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Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars

Cover: 'Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars'

Staff Review: "Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars" by Nathalia Holt

★★★★★

This book is an account of women who were human computers (and later computer programmers and engineers) at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in California. Rather than choose one of the occupations most commonly pursued by women of their time (teacher, nurse, or secretary), these women put their math and science skills to work in order to generate equations and complete the calculations that were essential in building rockets, missiles, and satellites. It explores the challenges they faced as women in the workplace of the 1940s-1960s, where maternity leave was non-existent and the idea of working mothers (particularly those with young children) ran counter to societal expectations. This book draws attention to the contributions of women to space exploration efforts and provides a complex portrait of their professional and personal lives. Unlike the segregated facilities at the Langley Research Center (which is familiar to readers/viewers of Hidden Figures), the computer division at JPL was integrated and included women of color among its ranks. Readers interested in the history of the space program and/or women’s history as well as fans of Hidden Figures are sure to enjoy this engaging book.

Audience: adults, teens | Genre: nonfiction

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