Tom Wolfe’s book on the history of the U.S. Space program reads like a novel, and the film has that same fictional quality. It covers the breaking of the sound barrier by Chuck Yeager to the Mercury 7 astronauts, showing that no one had a clue how to run a space program or how to select people to be in it. Thrilling, funny, charming and electrifying all at once.
Thus wrote ↑Tom Vogel at IMDb on the novel ‘↑The Right Stuff‘ (Wolfe 1979) and the ↑movie of the same name (Kaufman 1983). It couldn’t be summed up better, and I just loved the movie as a 13-year old. [Some day, if I feel like really boring you, I'll tell you the story how and why I didn't become a jet-jockey and test-pilot but got stuck with the propeller stuff.] The movie I watched several times, but I haven’t yet read Wolfe’s book, although it prominently resides on the shelf … right next to the DVD.
Anyway, I just learned that there’s another book around, this time from an insider, and on the just ↵recently terminated shuttle program: ‘↑Riding rockets: The outrageous tales of a space shuttle astronaut‘ (Mullane 2006). Don’t miss Chris ‘JetHead’ Manno’s ↑review [a professional pilot's review].