I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs, Sophia Foster-Dimino
Published: October 4th 2016 by Quirk Books
Source: the publisher
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Wonder Women by Sam Maggs is a collection of vignettes of inspirational women in science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM). The book is divided into 5 main sections: Women of Science, Women of Medicine, Women of Espionage, Women of Invention, Women of Innovation, and Women of Adventure. These sections are interspersed with interviews from current female scientists, providing advice and perspectives for those interested in following in their footsteps.
This book is so important, because in the modern-day US, our STEM workforce doesn’t look like our population, and people tend to think of scientists as cantankerous old white dudes in lab coats, and many people couldn’t name a famous female scientist who isn’t Marie Curie. But throughout history there have been tons of pioneering women whose contributions to science have been ignored. They’ve got some super interesting stories, and Sam Maggs is here to tell them.
Some you may have heard of in passing, like Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer. Others were new to me, and were totally badass. Take Marie Equi, for example–when someone tried to cheat her lover out of wages she was owed, Marie chased him around town with a horsewhip and made him pay up. And I was doubly impressed that Wonder Women made sure to include plenty of queer women and women of color. My one disappointment is that so many cool people died young, but that’s not the fault of the book, but rather of history.
Sam Maggs approaches history with a casual tone, talking to readers about her subjects as if discussing them at a bar, which means that Wonder Women is sure to be inviting even for folks who don’t read a lot of nonfiction. And because each chapter is about someone different, it reads a lot like a collection of short stories.
This book was a particularly interesting read for me, because it represents a place where my personal/blogging life overlaps with my professional life, where I manage a collection of digital resources for people applying for/receiving grants to create STEM learning opportunities outside of the classroom. After spending my work days reading about how important role models are for shaping whether or not people identify themselves as being science-y people, it was cool to read a book about the kinds of kickass women who we all should look up to.
I also got to meet Sam Maggs last night! She was on a panel at my local-ish comic book store, and I was totally psyched. (Aside: I am a dedicated book addict, because I stayed in the comic book shop even after someone brought in a dog which triggered an asthma attack. #noregrets)