Proving Ground: The Untold Story of the Six Women Who Programmed the World’s First Modern Computer

Hachette Audio. Jul. 2022. 7:53 hrs. ISBN 9781549185458. $26.98. BIOG
Kleiman’s (internet law and policy, American Univ.) debut introduces six pioneering women who launched the field of computer programming after Worle War II. Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) was the first general-purpose, programmable, all-electronic computer, but it came with no instruction codes or programming languages. These young women created it all. The six women were accomplished mathematicians who worked as “computers” during wartime. They manually calculated trajectories for various weapons and conditions, a task that was instrumental to the Allied war effort. As she animatedly describes daily life in the 1940s and the friendships that formed among this group, narrator Erin Bennett draws listeners in and breathes life into the story. As with many historic events, the vital role played by women was mostly lost. This book does a service to computer history, bringing the accomplishments of this capable group to listeners’ attention and filling in the stories of their lives beyond their groundbreaking work.
VERDICT A solid audio that will be popular with fans of WWII stories, computer history, and the overlooked contributions of women.
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