Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt

Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt
Publisher: Little, Brown and Co.
Genre: Non-Fiction, Historical
Length: Full Length (326 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

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.
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For the first time, Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women–known as “human computers”–who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Based on extensive research and interviews with all the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science: both where we’ve been, and the far reaches of space to which we’re heading.

The Rocket Girls rocked.

I’ve been on a non-fiction kick, reading books about people in the space industry. I stumbled on this book while looking at those lists of ‘if you liked______, you’ll like_______’. I’m glad I looked at that list. This book, Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt, was great reading. It was like reading about a circle of friends who happened to be really smart and know about engineering/math before women were considered capable of doing such things. But it seemed like I was included in the group. The writing flowed very well and I hated to put this down so I could sleep and such. I had to get back to the book.

It tugged at the heartstrings with stories about the ladies and how they did the calculations for the rocket launches, orbits and such. The women share their stories about how they felt when the Apollo I accident happened, Challenger and Discovery. They talked about the trials and tribulations of their lives, too. They were working moms when that wasn’t a popular thing. I wanted to know more about them and felt like I did know them when I finished reading the book.

What tugged the hardest at my heart had to be when the women got together for a reunion and said ‘this will be the last time we see each other[. Talk about ending on a sad note, but a cool one! They knew they’d done some awesome things. I loved going on the ride with them, even if it was only through the book.

If you’re interested in the lives of the ladies involved in the space race, then this might be the book for you. Pick it up. Recommended.

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