy in itself. I loved every minute of this book, had a hard time putting it down. I recommend it highly! 5 out of 5 stars.