The Six

The Six by Loren Grush

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for The Six:

Space: yet another place I have no intention of visiting.

Quick synopsis:

The story of the first six female astronauts at NASA.

Fact for Non-History People:

A totally of 8,079 people applied to be astronauts between 1976 and 1977.

Fact for History Nerds:

From 1950 to 1960, women represented 1% of all people employed as engineers.

My Take on The Six:

If you asked me about women in the space program before I read Loren Grush’s, “The Six,” all I would be able to tell you was that Sally Ride was the first American woman sent to space and that two women were part of the Challenger disaster. That is to say, Grush nearly had a blank slate on which to school me. Chronicling the NASA careers for the first six women astronauts admitted to the program, Grush writes a wonderful tribute to each of their successful careers. I didn’t know they were all part of a class of new astronauts which included the first members of color.

Grush adeptly tells the story of each of the six as singular people but also as part of a larger group. At no point in this book was I bored or yearning to get back to a different character. This is a testament to Grush’s ability to highlight what made each woman unique to the reader. Grush also does a great job moving the narrative forward which is no mean feat. She needs to occasionally jump back in time to highlight a different character, but it seems seamless in Grush’s presentation.

I should point out that this is clearly a celebration of these six women as opposed to anything akin to an exposé. Grush focuses on the positives of each of the six and possible character flaws are not detailed extensively. In fact, she treats all the characters, even those not in the six, in the same way (with the exception of Johnny Carson but don’t worry about that). This is not to say Grush sweeps anything under the rug, but merely avoids diving into long discussions around things like marital fidelity. The book is better for it.

I did notice that some reviews call this book a “novel” or suggested some of the details may be fiction. My reading of Grush’s sources at the end seem to indicate there is nothing fictitious in the book and it is in no way a novel.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Scribner.)


An excellent book everyone will like. Buy it here!

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