Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone

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During the 1960’s space race, most of the nation focused on the bright, daring young men who would serve their country as astronauts. Less known were the thirteen women who, although they tested as well or better than their male counterparts, were refused entry into the elite space flight club. In this revealing historical piece, Stone examines the barriers women have faced in the science and engineering fields — barriers which exists purely because of perpetuated female stereotypes. Using engaging prose, historical documents, and photographs, the author sheds light on the extreme injustice the “Mercury 13” women were served, and the long battle women have faced attempting to break into scientific fields of employment.

This book was awesome! I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a pretty strong feminist, so I really enjoyed reading about these women. I actually had no idea that women were trying to get into the space program as early as the 1960’s, and that those women were performing better than the men! It was also enlightening to see the reasons men gave for women to not be allowed in space: everything from “what about their children?”, to “the only purpose women could serve is to populate space colonies”. Their real talents were completely ignored, even though most of those women were skilled pilots. It was also interesting for me to compare the treatment of women in the book to treatment of women today. There were big differences, but some things were still horrifyingly the same. If you are at all interested in the space program, women’s rights, or astronauts, give this book a read. Whether you are a feminist or not, this book has a lot to offer.

Rating: 5/5

*YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults, Finalist, 2010

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

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