Wonder Women by Sam Maggs

Author : Sam Maggs 
Release date : October, 2016
Version : Kindle
Genre : Biography and Memoirs 

Publisher : Quirk Books

Source : Netgalley.com

Tell me how many women do you know who have been pioneers in their fields.  Tell me about a woman (other than your mother or immediate relatives) you look up to for inspiration.  Tell me how many women have won the Noble prize in Physics or Chemistry or even Maths.

Chances are you were not even aware of women doing anything more than being assistants or the ‘Behind every successful Man, there is a woman’ person.

That is where ‘Wonder Women’ comes in to shake you out of slumber,  to sit up and notice and tell the world about all these wonderful women who have been in history all along.  Some are credited,  but some are not credited with their accomplishments.

Did you know that the first computer program was written by a woman named Ada Lovelace sometime in the 1840-1850s?  You know it now.  But,  it was a fact which was never acknowledged till very recently.   But,  by then the woman is no more and has never received the acknowledgement she should have in her lifetime.

Did you know Nuclear Fission was discovered by Lise Meitner, a Jewish Austrian, at the beginning of World War I.  But she had to leave her country as she was a Jew.  And then what happens?  Someone uses her research papers to claim the same.

Not being aware of American history,  I was surprised to know that women were not allowed to study medicine and become doctors for a long time.  Till Elizabeth Blackwell became a doctor and then started her own hospital in the 19th century.

Our own Anandibai Joshi,  the first female doctor from India is also featured in the book.  I was not even aware of her till a year ago, to be honest.  Why is she not featured in our school textbooks?  No one knows her,  least the younger generation.

The author uses a very direct, young, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes funny tone.  But, she gets the point across.  After reading the book,  I am feeling ashamed that I did not do anything groundbreaking so far, worrying about false ceilings.  Imagine, how much it will affect the girls or young women of today,  if they read this book at the beginning of their lives.  The book shows that there is absolutely nothing that can stop you if you are determined.  Many of the women featured have fought tooth and nail and done un-womenly things like ‘teaching a class full of male students and driving her own chariot’ in the 4th century.  They have suffered humiliation, denial and betrayal at every step of their way.  They have only emerged stronger and victorious.

The book has been researched very well with lots of interesting tidbits about the women.  The book is divided into different sections like – Astronomers and Mathemeticians, Doctors and Medicine, Spies and more.  Each woman is profiled for about two or three pages.   After the initial 10 women,  there are short paragraphs on additional women and an interview with a pioneering woman at the end of each section.

This book is clearly out of my comfort zone but I had wanted to read a biography.  I completely savored this book.

It is a valuable read for all women and will make a great gift to that favorite girl/niece of yours.

Author’s pageSam Maggs Dot Com


Ever heard of Allied spy Noor Inayat Khan, a Muslim woman whom the Nazis considered “highly dangerous”? Or German painter and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian, who planned and embarked on the world’s first scientific expedition? How about Huang Daopo, the inven­tor who fled an abusive child marriage only to revolutionize textile production in China?

Women have always been able to change the world, even when they didn’t get the credit. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs introduces you to pioneering female scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors—each profile a study in passion, smarts, and stick-to-itiveness, complete with portraits by Google doodler Sophia Foster-Dimino, an extensive bibliography, and a guide to present-day women-centric STEM organizations.


11 thoughts on “Wonder Women by Sam Maggs

    1. Thanks Alok. We are probably where the western world was 200-300 years ago. But those women have really fought their way to achieve freedom. We may have to wait for a few hundred years more to get freedom.

  1. This is the kind of book we should read while growing up … apart from Madam Curie, you don’t see much focus on other women scientists. Sometimes I come to know about them through Google Doodle, which does a commendable job in acknowledging women scientists I feel. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. Thanks for sharing this inspiring book with us. Such writings can sometimes push us towards the edge to challenge the self. Women never had it easy in any part of the world and they have to fight for themselves,

  3. Thanks for sharing this info Lata. I want to read this book for sure. It’s inspiring to read about women who excelled in their fields in those days when there was very less support from family or society and when there was no appreciation and encouragement

  4. Thanks for the enlightening post. I did come across a few of the names but only just a few of them. This book should make a good read.

  5. It’s true, we don’t know much about these wonderful wonder women though we should. I recently read a book based on a woman who helped allied soldiers escape German-occupied France. So, there are so many wonder women out there and have been and we need to find out about them

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