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Publisher's Summary

Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space. A member of the first astronaut class to include women, NASA chose her for the seventh shuttle mission, inspiring several generations of women. After a second flight, Ride served on the panels investigating the Challenger explosion and the Columbia disintegration that killed all aboard. In both instances, she faulted NASA's rush to meet mission deadlines and its organizational failures. She also cofounded a company promoting science and education for children, especially girls.

In Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space, Lynn Sherr writes about Ride's scrupulously guarded personal life, with exclusive access to Ride's partner, her former husband, her family, and countless friends and colleagues. This is a rich biography of a fascinating woman whose life intersected with revolutionary social and scientific changes in America. Sherr's revealing portrait is warm and admiring but unsparing. It makes this extraordinarily talented and bold woman - an inspiration to millions - come alive.

©2014 Lynn Sherr (P)2014 Tantor

What listeners say about Sally Ride

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Lynn Sherr was the Perfect Biographer

With her background as a "space" correspondent, Ms Sherr was in the right place at the right time to make an acquaintance with Sally Ride. Although the astronaut was a very private person, she did share some of her thoughts with the reporter through their years of friendship. The special relationship probably helped the author gain access to other friends who could add their recollections of Sally to make a well researched biography.

The book also illuminates that era of NASA history involving picking a group of astronauts of varying demographics to fly on the space shuttle. It was interesting to see the extent of training these non-pilot scientists were given. Sally was a member of both Columbia and Challenger crash panels and those experiences were handled well by Ms Sherr.

The second half of the book details a more general indictment of how our society has discouraged girls from pursuing science careers and the role Sally played in encouraging both teachers and kids in how to make teaching science interesting.

8 people found this helpful

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They gave this book the wrong title

Would you try another book from Lynn Sherr and/or Pam Ward?

I would not read another book by Lynn Sherr unless it was recommended by a friend.Pam Ward's narration was good.

Any additional comments?

First of all, the author is a good friend of the Sally Ride. I think the author has such a high opinion of Dr. Ride that she can't be expected to write a biography that is even remotely objective.

The title of this book should have been "Sally Ride: Feminist Icon". Ms Sherr reduces the amazing life of an undoubtedly interesting person to one of a person doing the same thing that the boys did with the same or higher aptitude. Everyone knows an overachiever. The fact that Dr. Ride was really good at almost everything she did can't be the most interesting thing about her. It is obvious to most people that there are women that can do the same things that men can do.

In this book the author does not even touch on Dr. Ride's science work. You will know more about Sally Ride's love life than her scientific work. As a scientist myself, I hope that if my life ever merits a biography that my biographer would write about my scientific work.

Overall this book is an incomplete and poorly organized biography

6 people found this helpful

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Captivating

Lynn Sherr has written a riveting biography rich in detail, largely because of the co-operation of family, friends and colleagues in sharing reminiscences and correspondence. Sherr also had access to NASA, University documents as well as newspapers and so on. Sherr was an ABC News reporter covering NASA and became a friend of Sally Ride. This is not a hagiography. I felt as if I was sitting down with Sherr over a cup of tea while she related a story about a friend; instead of feeling like I was reading a biography. Sherr cover Rides early life as a rising tennis star to gifted student. This is done by intertwining remembrances of family and fellow students. Ride graduated from Stanford University with a Ph.D. in physics and with a goal of becoming a university professor. She saw an ad in the Stanford University newsletter stating NASA was hiring women. She applied and was accepted. Sherr covers the time at NASA in great detail. She married Steve Hawley a fellow astronaut and they remained friends after their divorce. Sherr tells how difficult it was for Ride to give speeches and be in the public eye because she was such an introvert. Ride was a member of the commission that investigated both shuttle accidents. After leaving NASA Ride returned to Stanford then went on to University of California San Diego where she was a popular professor for many years. She felt that the poor performance by students in science and math was a threat to America’s future so she founded Sally Ride Science to make science cool for girls and boys. She encouraged women to enter science, math and engineering careers. Toward the end of the book Sherr reveals that Ride was in a lesbian relationship with Tam O’Shaughnessy for twenty-seven years. The relationship was known only to a tight circle of friends. Sherr states that Ride was intensely protective of her privacy. On her death bed she gave permission to O’Shaughnessy to reveal their relationship or not. Tams choose to reveal their relationship in the obituary and via interviews in this captivating biography. Pam Ward did an excellent job narrating this book.

10 people found this helpful

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What a remarkable life!

Lynn Sherr has done a great job in relating the story of Sally Ride's life. I learned that Sally was intelligent, driven, level-headed, and, among other things, a teacher, an activist, a tennis player, a scientist, an astronaut, an entrepreneur, a friend and a partner. It was interesting to hear about her path to NASA and how she happened to become the first American woman in space. After NASA, she found her mission in life was to excite and encourage girls to pursue interests and careers in science and math, and she made great strides in that direction.

Some of the events related by Ms. Sherr were sometimes tedious and long. But they do show the frustrations and challenges Sally faced as a woman in jobs and studies that have long been dominated by men. It was also enlightening to learn about her private life and the events leading up to her death. It's sad that society, being what it was in the 80's and 90's, caused Sally's to live her life in a closet until her death. Hopefully today, and maybe ideally and naively, no one has to suffer such sacrifice to chase their dreams.

Maybe I imagined it, but Pam Ward's voice sounds very much like what I remember of Lynn Sherr's voice on TV. Her inflection and tones are very good in relating the sentiments of the words she is reading. I highly recommend this book!

2 people found this helpful

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Fantasic

Any additional comments?

Sally Ride is a fascinating woman. The book is well written and very well narrated. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in NASA and/or biographies in general.

1 person found this helpful

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Nasty

The entire book was very bigoted and uneducated. Constantly pushing nasty political and perverted sex ideas. I was hoping to hear a fun educational story about NASA and an astronaut but instead I was just constantly having my intelligence insulted and assaulted through every chapter of the book. None of the other books about any of the astronauts were written in this way. I’m sorry for having wasted my time on this book. I wish I had spent that time of my life on something that was actually educational.

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So happy I finally listed to this!

I have been a fan of Sally Ride the majority of my conscious life. I was born in 1978! The very first time I saw and read about her in an elementary school book, I was HOOKED! I read everything I could find about her. If I wasn’t so obsessive and compulsive about cleanliness, her posters would have been the only one on my walls. She is the first person, the first real live woman, that inspired me to go beyond what was expected and unexpected of me. She inspired me before I was fully indoctrinated into the societal “norms” that keep women, especially women of color like me down. I wish I could have met her and looked into her eyes to say thank you for just being! Thank you for this book. Thank you for letting me get to know more about the Sally Ride I will ALWAYS look up to.

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Waste of Time

Worst Audible book I've ever listened to... and I have over a hundred in my library. I seriously thought of asking for my money back but wanted to do a review and warn others. Basically this is only a timeline of Sally's life. I know next to nothing about her but know more than what is offered up here. Author claims to have been a friend but the book reads like an aquatance of a friendly person who can't get over the surprise Sally was gay. Several of the histrical "facts" presented are false. The author is a professsional writer who didn't do any homework like a professional would and just slaped together this piece of drivel. Sally deserves better than this.

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Be warned, not very technical

In old school parlance, not a "guy's story" just not technical enough, and at times technically lame, ...landing a 747 with no training???? Story has too much emotion

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Excellent in every way

Excellent book as well as presentation. I felt like I was learning a lot about someone I admired, but not that it was something I shouldn't know as the author talks about her relationship with Sally and the blessings of her family. I loved learning about her as a person, what drove her, details about the O rings, about the Cosmonauts, etc. I will listen to this again.