Overlooked: A Celebration of Remarkable, Underappreciated People Who Broke the Rules and Changed the World (Hardcover)
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An unforgettable collection of diverse, remarkable lives inspired by “Overlooked,” the groundbreaking New York Times series that publishes the obituaries of extraordinary people whose deaths went unreported in the newspaper—filled with nearly 200 full-color photos and new, never-before-published content
Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries—for heads of state, celebrities, scientists, and athletes. There’s even one for the person who invented the sock puppet. But, until recently, only a fraction of the Times’s obits chronicled the lives of women or people of color. The vast majority tell of the lives of men—mostly white men.
Started in 2018 as a series in the Obituary section, “Overlooked” has sought to rectify this, revisiting the Times’s 170-year history to celebrate people who were left out. It seeks to correct past mistakes, establish a new precedent for equitable coverage of lives lost, and refocus society’s lens on who is considered worthy of remembrance.
Now, in the first book connected to the trailblazing series, Overlooked shares 66 extraordinary stories of women, BIPOC and LGBTQIA figures, and people with disabilities who have broken rules and overcome obstacles. Some achieved a measure of fame in their lifetime but were surprisingly omitted from the paper, including Ida B. Wells, Sylvia Plath, Alan Turing, and Major Taylor. Others were lesser-known, but noteworthy nonetheless, such as Katherine McHale Slaughterback, a farmer who found fame as “Rattlesnake Kate”; Ángela Ruiz Robles, the inventor of an early e-reader; Terri Rogers, a transgender ventriloquist and magician; and Stella Young, a disabled comedian who rejected “inspiration porn.” These overlooked figures might have lived in different times, and had different experiences, but they were all ambitious and creative, and used their imaginations to invent, innovate, and change the world.
Featuring stunning photographs, exclusive content about the process of writing obituaries, and contributions by writers such as Veronica Chambers, Jon Pareles, Amanda Hess, and more, this visually arresting book compels us to revisit who and what we value as a society—and reminds us that some of our most important stories are hidden among the lives of those who have been overlooked.
About the Author
Amisha Padnani is an award-winning staff editor at The New York Times and a keynote speaker on topics such as diversity, where she often highlights people who are underrepresented in society. She has been interviewed on NPR, Democracy Now, CBC, CBS, and the BBC. Porter Magazine named her Incredible Woman of the Year.