Wally Funk’s Race for Space: The Extraordinary Story of a Female Aviation Pioneer

Sue Nelson. Chicago Review, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-64160-130-6
Readers hit the road with Nelson, a British science writer, and aviation pioneer Wally Funk as they travel across the U.S. and Europe, recording a radio show about women in space, in this delightful combination of travelogue, biography, and history. They interview trailblazing women such as Mary Lawrence, a NASA flight director; Shannon Moynihan, a NASA flight surgeon; and Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut. Funk, the book’s main subject, was one of the Mercury 13, a group of women who underwent the same rigorous physical and mental testing as male NASA astronauts before the Women in Space program was abruptly cancelled in 1961. Funk “never gave up her dream of becoming an astronaut,” eventually buying a ticket for a future space flight from Virgin Galactic that she anxiously awaits; meanwhile, she became an accomplished aviator and flight instructor and the National Transportation Safety Board’s first female flight investigator. Interspersed with the narrative are well-researched and insightful sections about women’s history in the space industry (Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, was unfairly called “hysterical,” and Sharman’s reputation as Britain’s first astronaut was overshadowed by a man who went up decades after her). Funk is accomplished, charismatic, and energetic, and readers will be glad they got to spend time with her and Nelson via this well-written, entertaining book. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/17/2019
Release date: 03/05/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-72138-398-6
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