Sunday, April 19, 2009

Goodreads: The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
My friend Ty is a big fan of both the movie and the book. When I happened to mention that I hadn't seen or read either, he was aghast, and loaned me the movie immediately. I enjoyed the film quite a bit, and so he insisted I read the book. The stories themselves and the people involved are quite interesting, and make for compelling reading. Wolfe's style is a bit grating at times - he picks a few themes and then mentions them and points them out OVER and OVER ad nauseum, as if the reader might not be able to connect the dots without his big pointing finger to tell you that here's yet another example of "flying and drinking and drinking and driving." Still, it's worth knowing a bit about the men involved in the beginnings of our manned space program. I've always leaned towards unmanned projects, partly because my grandfather was heavily involved with them at JPL and partly because I never understood what was so important about having people be there. Reading this helped me understand the viewpoint of those who love manned space flight (although it does nothing to change my position on the subject).

If I were in a book club with my former workmates with whom the subject of manned vs. unmanned space exploration was a common subject of discussion, this would be an excellent book for us to read & discuss. I am with the Chuck Yeagers of the world who thought that the Mercury astronauts were little more than payloads, and that truly piloted flight (of planes that reach space flight) is more impressive. But I still question the enterprise at all at this point - now that the cold war is over, what is the point of, say, working towards putting a single person or few people on the surface of Mars? It is inspiring as a human enterprise, but more than anything it is a colossal way to burn money. No doubt you have some thoughts on the matter; feel free to share them.

View all my reviews.


Unknown said...

You can satiate your penchant for space exploration and wiki at the same time at The Millenial Project. Still one of the coolest books I've read on OTEC, as well as how to get more out of the NASA budget (like trajectory takeoff).

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the film as well, but now every time I see the title, New Kids starts playing the song in my head..

jeans said...

Where do I comment on your Google reader stuff? Anyway I loved the moustaches, so I assume you know about this blog:

Dave Y said...

yepper, i'm a long time fan of that one. I'm pretty sure you have to be using google reader to comment on my google reader. Or, sometimes individual items can be commented on when they get auto-shared to my facebook, but (as at the moment) when it shares a bunch all at once you can't comment on individual ones, only on the group. And there is sometimes a delay in their showing up there. Using google reader is the answer anyway.