Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
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Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program—and whose contributions have been unheralded, until now.

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Drawing on the oral histories of scores of these “computers,” personal recollections, interviews with NASA executives and engineers, archival documents, correspondence, and reporting from the era, Hidden Figures recalls America’s greatest adventure and NASA’s groundbreaking successes through the experiences of five spunky, courageous, intelligent, determined, and patriotic women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine.

Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of scientific achievement and technological innovation with the intimate stories of five women whose work forever changed the world—and whose lives show how out of one of America’s most painful histories came one of its proudest moments.

Title:Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
Edition Language:English
ISBN:0062363603
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:349 pages

    Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race Reviews

  • Katie
    Sep 25, 2016

    I want EVERYBODY to read this. It's a story you need to hear. It will move you, it will surprise you, it will frustrate you and it will inspire you. No matter your gender, ethnicity, race or creed, yo...

  • Amanda
    Jan 04, 2017

    Hidden Figures tell the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African-American women who blazed the trail for others to follow in the fields of mathem...

  • Lauren Cecile
    Jan 10, 2017

    The book was as amazing as the movie. I had occasion to meet the author who is the niece of one of these remarkable women. It is unbelievable that we did not know about the contributions of these wome...

  • Kai
    Jan 23, 2017

    “Even as a professional in an integrated world, I had been the only black woman in enough drawing rooms and boardrooms to have an inkling of the chutzpah it took for an African American woman in a s...

  • Amber
    Jul 20, 2016

    Man I really really wanted to like this book. I enjoy nonfiction and I loved the subject matter the author went after. However, this was just so dry. It felt very clinical as opposed to experiencing l...

  • Kazen
    Jan 21, 2017

    There is so much history that we don't know about. Some of it is hinted at in textbooks - conversations that may have taken place in closed rooms, people who may have helped behind the scenes. These a...

  • Didi
    Dec 28, 2016

    This is an excellent nonfiction novel to learn about the African-American women who largely contributed to America's race to space. What I especially appreciated was the way Shetterley always grounded...

  • Ben Babcock
    Jan 12, 2017

    No, but seriously, did you expect anything less of a rating from me? This book is kickass. It is literally everything I have wanted in a science history book for a while.Hidden Figures details the liv...

  • Amanda
    Aug 15, 2016

    This was such an extraordinary, exhilarating and important story to tell, but the writing was so dry, repetitive and full of platitudes that it began to dull the edges of this sharp tale. I really hop...

  • Rachel (Kalanadi)
    Oct 19, 2016

    This was very inspirational, and I was greatly moved by the story of these women's contributions. Part of me wants to march out and get a mathematics degree and level up, because these women were by f...