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Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream (2009)

af Tanya Lee Stone

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61716727,966 (4.12)8
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.… (mere)
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Almost Astronauts is by turns inspiring and enraging. It is the story of 13 women pilots who were selected, in 1961, to undergo the same (and in some cases, more stringent) harrowing physical and psychological testing that the seven Mercury astronauts underwent, and who passed these tests with flying colors. The project was the brainchild of Randolph Lovelace, the NASA doctor who tested the Mercury Seven. He wanted to know: with their lighter body mass and lower oxygen requirements, would women be more cost-effective astronauts than men? But by embarking on a scientific program to answer this question, he and the 13 women astronaut candidates plunged into the 1960s' swirling maelstrom of prejudice and politics. Of course, those 13 women never made it to space, and it was not until 1999 that 8 of the surviving 11 were able to witness the first American space launch to be piloted by a woman. The second half of the book details the tumultuous social changes in both the public and military spheres that were necessary before women could be admitted to the inner core of America's space program, first as mission specialists and later as shuttle pilots. Although this story is often frustrating, the book is no feminist rant against past injustice. Instead, the reader is left with admiration for how brave, how resourceful, how strong, how capable these thirteen women were; how they competed on a very unequal playing field to achieve thousands of hours in the air as civilian pilots; and, once they were finally admitted into a program where they were tested no differently from the men, they rose to the challenge and demonstrated that they, too, had the legendary Right Stuff. They may never have made it to space, but because of their courageous struggle, later generations succeeded. The 13 were Myrtle Cagle, Jerrie Cobb, Janet Dietrich, Marion Dietrich, Wally Funk, Sarah Gorelick, Jane "Janey" Briggs Hart, Jean Hixson, Rhea Woltman, Gene Nora Stumbough, Irene Leverton, Jerri Sloan, and Bernice Steadman. ( )
  elakdawalla | Dec 10, 2020 |
A fasinating look at a little known chapter in the history of NASA and the space program. After WWII, when President Kennedy initated our space race, the question of gender was a given. Men would be our first ambassadors into space, but a small, determined and most imporantly QUALIFIED group of women tried to change that assumption. They were met with hostility and scorn but they opened the door for women in todays military to travel into space. An interesting look at how politics and culture can undermine and ignore quantitive scientific fact and a must for any girl interested in science, space or history! ( )
  Colleen5096 | Oct 29, 2020 |
This book is the story of the journey of the women who wanted to change the path of going into space. This author describes some of the difficulties the 13 women had while trying to make a statement and a name for themselves. This happened in the late 50s where women were looked down upon for wanting to be in the work force, let alone, go to space. This is a good book for the classroom because it might instill courage in others to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, even it goes against the normality of the people. ( )
  SGiese | Apr 7, 2020 |
The author of this book, Tanya Lee Stone, received a Silbert Award for simplifying a political issue for young students. Thirteen women who were more than eligible to become astronauts were not allowed to complete their training tests because women were not treated as equally as men. The illustrations were used to show the improvement of gender situations in society. At the beginning, the pictures were in black and white and eventually changed to color. The book tells of the women who paved the way and everything they had to go through to do so. It would be beneficial in the classroom to teach history and diversity as well as science. The illustrations could also be used as writing prompts for students to evaluate how the artwork and the way it changes contributes to the story and to the author's purpose. 
The author captures their struggle for women’s liberation and includes background information about science, technology and space and how they were evolving and improving at the time. 
The book is well-researched as it tells the story of a specific event during an even larger time or discrimination and prejudice in our country. During this time, in 1961, what was happening in the world was definitely reflected in NASA as well. 
Each chapter has notations and a bibliography provided for accuracy check ( )
  Madeleine_Collins | Apr 6, 2020 |
This book tells the story of the Lovelace Woman in Space program, an early 1960s NASA project that tested female pilots for astronaut fitness. The story focuses on the 13 women who successfully completed these tests, called the 'Mercury 13’ the book focuses on the obstacles that women have had to overcome to make their way into the field of aeronautics. the author emphasizes the roles of Eileen Collins, first woman to command a space mission 1999 and Jerrie Cobb, the first of the Mercury 13 women to pass the tests and qualify as a NASA astronaut 1961. Main chapters detail the rigorous tests, prejudice, discrimination, and stereotypes that the Mercury 13 women faced in the early 1960s.

I personally would recommend this book as it really shows the stereotypes in the past and it’s generally a good book to read. To read about the challenges that they had to face was inspiring as it motivated me to do something, I didn’t but still. 10/10 would recommend. ( )
  ABarrett.ELA4 | Mar 26, 2020 |
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A note about "Mercury 13"

The "Mercury 13" is actually a misnomer, as these thirteen women were never part of the Mercury space program. But because they went through many of the same tests that the Mercury astronauts did, the "Mercury 13" has become the nickname most often associated with the women in this story.
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For the extraordinary women in my family - beginning with Bessie, Sarah, Leah, and Dorothy - all the way to Laurie, Sarah, Leah, and Liza
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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.

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Candlewick Press

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Udgaver: 0763636118, 0763645028

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