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Ada Lovelace (Hardback)

The World’s First Computer Programmer

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Science > History of Science & Technology Military > Biographies P&S History > British History > Victorian History P&S History > By Century > 19th Century Women of History

By Beverley Adams
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 32 mono
ISBN: 9781399082501
Published: 6th March 2023

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The name Ada Lovelace perhaps is not a name that you would automatically link to computer science but she was in fact the first person to create a computer algorithm. Working with the renowned scientist Charles Babbage, Lovelace translated a set of notes on Babbage’s new mechanical computer, The Analytical Engine and discovered that in fact it could be programmed to do more than mere mathematical calculations.

Lovelace may have been a mathematical genius but as the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron she was also a figure of great scrutiny. Abandoned by her father at just four weeks old, Ada endured a strict childhood in the care of her mother who was adamant that her daughter would not inherit the so-called Byron madness. She ensured Ada was denied all things that were considered exciting and was pushed more towards the logical subjects such as science and mathematics. Did this strict approach work? Or, did Ada Lovelace inherit more than her genius from her father?

Ada was many things, a daughter, wife and mother but above all that she was an inspirational woman, one who defied Victorian ideals by entering the field of mathematical studies and by achieving greatness that is still recognised today.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I give Ada Lovelace five out of five stars!

NetGalley, Michelle Kidwell

As featured in

Lancashire Post

Ada Lovelace The World’s First Computer Programmer is complete with a bibliography, notes and photographs. Adams also provides a valuable discussion of Ada’s mother’s contribution to her problems as well as Ada’s ability to meet the challenges posed by her health, brilliance and family background.

NetGalley, Robin Joyce

A short, lively and informative biography of Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron and the world’s first computer programmer.
Adams has an informal, easy to read writing style that makes this an enjoyable read...

It was interesting to read the theories of the ‘Byron curse’, suggesting that there was a history of mental illness running through the family. Certainly, they all seemed to display addictive and impulsive personalities.
All in all, an enjoyable read for fans of biographies, women’s history or Byron.

NetGalley, Sarah Logan Bennison

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In a new biography of Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, Beverley Adams brings the first computer programmer to life. First introducing her contributions and (re)discovery by Alan Turing in the twentieth century, Adams then turns to Ada’s parents, their unorthodox and ultimately unhappy marriage, and the complications of her father, famous poet Lord Byron, and Annabella Milbanke’s desire to protect her daughter Ada from everything -- including Ada herself. The rest of the book follows Ada’s childhood, marriage to the Earl of Lovelace William King, friendship with inventor Charles Babbage, her contributions to the Difference Engine, and her tragically early death. Adams concludes by discussing the challenges of observing Ada’s life and the myth of the “Byron madness,” a critical historical evaluation that focuses on the challenges of reading into difficult lives, parent-child relationships, and physical and mental illness. Adams successfully brings Ada to life, and the attention to detail and analysis serves this book very well. With helpful images and an index, Adams’s book is well-structured, and the book is very readable; when combined with Ada’s relatability to a modern audience, the book becomes incredibly fascinating and relevant to the modern reader. The book is fascinating, tragic, compelling, and informative, bringing one of the most important inventors -- male or female -- to life.

NetGalley, Lily Amidon

Article: Ada the Great: Victorian whizz who ushered in the age of computers

The Sunday Post (Dundee)

This is a nicely written and readable book, which helped me learn much about Ada Lovelace and her interesting, though complicated (and not always happy) life and achievements. I also rather liked that Adams’ resources range from works on Babbage and Lovelace; and Byron to the Little People Big Ideas volume on Ada!

NetGalley, Mallika Ramachandran

'Ada Lovelace' is a very readable, short biography that helps us better understand the woman: her genetics, childhood isolation, quirks, and personality. I really enjoyed becoming better acquainted with this eccentric woman and was left wondering what she may have further achieved if she'd lived a longer life. I think anyone who enjoys reading women's non fiction would enjoy reading this book.

NetGalley, Christy Howl

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was happy to find some light reading on Ada Lovelace and was curious to find out more about her. This is the perfect place to start if you want to find out more about this remarkable woman.

NetGalley, Morgan Schaer

As featured in

The Bookseller, Jan 23

About Beverley Adams

Beverley Adams was born and raised in Preston, Lancashire. She gained her MA in English in 2018 and her first book, The Rebel Suffragette: The Life of Edith Rigby, was published in September 2021. She is passionate about bringing the lives of inspirational women back to life. Her interests include history, in particular local history, reading and travel.

Born on this day - Ada Lovelace

10th December 1815

Ada Lovelace—born Augusta Ada Byron, daughter of the poet Lord Byron—was an English mathematician and writer known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.


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