From Library Journal
First published in the United Kingdom in 1999, this is an entertaining biography of Augusta Ada Byron Lovelace, daughter of the renowned poet Lord Byron. Separated from Lord Byron shortly after Ada's birth, Lady Bryon raised her daughter in a strange and thoroughly controlled manner, limiting her access to both people and intellectual pursuits in order to keep Ada from developing any of the shortcomings she might have inherited from her father. As a result, Ada, who suffered from a variety of legitimate health problems, also developed serious psychological problems. As directed by her mother, Ada's educational focus was on science, and her relationship with Charles Babbage and the work she did in explaining and interpreting his Analytical Engine and Difference Machine, a precursor of the computer, were the culmination of her mathematical and technical studies. A fine study of Ada, this book is as much about her mother, Annabella, a woman who would not be crossed and who dominated her daughter's life right up to Ada's death at age 37. There is much controversy associated with Ada's life, and Woolley (Virtual Worlds) deals with it openly and philosophically. Some of his interpretations will surely be questioned, but for a biography filled with "sex, drugs, and mathematics" this is to be expected. Readers who enjoyed Dava Sobel's Galileo's Daughter will find this interesting.
Hilary Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, CA
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A splendid and enthralling portrait"-The Sunday Times (London); "It's a thriller"-New Scientist; "Woolley...skillfully conveys the excitement and contradictions of the era, and builds maximum suspense into the book's episodic structure - an approach that serves well in this popular account of a complex life and time..." - Publishers Weekly; "Although the colorful cast of luminaries and rogues sometimes diverts us from Ada's tragic story, this biography provides an intriguing glimpse into the beginnings of computer science and a reminder that character is destiny." - The Wall Street Journal