Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation into Space

Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation into Space

Young Readers' EditionNow in a special new edition perfect for young listeners, this is the amazing true story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in our space program. Soon to be a major motion picture.Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mat...

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Title:Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation into Space
Author:Margot Lee Shetterly
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation into Space Reviews

  • DeAnna Knippling

    Fabulous. I know some readers are upset that this book doesn't have a novel- or movie-type plot with a main character and all end neatly tied up--but hey. That's life. I thoroughly enjoyed both the details and attitude here. But please do keep in mind that this isn't a biography, but a history.

  • Ian

    Dorothy Vaughan

    Mary Jackson

    Katherine Johnson

    Christine Darden

    and the many other African American women who worked for NASA.

    I honor you.

    To women in general and especially women of colour working in science, engineering and math.

    I honor you.

  • Susie

    I can't believe I'm saying this, but this is one case where I think it would be beneficial to see the movie version first. The film is full of so much charm as it tells the story of the African-American women who were an important part of NACA, later NASA. The book is much more dry, but if you have seen the film, you will have a much better understanding of the situations that Shetterly describes. Actually, she does a nice job of describing some of the physics and mathematics involved. I am cert

    I can't believe I'm saying this, but this is one case where I think it would be beneficial to see the movie version first. The film is full of so much charm as it tells the story of the African-American women who were an important part of NACA, later NASA. The book is much more dry, but if you have seen the film, you will have a much better understanding of the situations that Shetterly describes. Actually, she does a nice job of describing some of the physics and mathematics involved. I am certain that many of my students are unaware of the many of the situations and events that took place (even including the Soap Box Derby near the end) It does a nice job of incorporating important events in the Civil Rights movement and personalizing them through the individuals in the book.

    After reading this book (and I am about to start immediately on the adult version), I have an appreciation for a little of the artistic license taken by the film.

    The writing is fairly basic (few complex sentences), and there were a few typos (omitted punctuation, a misspelled 'Glen'), but this would be very accessible for elementary students and up.

  • Margie Van Evera

    I listened to the audio version of this book - the first part was a little slow and boring with a lot of background info of NACA, but I really enjoyed it afterwards when it got into the ladies' early lives and how they were hired at Langley. As expected, these women put up with a LOT of discrimination because they were African-American, but also because they were women going into a "mens" field of work.

    I learned a lot about the air and space program that I had not known before. I'm so impressed

    I listened to the audio version of this book - the first part was a little slow and boring with a lot of background info of NACA, but I really enjoyed it afterwards when it got into the ladies' early lives and how they were hired at Langley. As expected, these women put up with a LOT of discrimination because they were African-American, but also because they were women going into a "mens" field of work.

    I learned a lot about the air and space program that I had not known before. I'm so impressed with the "computers" and how they calculated all of the scenarios of flights and space missions. I would like to see the movie as well.

  • Debra

    3.5 stars

    Back before Mega computers that did everything for us, there was a group of women (Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden) who answered the call by NASA to become “human computers” who used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. These highly intelligent mathematicians made it possible for NASA achieve their greatest accomplishments in space. They did this during a time of se

    3.5 stars

    Back before Mega computers that did everything for us, there was a group of women (Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden) who answered the call by NASA to become “human computers” who used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. These highly intelligent mathematicians made it possible for NASA achieve their greatest accomplishments in space. They did this during a time of segregation. They gave up their jobs as teachers to help their county get into space. This book spans from WWII, the cold war and the civil rights movement.

    I pushed through the book. I did skim through some of it and agree with the others that some of the storytelling was boarding on academic at times. I think I was able to get through those parts because I saw the movie first.

    What I liked was that the women were modest in their achievements. They really paved the way but did so in a quiet fashion. I really felt this book was about many things: girl power, facing challenges, the space age, NASA, segregation, tenacity, perseverance, strength, and the success of these strong intelligent women.

