BOOK REVIEW: Headstrong by Rachel Swaby

It is true, there is not nearly enough mentions of extraordinary women scientists in books or other media. I, myself, am guilty of naming only a few on top of my head. And one of them is of course Marie Curie (who isn’t in this book at all). Bringing other women scientists’ stories to light is long overdue. This is why I was excited to hear about Headstrong by Rachel Swaby. This book talks about 52 amazing women scientists and their accomplishments. We learn about struggles these women faced  , how they overcome societal prejudices and chased their passions. Each and every story is unique and inspiring.


The book is split into sections covering ladies of Medicine, Biology and the Environment, Genetics and Development, Physics, Earth and Stars, Math and Technology, and Invention. Each section is represented by women scientists from different  periods ranging from 17th century to present time. Scientists come from different countries as well (although most of them American and Western European). I was completely fascinated with their stories, from Mary Putnam Jacobi who had to write a research paper how menstruation does not actually affect women’s ability to learn (there was need to do this, crazy as it sounds) to amazing Hedy Lamar, whose life is better than a novel with twists and turns and accomplishments that made me writing this very review possible. Each entry is about three pages long, the book is an easy and engaging read. I loved how matter of fact it was, there was no need to mention their marital statuses or children, unless they were important for their work.

Overall impression: I want to learn more about each and every one of these amazing individuals. In the beginning of this book, the author states that reading about even just one woman per week will get reader through this book in a year and vastly improve one’s knowledge about women scientists. I feel that this is what I want to do when I re-read this book- to go through each woman’s story slowly, with additional research. I do wish there were pictures of these women ,  although they can be looked up, it would be nice to have them in the book as well. I recommend this book to everyone.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review


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