The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

The Right Stuff is a 1979 book by Tom Wolfe about the pilots engaged in U.S. postwar experiments with experimental rocket-powered, high-speed aircraft as well as documenting the stories of the first Project Mercury astronauts selected for the NASA space program. The Right Stuff is based on extensive research by Wolfe, who interviewed test pilots, the astronauts and their wives, among others. The story contrasts the "Mercury Seven" and their families with test pilots such as Chuck Yeager, who was considered by many contemporaries as the best of them all, but who was never selected as an astronaut. Wolfe wrote that the book was inspired by the desire to find out why the astronauts accepted the danger of space flight. He recounts the enormous risks that test pilots were already taking, and the mental and physical characteristics required for and reinforced by their jobs ("the right stuff"). Wolfe likens the astronauts to "single combat warriors" from an earlier era who received the honor and adoration of their people before going forth to fight on their behalf.

The 48th greatest nonfiction book of all time

This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 26th on Extreme Classics: The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time (National Geographic Adventure Magazine)
  2. - 52nd on The Modern Library | 100 Best Nonfiction (The Modern Library)
  3. - The 80 Books Every Man Should Read (Esquire)
  4. - 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime ( (USA))
  5. - 100 Major Works of Modern Creative Nonfiction (
  6. - Great Books (The Learning Channel)
  7. - The 100 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time (The Guardian)
  8. - The 50 Best Books of the Century (Intercollegiate Studies Institute)

Buy This Book

Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
The Right Stuff Paperback 10506 $7.02 $2.30 2008
By Tom Wolfe The Right Stuff [Hardcover] Hardcover 467605 $123.90 $48.54 1983
The Right Stuff Audible Audiobook 337 $34.95 2018
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe (1980-11-08) Mass Market Paperback 227452 $1,445.42 $16.81
The Right Stuff Paperback 43298 $10.39 2018
The Bonfire of The Vanities & The Right Stuff Hardcover 2210890 $12.68 $0.01 1994
The Right Stuff Hardcover 222470 $45.98 $2.18 1979
The Right Stuff Mass Market Paperback 910036 $11.97 $0.01
The Right Stuff Hardcover 156255 $44.09 $26.89 1983
The Right Stuff Kindle Edition 14087 $7.99 2004
The Right Stuff Paperback 92858 $7.69 $4.17 2008
The Right Stuff Mass Market Paperback 821190 $9.70 $0.01 1983
The Right Stuff: Illustrated Hardcover 800801 $44.98 $0.01
The Right Stuff Audio CD 477571 $9.99 2016
The Right Stuff, Revised Edition Hardcover 700678 $0.01
The Right Stuff. Illustrated. the Great American Classic. Now Including Hundreds of Historic Photographs Hardcover 9113212 $20.70 2004
The Right Stuff Paperback 1453909 $3.33 $0.01 1983
The Right Stuff Paperback 1104713 $5.74 $0.01 2001