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

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

Written by Margot Lee Shetterly

Narrated by Robin Miles


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

Written by Margot Lee Shetterly

Narrated by Robin Miles

ratings:
4/5 (230 ratings)
Length:
10 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 6, 2016
ISBN:
9780062472076
Format:
Audiobook

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BookSnapshot

Also available as...

BookSnapshot

Editor's Note

We all pee the same color…

Thanks to Shetterly’s blockbuster book, the black female mathematicians whose calculations were critical to winning the space race in a still-segregated America are a hidden history no more. A crucial story that challenges our conceptions.

Description

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.

Publisher:
Released:
Sep 6, 2016
ISBN:
9780062472076
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

BookSnapshot

About the author

Margot Lee Shetterly grew up in Hampton, Virginia, where she knew many of the women in her book Hidden Figures. She is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow and the recipient of a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grant for her research on women in computing. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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What people think about Hidden Figures

4.2
230 ratings / 91 Reviews
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  • (4/5)
    When I was younger, I had scrapbooks about the Apollo program. I sent my son to space camp, I followed so much about the race to space but I had never heard about these remarkable women. 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 mathematics and engineering at NASA. There were many other women included in this book, but these were the main ones. This was a time of segregation, and there were no equal rights for women, let alone women of African American Heritage. In 1941 when so many men were gone to war, NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) began hiring women as female computers. These women did the work of mathematicians but were considered subprofessionals in order to be paid less. When the demand for more "computers" could not be satisfied with white women, Langley began recruiting women from All Black colleges. Eventually with time, the Space Race came into play and NACA was renamed NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Agency). It was amazing the important role these women played and they were not well known at all.

