Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream
Amazon summary as I'm a little peeved still from all the prejudice and awful I just read about, "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." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE WHICH THESE WOMEN DIDN'T GET
This is a historical non-fiction book. I seem to be working them into my reading repertoire more and more.
Okay first, let me say that I didn't really know about the '13 Mercury Women' at all before this book. After reading this book, I understand why.
When the space race began, 13 women set about going through the rigorous tests, the same as the 'Mercury 7', to prove they were worthy of being an astronaut and to hopefully be included in NASA's space program. They were shut out by white men. They took the rigorous tests in secret for fears that they would be unjustly stopped, and as the public began to know more about these '13 Mercury Women' the political world shut them down essentially. Anyone who had power did not pave their way and only a handful of people seemed to help them take the first round of tests in the first place. This all began in roughly 1958. The first woman to pilot a spacecraft in the NASA program wasn't until 1999. That's 41 YEARS later. It didn't matter how qualified an individual was, if you were female, you were out.
I think that more books like these needs to be placed in the hands of young females just so they can fully know what world they are embarking into, and how they can strive to change it and work within it. Social barriers need to be acknowledged so they can be overcome.
Equality. YES PLEASE.
My blog posts that encounter history are going to tend to be shorter in nature as there's a lot of facts that may or may not be common knowledge. History is ever present and over time, we're discovering new ways in which to present it. This book was a phenomenal read and I feel much more informed about the women's strife to live in a more gender friendly equal environment.
So cheers to a good book!