Review: Wonder Women

Cover of Wonder WomenI finally made a NetGalley account a few weeks back and immediately requested a ton of books. I may have overdone it, but it’s so fun to see what’s coming in the book world. Anyway, that’s how I cam across Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs.

Summary

In Wonder Women author Sam Maggs collects the stories of women who aren’t usually included in the history books. Despite rarely receiving recognition in their time (or ours), these women accomplished great things from climbing mountains to inventing helpful machines. Amidst the stories of these passionate, intelligent, and determined women, Maggs includes interviews with current wonder women, providing a guide to present day STEM through the eyes of women.

Let’s get into it

As a feminist, I enjoy when people highlight the contributions of women in fields that men have traditionally been the gatekeepers of. This book expertly does just that, so it’s a good read for budding feminists as well as those interested in history and STEM.

What surprised me most about this book was how many of the women I’d never heard of before. That on its own illustrates exactly why we need books like this one. Still, it seems Maggs purposely avoids profiling the most well-known women trailblazers like Amelia Earhart and Marie Curie, in favour of shining the spotlight on those who’ve been underrepresented. (Earhart, Curie, and others are still mentioned. So don’t worry: their accomplishments don’t go unrecognized.) I especially enjoyed that Maggs included women from outside the western world, such as Wang Zhenyi and Anandibai Joshi. After all, if we’re trying to right the historical record, we can’t simply focus on white women of the west.

I was a little put off by the trendy language Maggs uses at first, but I quickly grew used to it. This isn’t a textbook after all. Plus, contemporary language makes the book more fun and accessible. I hope this makes Wonder Women a wide-read book.

Representation is important, and the people in Wonder Women have the potential to inspire girls to take an interest in the sciences.  Even if STEM isn’t your interest, the stories of these women remain entertaining. They’re filled with adventure, hardship, strength, and determination. Why wouldn’t there be value in reading that?

Final verdict: Wonder Women gives exactly what it promises: a fun, feminist take on history that highlights some badass ladies in STEM. I hope that many girls and – maybe just as importantly  – many boys will read this and learn from it.

Special thanks: I extend my thanks and appreciation to NetGalley and Quirk Books for supplying me with an advance copy and allowing me to share my thoughts and opinions with all of you. Wonder Women will be available October 4, 2016.

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