Narrator: Erin Bennett
Author: Nathalia Holt
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published Date: April 5th 2016 by
Genre: non-fiction, history, space, feminism
Audio Time: 9 hr 45 min
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
The riveting true story of the women who launched America into space.
In the 1940s and '50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn't turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.
“In this job you need to look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, and work like a dog.”
The women of JPL were amazing. Not only did most of them have engineering degrees, but they were also amazing mathematicians who did everything by hand very quickly in order to make sure they got the rockets where they needed to go in real time. It's absolutely amazing when you think about it. Because not only were they working, they were working as 'computers' and gained the respect of the men they worked with very quickly.
From just making military weapons, to making rockets and eventually the stat of NASA we see how they helped make so many things possible. Eventually some of them were able to get there names put onto the work that they were doing for a change. As NASA took over and changed things as well they were finally able to be called Engineers instead of 'computers'.
Most of their families were very supportive with their choice to work and use the knowledge they had. For the most part the husbands were also supportive, with some of them even helping make sure the women could go back to work after having children!
I loved hearing about these women and the struggles that they faced in this very changing time in the work force for women.
The support they gave each other was so refreshing to see, and how they all really were a little family always connected even as they started to retire.
I would suggest if you don't think you can physically read this book, then please get it from your library and listen to it on audio. It made the experience so enjoyable for me and probably the only way I was able to finish this book in 4 days.