Winged Victory

"All those who see me, and all who believe in me, share in the freedom I feel when I fly."

Book Brief-ings by Julie Welch

Almost Heaven: The Story of Women in Space
Bettyann Holtzmann Kelves, 2003
Bettyann Holtzmann Kelves provides a detailed accounting of women in space, from the original U.S. "Mercury 13" who failed to ever take a space flight through the famous Kalpana Chawla and Laurel Clark flight on the space shuttle Columbia.

Among the women profiled are: Bonnie Dunbar, Sally Ride, Anna Fisher, Svetlana Savitskaia and Ellen Baker. Kelves covers women in space from all over the world.

Kelves includes her detailed notes and quotes from the many interviews she conducted while researching this book. There are unfortunately only a few photographs, however. The time line provided at the rear of the book is helpful for visual readers that want to put all of the historical pieces together.

One of the most moving chapters in the book profiles the Challenger space shuttle disaster and the lives of the two American women that were lost. Kelves provides information about the flight, the key people involved and the reactions of people following the disaster from all over the world. This chapter provides a tribute to all that were lost in this fatal space flight attempt.

Other interesting perspectives within this 263-page book are the worldwide viewpoints from women in space and those who supported them. The international partnership between communities of women involved is expansive. Each country and each woman from that country has their own unique story to tell.

The international competition between companies to achieve important milestones is discussed at length. Kelves included diverse perspectives from both the men and women involved in the international space program over the past several decades.

Almost Heaven gives the reader an inspiring look into the dedication and commitment of international women on the quest to achieve breakthroughs in space flight. From behind the scenes to on the front line, women have contributed in numerous ways to the space programs all over the world.

Table of Contents:

Astronauts and Astronettes
Two Valentines
Explorers or Pioneers
Back in Star City
Two American Women
From the Ashes
Not Quite a Hotel
Chatter Box in Orbit
Officers and Gentlewomen
At Home in Space

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All illustrations retain original copyright.
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