Enlivened by numerous b&w and color photographs, this thorough book takes readers back to the early 1960s to tell the story of 13 women who underwent a battery of physical endurance tests (including hours spent in a deprivation tank) and psychological analysis to determine their readiness to travel in space. A gripping narrative surfaces in Stone's text, as the women are repeatedly thwarted by NASA, discriminated against and patronized by society ("Gene Nora Stumbough's boss said she couldn't have time off. So she quit. Sarah Gorelick had the same problem.... So she quit"). Readers with an interest in history and in women's struggle for equality will undoubtedly be moved. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dreamby Tanya Lee Stone
What does it take to be an astronaut? Excellence at flying, courage, intelligence, resistance to stress, top physical shape — any checklist would include these. But when America created NASA in 1958, there was another unspoken/b>
They had the right stuff. They defied the prejudices of the time. And they blazed a trail for generations of women to follow.
What does it take to be an astronaut? Excellence at flying, courage, intelligence, resistance to stress, top physical shape — any checklist would include these. But when America created NASA in 1958, there was another unspoken rule: you had to be a man. Here is the tale of thirteen women who proved that they were not only as tough as the toughest man but also brave enough to challenge the government. They were blocked by prejudice, jealousy, and the scrawled note of one of the most powerful men in Washington. But even though the Mercury 13 women did not make it into space, they did not lose, for their example empowered young women to take their place in the sky, piloting jets and commanding space capsules. ALMOST ASTRONAUTS is the story of thirteen true pioneers of the space age.
Stone adopts a tone of righteous indignation in chronicling the quixotic efforts of 13 women to win admission into NASA's initial astronaut training program in the early 1960s. The women were all pilots (one, Jerrie Cobb, had more hours in the air than John Glenn or Scott Carpenter), earned high scores in preliminary tests, and even counted a senator's wife among their number. But resistance came from all directions-including NASA regulations, which were weighted toward men; media coverage that reflected contemporary gender expectations; political maneuvering by then vice president LBJ and other officials; and the crushing opposition expressed by renowned aviatrix Jackie Cochran in a 1962 Congressional hearing. Properly noting, however, that losing "depends on where you draw the finish line," the author closes with chapters on how women did ultimately win their way into space-not only as mission specialists, but also as pilots and commanders. Illustrated with sheaves of photos, and based on published sources, recently discovered documents, and original interviews with surviving members of the "Mercury 13," this passionately written account of a classic but little-known challenge to established gender prejudices also introduces readers to a select group of courageous, independent women.-John Peters, New York Public Library
Meet the Author
Tanya Lee Stone is a former editor and award-winning author who often writes about strong women. She has garnered starred reviews and other accolades for books such as UP CLOSE: ELLA FITZGERALD and the highly popular AMELIA EARHART.
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