Monday, April 22, 2013

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by A Mom's Spare Time.
My selection is "Almost Astronauts: 13 women who dared to dream" written by Tanya Lee Stone.

            "It was 1961 when they ("the Mercury 13") took their shot at being astronauts.  Back then, women weren't allowed to rent a car or take out a loan from the bank without a man's signature; they could not play on a professional sports team at all.  They  couldn't report the news on television or run in a city marathon or serve as police officers.  They weren't allowed to fly jets, either.  And these are just some of the bigger examples.
            None of that kept these women from trying to be astronauts.  They were too determined.  Every single one of them shared a common dream from the time they were little girls; they were all born to fly."

Stone tells the story of these women with the same passion they must have felt as they challenged the government, the stereotypes, and the conventions of their times in their quest to be accepted into NASA's astronaut program.  None of them made it into space but their fierce drive and determination proved they could pass every test given their male counterparts and paved the way for Lieutenant Colonel Eileen Collin to command the space shuttle in 1999.

Stone highlights these accomplished women and their contribution to aviation.  One such woman was Jerrie Cobb, who at twenty-eight "had already logged more than 7,000 hours in the air -- far more than John Glenn's 5,000 hours and Scott Carpenter's 2,900 hours" and became the first woman to undergo the arduous physical, medical and psychological testing given to male astronaut candidates.

Stone illustrates the text with a wealth of photographs and includes author note, appendix, print and web bibliography, sources and source notes.

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