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The Only Woman in the Room

Updated: Dec 29, 2019

Hedy Lamarr was both stunningly beautiful and stunningly smart. But could the world handle both?



May 17, 1933, the beautiful Hedwig Kiesler is on stage performing the role of her life in Vienna, when she captures the attention of the richest and most powerful man in Austria. Arms manufacturer, Friedrich Mandl lavishes dozens and dozens of roses on the young actress after every performance. Hedwig soon finds herself married to Friedrich, living in a castle and attending lavish dinner parties where the discussions are on arms manufacturing, weaponry, politics, and German aggression. She understood these conversations more than anyone would guess.

Desperate to escape her controlling husband and the rise of the Nazi party, Hedy disguises herself and flees from Austria to London in 1937. She lands in Hollywood, and becomes the beautiful screen star Hedy Lamarr. But her guilt for surviving, when so many in her birth country perished, ultimately move her to action. Because of her unique intelligence, insight and knowledge of weaponry, Hedy is able to invent an improved guidance system to enhance the accuracy of Navy torpedos.

But will anyone listen to a woman about such things?


This fabulously written book explores Hedy’s early life, her disturbing marriage, her glamorous Hollywood stardom and her brilliant inventions to help the Allies defeat the Nazi’s. But THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM is about so much more. My favorite part of this book is in fact, it’s concept. Author MARIE BENEDICT is passionate about shining a light on the hidden roles of women in our history and rewriting them back into the narrative. She has done an exceptional job at that here, as well as in her previous two novels: The Other Einstein (2016) and Carnegie’s Maid (2018).

I was drawn like a moth to a flame to this necessary and insightful book. The book reveals Hedy to be an amazingly strong and brilliant woman. She was a woman who knew how and when to stand up for herself. If this book isn’t on your reading list, it should be. She exudes perseverance and fortitude, and is a role model for us all. I listened to the Audible version of this book and Suzanne Toren’s narration brought Hedy’s voice to life.

Excerpt from Authors Note:

“Whether Hedy’s work on spread spectrum technology was purposefully disregarded or unconsciously forgotten, it appears that embedded in her oversight were misconceptions about her abilities; about all women really. Faulty assumptions about women’s capabilities....has caused many to think more narrowly about the manner in which the past has been shaped. But unless we begin to view historical women through a broader, more inclusive lens, and rewrite them back into the narrative, we will continue to view the past more restrictively than it likely was. And we risk carrying those perspectives over into the present.”

Publisher Audible Studios

Published January 8, 2019

Narrated Suzanne Toren

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