Overnight Code: The Life of Raye Montague, the Woman Who Revolutionized Naval Engineering

Lawrence Hill. Jan. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9781641602594. $26.99. SCI
In this collaboration, journalist and writer Bowers helps David Montague, son of Raye Montague (1935-2018), write a lovingly composed tribute to his mother. The foreword notes that Raye encouraged her son to listen to her life story, and to understand the importance of using opportunities wisely. Here, David shares those stories with a wider audience. Raye Montague was an internationally recognized engineer who revolutionized how the U.S. navy designed ships, and became the first person to draft Naval ship designs entirely by computer. The book starts with Raye’s childhood in Arkansas. She attended college in the early 1950s during the start of school integration, and long advocated for civil rights. The authors share Raye’s path, from a girl who became curious about U-Boats after Pearl Harbor to a woman navigating racism and sexism as she became a leader in engineering and a mentor to those who followed in her footsteps. This sentimental work allows readers to hear Raye’s own words though quotes and memories. Family photographs are an added bonus.
VERDICT This book, which is clearly a labor of love and admiration, will especially appeal to Black women interested in STEM fields as well as those interested in firsthand perspectives of civil rights.
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