It is remarkable. There were so many great resources that allowed me to put too much meat on the bones and then carve back so that what was always leading was the women and their stories and their perspective, with the history and the science being pulled by their stories. My obligation as a writer is to try and uncover all of the aspects of the history, and put all of those things in the footnotes and make sure everything is really documented. That was something that was also really important to me from the very beginning: not just writing the story, but making sure that I had left as much as possible a comprehensive trail of breadcrumbs of where to find this information. There were a lot of times when I’d dig into boxes at the National Archive and instead of those lovely preserving archive boxes it’d be some cardboard box that had obviously gotten wet and nobody had looked at the papers since they’d got thrown in there in 1946 or something. My publisher has given me permission to publish notes and make them available on my website, and so I’m trying to figure out when I can actually get that done. If there are other people who are interested in this history who want to use those resources, that would just be incredible to me. [ Best Spaceflight and Space History Books ] Space.com: What do you hope people get out of this book? Shetterly: I really hope that this goes a long way to helping all of us change our perception about what a scientist looks like, what a mathematician looks like, who’s capable of doing that work at the highest level.
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