The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight

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Random House LLC, Jul 1, 2004 - History - 280 pages
22 Reviews
In 1961, just as NASA launched its first man into space, a group of women underwent secret testing in the hopes of becoming America’s first female astronauts. They passed the same battery of tests at the legendary Lovelace Foundation as did the Mercury 7 astronauts, but they were summarily dismissed by the boys’ club at NASA and on Capitol Hill. The USSR sent its first woman into space in 1963; the United States did not follow suit for another twenty years.

For the first time, Martha Ackmann tells the story of the dramatic events surrounding these thirteen remarkable women, all crackerjack pilots and patriots who sometimes sacrificed jobs and marriages for a chance to participate in America’s space race against the Soviet Union. In addition to talking extensively to these women, Ackmann interviewed Chuck Yeager, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, and others at NASA and in the White House with firsthand knowledge of the program, and includes here never-before-seen photographs of the Mercury 13 passing their Lovelace tests.

Despite the crushing disappointment of watching their dreams being derailed, the Mercury 13 went on to extraordinary achievement in their lives: Jerrie Cobb, who began flying when she was so small she had to sit on pillows to see out of the cockpit, dedicated her life to flying solo missions to the Amazon rain forest; Wally Funk, who talked her way into the Lovelace trials, went on to become one of the first female FAA investigators; Janey Hart, mother of eight and, at age forty, the oldest astronaut candidate, had the political savvy to steer the women through congressional hearings and later helped found the National Organization for Women.

A provocative tribute to these extraordinary women, The Mercury 13 is an unforgettable story of determination, resilience, and inextinguishable hope.


From the Hardcover edition.
  

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Review: The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight

User Review  - Jennifer - Goodreads

Interesting story and I'm glad I read the book but I have to admit that in places it was almost TOO well researched. I didn't need as many minute details and it sometimes failed to keep my attention. Read full review

Review: The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight

User Review  - J. - Goodreads

Came as a recommendation of Kelly Sue DeConnick, and it did not disappoint. What a fantastic read! Powerful story, and I like that Ackmann focused in on Jerrie Cobb to give us a focal point to move ... Read full review

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Contents

Section 1
ii
Section 2
21
Section 3
37
Section 4
51
Section 5
71
Section 6
84
Section 7
118
Section 8
133
Section 9
149
Section 10
172
Section 11
185

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About the author (2004)

Martha Ackmann teaches at Mount Holyoke College, is a frequent columnist, and has written for publications including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times. Ackmann is co-recipient of the Amelia Earhart Research Scholars Grant. She lives in western Massachusetts.

Lynn Sherr, correspondent for the ABC News program 20/20, covered NASA and the space program in the 1980s, anchoring and reporting on all the early shuttle missions, through the Challenger explosion and the subsequent Rogers Commission hearings. Sherr was a semifinalist in the (now abandoned) Journalist-in-Space competition. She lives in New York.


From the Hardcover edition.

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