By the time Kittinger was shot down in Vietnam, in 1972, his Air Force career was already legendary. He had made a name for himself at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, New Mexico, as a test pilot who helped demonstrate that egress survival for pilots at high altitudes was possible in emergency situations. Ironically, Kittinger and his pre-astronaut colleagues would help propel Americans into space using the world's oldest flying machine - the balloon. Kittinger's work on Project Excelsior - which involved daring high-altitude bailout tests - earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross long before he earned a collection of medals in Vietnam. Despite the many accolades, Kittinger's proudest moment remains his free fall from 102,800 feet during which he achieved a speed of 614 miles per hour.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Andrew Braddick on 25-03-13
A rewarding read
In my youth I read of Crossfield, Yeager, Grissom, Glenn, Shepard, Kittinger and the others who had "the right stuff". The "mission" related stories are all great, but this book gave me some depth and breadth across one of these characters, and it is a very enjoyable read. I'd like to see similar books from the other heros of this era.
Some may not like Joe's free and frank patriotic expression. For me Joe tells it like it was in that era. Ours it not to judge, but to appreciate what they lived through.
I really liked and recommend the later chapters. Joe and his wife keeps on giving. This book will not disappoint a historian, an adventurer, or any flyboy or flygirl.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By harry on 27-08-13
A Life of "The Right Stuff"
I remember learning of Joe Kittinger's record setting sky dive back in 1960. I was, and still am, fascinated by the whole idea of a free-fall from space, and equally so by Felix's Baumgartner's recent space Red Bull Sratos sky dive following in Joe's foot steps.
I had no idea of the life that Joe Kittinger led before and after his historic free fall jump.
World record setting balloonist, fighter pilot, Vietnam war POW, engineer...a full life of the Right Stuff. This is who Joe Kittinger is as this wonderful biography explains.
I have only two dings on this audio book..
First, it would have been fantastic to learn of Joe's thoughts on the work and final success of the Red Bull Stratos project during which he served as capsule communicator, (not possible since this book was completed well before Stratos succeeded) and second, I felt that the narration was jut too overly dramatic at times.
Taken on balance these are small points and this autobiography reveals an enjoyable story of a true adventurer.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful