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Millions of words have poured forth about man's trip to the moon, but until now few people have had a sense of the most engrossing side of the adventure: namely, what went on in the minds of the astronauts themselves - in space, on the moon, and even during certain odysseys on earth. It is this, the inner life of the astronauts, that Tom Wolfe describes with his almost uncanny empathetic powers that made The Right Stuff a classic.
Before cell phones, before personal computers, before the internet, astronauts and test pilots were competitive, swaggering hotshots, and some of them were geniuses. (Were astronauts the Tech Titans of yore? Discuss.) Tom Wolfe’s 1979 classic The Right Stuff—set in the 1960s—brings the space race to life through the characters of Gus Grissom, Chuck Yeager, John Glenn, and others. Dennis Quaid’s narration—he played Gordon “Gordo” Cooper in the film of the same name—warms up as the story progresses, and studs the audiobook with moments that are ironic and inspiring, often simultaneously. There’s no wrong time for The Right Stuff!
It has been a long wait for the audiobook of The Right Stuff.
I read the Tom Wolfe book right after its publication in the late 1970s. It was great. Being in the Air Force then, I could appreciate Wolfe’s preparation and research for the book, his general accuracy in telling readers about the life of test pilots and astronauts, and his writing style. It was often funny and sometimes exciting, and always interesting.
The movie version was a near-flawless version of the book, and it still holds up. It won four Academy Awards.
I always figured somebody would produce an audiobook of The Right Stuff, since other Tom Wolfe books are sold at Audible, but the years kept adding up.
Well, the wait has been worth it. The depth of talent in the movie was ridiculous - like the 1927 Yankees - lots of people from the movie could have narrated it. Dennis was probably my top choice. He played the role of astronaut Gordon Cooper. He even spoke the last words on camera in the movie.
Quaid’s narration is superb. Hearing it was like reading the book and watching the movie again. It was funny hearing him speak words and phrases which he had spoken in the movie, such as “Star Voyager.” He mastered the Tom Wolfe style so well, you would think Dennis was telling his own favorite stories about pilots and astronauts.
I rate this one A-Okay.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful
I can't say when I've had more fun wallowing in such terrific writing, such sassy, let it all hang out narration!
Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff is FINALLY an audiobook, and boy has it been worth the wait, or what?!
Dennis Quaid, who played Gordo in the movie, one of the most likable people/characters you'll ever want to see on the big screen, brings marvelous narration--truly, it's as though he loves the material, respects the hell out of the men (and the wives too)! He knows the book backwards and forwards, gives ya drawls, gives you the monotone of space control, gives you the sneering smile of snide comments. He's what bring Wolfe's wonderful words to life.
And boy can Wolfe write! He takes the technical and brings it seasoned emotion that the layman can bite his nails to. He, and the fighter jocks, bring it all to the edge, push that envelope so far that the reader/listener is on the edge of their seat, waiting breathlessly for that next word, that next wonderfully turned phrase.
15+ hours fly by (or maybe zoooom by like a rocket blasting off) when you're having this much fun listening to men as they dare the unknown, as they try to avoid screwing-the-pooch.
Other than Quaid butchering a French word here and there, this book was absolute perfection, and I do hope Wolfe is soaring with pride that his beloved book was produced with such care and such joy!
20 of 22 people found this review helpful