Sally Ride: American’s First Woman in Space
by Lynn Sherr
Simon & Schuster. 341 pages, $28.
IT WAS only one sentence in a lengthy obituary of America’s first female astronaut, but it momentarily overshadowed Sally Ride’s inspirational life. “Dr. Ride is remembered by her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy,” it read, and you could practically hear readers gasp in surprise. Almost no one outside of her immediate family realized that Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space, was in a long-term relationship with another woman.
This is how Ride wanted it, according to Lynn Sherr’s vigorous new biography, written after Ride died of pancreatic cancer at age 61 in 2012. Sherr, a journalist who anchored ABC’s coverage of NASA’s space program in the early 1980s, befriended the astrophysicist as she trained for her first shuttle mission. Like the rest of America, Sherr was captivated by the brilliant, optimistic woman who seemed destined for the stars.