Wonder Women by Sam Maggs – Book Review

Wonder Women

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Goodreads  Description:

You may think you know women’s history pretty well, but have you ever heard of. . .

· Alice Ball, the chemist who developed an effective treatment for leprosy—only to have the credit taken by a man?

· Mary Sherman Morgan, the rocket scientist whose liquid fuel compounds blasted the first U.S. satellite into orbit?

· Huang Daopo, the inventor whose weaving technology revolutionized textile production in China—centuries before the cotton gin?

Smart women have always been able to achieve amazing things, even when the odds were stacked against them. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs tells the stories of the brilliant, brainy, and totally rad women in history who broke barriers as scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors. Also included are interviews with real-life women in STEM careers, an extensive bibliography, and a guide to women-centric science and technology organizations—all to show the many ways the geeky girls of today can help build the future.

My Review:

The cover says, “25 Innovators, Inventors and Trailblazers Who Changed History”.  There are actually more than 25 women profiled in this book.  Twenty five are featured in 3-4 page profiles, but more women are also highlighted in paragraphs at the end of each section.

I love Sam Maggs’ writing style.  She writes in a way that makes it fun to read.  I can see younger readers in their tweens and teens being drawn in and relating to this style.  For example, when discussing Lise Meitner, an Austrian Nuclear Physicist, she writes, “… and since we know that Einstein used to call her Germany’s own Marie Curie, it seems pretty certain she rocked at radiation too.”  And this, “Oh, and Lise also became Germany’s first female physics professor, although the press laughed and called her inaugural speech ‘cosmetic physics’ instead of ‘cosmic physics.’ (Get it?  Because she’s a lady and ladies like maekup.  Hilarious.)”

Introducing Alice Ball, American Chemist and Medical Researcher, she writes, “If you love science and equality but hate leprosy (and who doesn’t), Alice Ball is 100 percent your kind of gal.”

The book is divided into five sections: Women of Science, Women of Medicine, Women of Espionage, Women of Innovation, and Women of Adventure.  Each section concludes with an interview  with a female professional in that field and also includes links to their websites if applicable.  The last few pages are lists of additional websites and organizations wthin each field where you can find further information.

I would recommend this book to girls and boys, women and men.  This is a great book about, as Sam Maggs would say, women who rocked history.  This book also left me feeling like I haven’t done enough with my life.  I haven’t been smart enough, tough enough, or brave enough.  So far just completing a book and being able to write a coherent review has been my biggest hurdle.  I need to raise the bar and leave my mark!

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