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

Hardback | Nov 2022 | Hurst Publishers | 9781787388628 | 320pp | 234x156mm | GEN | AUD$49.99, NZD$57.99
Paperback | Sep 2022 | Hurst Publishers | 9781787388918 | 320pp | 234x153mm | GEN | AUD$34.99, NZD$39.99

A fascinating, forgotten story of the six brilliant women who launched modern computing.

As the Cold War began, America’s race for tech supremacy was taking off. Experts rushed to complete the top-secret computing research started during World War II, among them six gifted mathematicians: a patriotic Quaker, a Jewish bookworm, a Yugoslav genius, a native Gaelic speaker, a sophomore from the Bronx, and a farmer’s daughter from Missouri. Their mission? Programming the world’s first and only supercomputer—before any code or programming languages existed.

These pioneers triumphed against sexist attitudes and huge technical challenges to invent computer programming, yet their monumental contribution has never been recognised—until now. Over a decade, Kathy Kleiman met with four of the original six ENIAC Programmers and recorded their stories. Here, with a light touch and a serious mind, she exposes the deliberate erasure of their achievements and restores the women to their rightful place as revolutionaries, bringing to life their camaraderie, their determination, and their rapidly changing world.

As big tech struggles with gender inequality and momentum builds in restoring women to history, the time has come for this engrossing story to be uncovered and celebrated.

‘Kleiman has a novelist’s gift for crafting a page-turning narrative, and the one on offer is both revelatory and inspiring. Fans of Dava Sobel’s The Glass Universe and Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures are in for a treat.’ — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

‘An important and inspiring little-known narrative in modern computing history.’ — Kirkus Reviews