ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Astronauts: Awesome, but Not Perfect

Updated on December 29, 2017

The "Right Stuff"

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.

A Compelling Story of Courage

The Right Stuff
The Right Stuff

Like the book, the movie is long--but well worth your time!


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

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • SamuraiMarine profile image

      Samuel Wright 

      4 years ago from Bakersfield, Ca.

      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!

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      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.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 

      4 years ago from Texas USA

      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.

    • kimberlyschimmel profile imageAUTHOR

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 

      4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      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.

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 

      4 years ago from Houston

      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!

    • mansfisa44 profile image


      4 years ago

      Good Job!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      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!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

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

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 

      4 years ago from Lakewood New York

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

    • alexia-britannica profile image


      4 years ago

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

    • alexia-britannica profile image


      4 years ago

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

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      This looks like a book I should like to read!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      4 years ago from Colorado

      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!

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 

      4 years ago from New York City

      Congratulations on your recognition for this very well crafted lens.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

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

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      4 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on being selected review of the day!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      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!

    • puppy-love profile image


      4 years ago

      This looks like an interesting read.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)