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Summary

This illuminating biography reveals how the daughter of Lord Byron, Britain's most infamous Romantic poet, became the world's first computer programmer.

Even by 1800s standards, Ada Byron Lovelace had an unusual upbringing. Her strict mother worked hard at cultivating her own role as the long-suffering ex-wife of bad-boy poet Lord Byron while raising Ada in isolation. Tutored by the brightest minds, Ada developed a hunger for mental puzzles, mathematical conundrums, and scientific discovery that kept pace with the breathtaking advances of the industrial and social revolutions taking place in Europe. At 17, Ada met eccentric inventor Charles Babbage, a kindred spirit. Their ensuing collaborations resulted in ideas and concepts that presaged computer programming by almost 200 years, and Ada Lovelace is now recognized as a pioneer and prophet of the information age. 

Award-winning author Emily Arnold McCully opens the window on a peculiar and singular intellect, shaped - and hampered - by history, social norms, and family dysfunction. The result is a portrait that is at once remarkable and fascinating, tragic and triumphant.

©2019 Emily Arnold McCully (P)2019 Listening Library

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  • Bridget White
  • 21-12-19

Inspiring, captivating

This eloquent book reawakened my interest in coding by adding the human element to a great pioneer’s life story. Ada Byron Lovelace’s mixture of imagination and scientific rigor rendered her unusual, a virtue and a vice.