The Real Stuff: A History of NASA's Astronaut Recruitment Policy by Joseph D. Atkinson
This well-researched and clearly-written book tells the story of the complications involved in NASA's selection of astronauts. The Real Stuff is the history of NASA's astronaut recruitment and selection process from 1959-1984. The authors consider the various criteria applied in selecting astronauts from among military test pilots, scientists, and mission specialists, and demonstrate the scientific and social concerns which led to the policy changes that brought scientific specalists, women, and minorities into the space program. Included are such topics as: the Eisenhower space policy; the influence of Sputnik, and other competition with the USSR; NASA's political sensitivity; and the actions taken to encourage minority and women applicants.