    See more of my reviews at

  • Kelly

    Had to give this three because even though I absolutely loved the story and find the arcs of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson incredibly inspiring, the format and flow of the book made it hard to follow. I frequently had a difficult time remembering which characters had which distinctions, and also keeping the timeline straight. However, the content itself is important and truly hidden from our collective history, so I'm happy to have read and begun to appreciate how amazing t

    Had to give this three because even though I absolutely loved the story and find the arcs of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson incredibly inspiring, the format and flow of the book made it hard to follow. I frequently had a difficult time remembering which characters had which distinctions, and also keeping the timeline straight. However, the content itself is important and truly hidden from our collective history, so I'm happy to have read and begun to appreciate how amazing these women were in shaping change in both science and society.

  • Bea  Charmed

    3.5 stars Review To Come

    Very, very dry at times; full of scientific and sociological detail. The science stuff tended to make my eyes glaze but the sociological aspects were fascinating, saddening, and inspiring. It really brought home the advantages I have as a white woman. It was also interesting to see how international relations and PR affected the US's desegregation policy. And very little of the material in this both was covered in any of my history classes in high school or college. That

    3.5 stars Review To Come

    Very, very dry at times; full of scientific and sociological detail. The science stuff tended to make my eyes glaze but the sociological aspects were fascinating, saddening, and inspiring. It really brought home the advantages I have as a white woman. It was also interesting to see how international relations and PR affected the US's desegregation policy. And very little of the material in this both was covered in any of my history classes in high school or college. That is truly unfortunate. Even today, there aren't a lot of women or black people who are known for their math or scientific prowess. We tend to hear about the men or the white people but they only part of the story.

    While the material was dry, Shetterly certainly did her research and there's an extensive section at the book with notes and bibliographies. I would have liked photographs, both of the people and the various spaces, but it sounded like there was a lack of photos or various reasons.

    I saw the movie first, which was a mixed blessing. It streamlined the info and worked it into an engaging story, not just a history. But it changed around the order of some events and sped up the timeline. Still, I think this is a rare case where seeing the movie first helps make it easier to read and understand the book. Also, now I want to see the movie again.

    I wouldn't call Hidden Figures gripping but it was fascinating and often eye-opening. Thank you Ms Shetterly for bringing light to some important people and aspects of our history. I respect the hell out of the women in this book and they deserve every kudos.

  • Alysia

    When the ads for Hidden Figures came out last year I was ecstatic. Not only did the movie look great and have a spectacular story to tell, the headliners were black women! I hadn’t seen the movie before starting the book, but I was excited anyway. I’m sorry to say I was disappointed. Very disappointed, in fact.

    I don’t think Shetterly grasped the concept of storytelling. Just because a book is non-fiction doesn’t stop it from being a book. There still has to be elements of style and flow in it. H

    When the ads for Hidden Figures came out last year I was ecstatic. Not only did the movie look great and have a spectacular story to tell, the headliners were black women! I hadn’t seen the movie before starting the book, but I was excited anyway. I’m sorry to say I was disappointed. Very disappointed, in fact.

    I don’t think Shetterly grasped the concept of storytelling. Just because a book is non-fiction doesn’t stop it from being a book. There still has to be elements of style and flow in it. Hidden Figures felt like I was reading a textbook from high school. It was sentence after sentence of information dumps about NACA’s history, the women, their kids, civil rights, and anything else Shetterly thought she could cram in there. I 100% appreciate that this book picked up so much traction and brought attention to these women and the work they did, but I wish the book was written more like a book, and less like a research paper.

    The book did give out some fun facts about the women and how incredibly gifted they were, but it wasn’t enough to help slough through the passages about Mach 5 and theoretical physics. At 265 pages this book took as much effort as Chronicle of the Murdered House which clocked in at about 600.

    Hidden Figures was the first book for my ONTD Reading Challenge and I’m just glad it’s over. All the technical talk and lack of personality dragged on for some time. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you personally have a love for engineering or space travel.

    If you like this review check out my book review blog:

  • Tnb

    I had huge hopes for this book.

    Women in science, women in math is such an important topic; so important that one should go beyond expectations.

    This books does such deservice to all young, budding, bright girls, and to all women who worked hard,inspired one another and persevered in a world set against them.

    This books reads like a catalog, a fact-stuffed wiki page. It is horrible, just horrible. What a shame.

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