Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

(Thank you to the publisher, HarperCollins, and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book for review!!)
about book:

The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.

Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.

my thoughts:

Wow! Talk about a MUST-READ!!  Hidden Figures is a history lesson for us all about the 'hidden figures' involved in Langley's research and work about Space aka reaching the heavens.  These 'hidden figures' are not just the super complex mathematical figures needed to create and improve airplanes and rockets, but they are also the human 'computers' who worked tirelessly and wholeheartedly on getting America into Space.  They are the Black women who worked at NACA/NASA and whose contributions helped in so many HUGE ways in aiding our country to succeed and dominate within the aeronautical world.  They are inspiring, intelligent, and unforgettable - the role models we want for children.  Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly's book tells the stories of four of these great women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden. And let me just say, their stories are awe-inspiring!

Shettery's book, Hidden Figures, is a well written tome that is chock full of detailed and important historical information.  Its obvious the extensive and exhaustive research that Shetterly executed in order to gather so much fascinating information about these four extraordinary women.  This book is just so informative and interesting - I didn't want to put it down!  I will admit that while reading it, I couldn't help but imagine Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson.  Why?  She's playing the mathematician in the film version of the book!  Yes, there's going to a be a movie and it looks great - I can't wait to see it!  I loved learning about these amazing women - they were so damn smart and capable.  They were hardworking in every which way - their families, their work, their communities and their country.  I was fascinated by their stories and the roles they played in American history - its just so awesome!  Not only do these women have to deal with being female in a predominately male academic arena, but they also have to endure the racist actions and speech of their fellow countrymen.  Its infuriating, horrifying, and simply awful.  And yet, these women persevered.  They refused to be limited in any way by anyone. They were confident and secure in their knowledge and knew that what they contributed at Langley was imperative to America's success in sending someone into outer Space.  These women knew that what they were creating was history, and so they worked harder and faster than anyone else to make sure their input was included, valued, and noted. It wasn't easy, by any means, but they wanted to achieve their goals and so they did.  These four women are the epitome of what brains and hard work can get you - success in family, career, and life.  I found them  to be awe-inspiring. 

Hidden Figures is an important book and I'm so glad to have read it.  I would happily recommend it to anyone and everyone interested in nonfiction books about American history, especially about NASA and women in Math and Science.  Hidden Figures is a must-read book!  Anyone would reads it will LOVE it.  Definitely check it out!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Hidden Figures
Thank you to the publisher, HarperCollins, and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book for review!!


Lark said...

Aren't they making a movie of this? It sounds SO interesting. I totally want to read it! :)

Nadia said...

Lark, they are making a movie of this and I can't wait to see it! Definitely check this book out - its a fascinating read!

Beth said...

I need this book in my life!! Just saw the movie trailer and had no idea it was actually based on a book!

bermudaonion said...

This sounds right up my alley. I'm glad to see these women finally getting some recognition.

Nadia said...

Beth, you do!! Its so good!! The trailer makes me want to see the movie ASAP. And the books makes me want to see the movie, too. Definitely check both out :)

Lisa said...

I'm so bummed I passed on this one! So happy to see the accomplishments of women finally be acknowledged.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Oh my gosh yes! I LOVE books like this that give me a glimpse at the overlooked people who contributed to big things. I must read this one!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

Nadia said...

Lisa, such a great read - you need to check it out :)

Heather, you are going to LOVE this one!! Thanks for having me on this tour :)