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Book Review: ‘Hedy & Her Amazing Invention’ by Jan Wahl, Illustrated by Morgana Wallace

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Book Review: Hedy and Her Amazing Invention
Photo: The News Wheel

Did you know that the GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi you use in your car are thanks to a Hollywood actress born in 1914? Famous for her beauty and acting talent, Hedy Lamarr was also an inventor who was determined to help end World War II.

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Jan Wahl reveals the incredible story of this captivating, brilliant, and determined woman in her book, Hedy & Her Amazing Invention, which is beautifully illustrated by Morgana Wallace.

As a child, Hedy Kiesler was curious, fascinated by how things worked. She also longed to be an actress. While on stage, she caught the attention of Fritz Mandl. Kiesler and Mandl married, but their marriage was far from a happy affair. Mandl, an arms manufacturer and dealer, held many parties where he and his military guests discussed the war. Because he saw his wife merely as a beautiful object, he never suspected that she was listening to every word these dangerous men were saying. Finally, Kiesler escaped her marriage, fleeing to the United States. She landed a contract with MGM in Hollywood, where the head of the studio renamed her Hedy Lamarr.

While appearing in films, Lamarr worried about her homeland and her mother who were suffering through the war. She was determined to help end the war. With the help of composer George Antheil, Lamarr brought her idea of a radio frequency-hopping device to life. They earned a patent for their invention, but unfortunately, it wasn’t put into production.

Although it would take years before their frequency-hopping invention would be able to change the world, Lamarr continued inventing, and to honor her, Inventor’s Day is celebrated each day on her birthday, November 9.

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Wahl’s book takes the life of Lamarr and presents it in an easy-to-read story of a complicated woman who wanted to help the world. Wallace’s illustrations are bold and beautiful. Any reader, young and old, will be enthralled by this story.