    Not only does this book focus on the role of the women, but it deals with the Civil Rights Movement. One of the biggest issues was integration of schools and universities and colleges. I had no idea that there was a five year period where there was no public education in Prince Edward County Virginia. At the beginning of their careers, the black mathematicians are forced to work on the west side of the Langley campus. They were referred to as "The West Computers" and many people did not even know that this unit existed. They had to use "coloured only" washrooms and sit at a segregated table in the cafeteria, until the 60s when integration finally happened. The only thing I disliked about this book, but others loved, was the amount of scientific details and facts. I enjoyed some of it, and much of it was necessary to the story, but I would have liked just a bit less. I am going to have to watch the movie.
  • (5/5)
    Really great story
  • (5/5)
    Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race traces the women who worked first at NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, that later became NASA. Their work helped develop the planes that won World War II and the rockets that won the Space Race. In addition to tracing their scientific work, Shetterly examines the women’s lives in detail, discussing the educational opportunities they pursued in order to become mathematicians and engineers. Shetterly uses her subjects’ education and work as a case-study for desegregation in education and federal offices.Shetterly writes of postwar changes to federal offices, “Truman issued Executive Order 9980, sharpening the teeth of the wartime mandate that had helped bring West Area Computing into existence. The new law went further than the measure brought to life by A. Philip Randolph and President Roosevelt by making the heads of each federal department ‘personally responsible’ for maintaining a work environment free of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin” (pg. 104). Discussing the lines of segregation, Shetterly writes, “At Langley, the boundaries were fuzzier. Blacks were ghettoed into separate bathrooms, but they had also been given an unprecedented entrée into the professional world. Some of Goble’s colleagues were Yankees or foreigners who’d never so much as met a black person before arriving at Langley. Others were folks from the Deep South with calcified attitudes about racial mixing. It was all a part of the racial relations laboratory that was Langley, and it meant that both blacks and whites were treading new ground together” (pg. 123). Shetterly points out that Southern segregation limited options for both poor whites and African-Americans. She writes, “Throughout the South, municipalities maintained two parallel inefficient school systems, which gave the short end of the stick to the poorest whites as well as blacks. The cruelty of racial prejudice was so often accompanied by absurdity, a tangle of arbitrary rules and distinctions that subverted the shared interests of people who had been taught to see themselves as irreconcilably different” (pg. 145). Further, “As fantastical as America’s space ambitions might have seemed, sending a man into space was starting to feel like a straightforward task compared to putting black and white students together in the same Virginia classrooms” (pg. 185). In this way, “Virginia, a state with one of the highest concentrations of scientific talent in the world, led the nation in denying education to its youth” (pg. 204).Shetterly brilliantly juxtaposes both the promise of American ingenuity and the cultural place of the space race against the reality of Jim Crow and racial violence. All those looking to reconcile the paradox of America must read this book. This Easton Press edition is gorgeously leather-bound with gilt page edges and signed by the author. It makes a lovely gift for recent college or university graduates studying history.
  • (4/5)
    Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly is a book not only about strong women but more. It is a book about society, struggles, overcoming prejudices, spirit, strong will, and brains. This is a history lesson for all of us not to repeat mistakes. This book follows a handful of smart and tough women as they work their way through a society rigged against them in every way until they get a small break and they let their brilliance shine. They deserved more credit then but society still wasn't ready and is it still? I wonder watching the news...I am glad they finally got some kind of recognition for their service and tenacity. You go girls!
  • (4/5)
    There can be no denying this book’s technical references left us all scratching our heads in muddled uncertainty, but then again, none of us claim to be even mediocre mathematicians. So it was decided that the importance of this book stretches past the NASA space race and even the gender gap that existed in the 1950s and 60s. Shetterly’s research into the ‘coloured’ computers that stoically worked under segregation at NASA and the larger community is unprecedented and cannot be downplayed in its significance to a new generation. The racism and segregation laws are far from a surprise to anyone, yet some of our group were newly appalled at how these women were treated and what they had to endure day after day, along with the low pay and lack of basic respect. Many works may have stopped there and rode the whole book on the racism card, but Shetterly goes further with the complete story on what it actually meant for these women to not only secure work at NASA, but to make the educational journey required to put them there. Nothing came easy to any of them and the struggle through the many obstacles laid before them (as women in the workforce) makes for an inspiring read and in our case, a great discussion. There are moments when you can find yourself bogged down in technical speak and bewildering facts and figures, but as a group we believe the book to be an extremely important record of a history that until now was little known. And the value of that alone cannot be discounted for future generations of both women and men.
  • (4/5)
    Good historical information; insightful perspective from African American woman, interesting development of NASA
  • (3/5)
    If you have seen the film, you may be disappointed by the book. In an attempt to describe the influence of women and blacks on the US aviation and space program the author gets lost in the details - to the point that the "story" doesn't flow clearly. This is an important story, but the book, for me, doesn't carry the message well.
  • (4/5)
    A well-written history of the black women behind the visible men of NASA, their lives and contributions to American progress, and a clear case for the ways that structural racism and segregation has held that progress back.
  • (4/5)
    I really wish I had read this before the movie. It is still worth reading for all the details that didn’t fit in the film. Shetterly tells the story in the same style as Boys in the Boat and Girls of Atomic City where it has multiple characters coming in and out of the story. Although I think her writing flows better than those other books, I still had to really be paying attention to remember each character’s details, especially since there are a lot of women named Dorothy! The whole book is inspiring, especially for someone who doesn’t know anything about engineering. In the acknowledgements Shetterly says “Hidden” isn’t the right term as much as “unseen.” Their patience and fortitude for this group of women to keep chipping away at the status quo is inspiring and again makes me realize that although we have a long way to go, we’ve come a long way.For my Longwood alum friends, Farmville shows up multiple times since a couple of the girls are from there...lived on High Street and went to segregated Moton School when it was falling apart. The student’s strike for a better school and the closing of Prince Edward schools are both mentioned.
  • (4/5)
    Loved the movie. Great book. As usual, the movie differs a bit from the book but not in a glaring way.
  • (5/5)
    This is a great book. It is very information dense, and I felt like I took more time than I usually do to read it, but I didn't want to miss a thing. Ms. Shetterly clearly invested a lot of time in her research and it shows. Highly recommended.
  • (5/5)
    Superficially, this book covers the same territory as The Rise of the Rocket Girls, published earlier the same year. Although the books both tell the story of women breaking into mathematics, engineering, and the space program, starting int the early 20th century, via the originally rather mundane role of "computers," in reality there's a very important difference. The Rocket Girls at what became NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory were overwhelmingly white. Shetterly follows black women charting the same course at Langley, in Virginia, where in addition to facing the obstacles women faced simply for being women, the black women were also challenging institutionalized racism in one of the states where it was most entrenched. They had an opening because the demand for mathematicians who could do the work was so high that white men, especially in the WWII years, weren't available in the numbers needed. Holding on and moving ahead depended on their own talent and hard work, plus the persistence and resilience to overcome the discrimination.

    The women, both black and white, started out when the word "computer" meant a person doing the calculations by hand that were needed for astronomy, engineering, and other areas that needed high-level math in quantity and at speed. As it became one of the few jobs other than nursing or teaching that a woman of education could pursue, it attracted women of the same education and ability as many of the men who were being hired as engineers. That set up a dynamic that would play out over the years, as blacks both male and female, and women both black and white, began insisting on being recognized for their real contributions, and a percentage of it.

    Virginia law required that workplaces be segregated, so the black women hired as computers worked in a separate building that came to be known as West Computing. The white women were in East Computing.

    This book follows the stories of the women of West Computing, including Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, and West Computing itself from its earliest days with just twenty women, through the expansion during the war years and the space program. the women worked initially isolated at West Computing, but gradually began to work closely with various engineering groups, on airplane design, missiles, and eventually spacecraft and their guidance systems. Though it's now said they were known as "human computers," that's not quite right. The machines we now call early computers were late arrivals, here and everywhere else that the women known as computers worked. These women became the programmers of those machine computers, as the machines became reliable enough and powerful enough, and the engineers considered it beneath them.

    The women of West Computing struggled with both racism and sexism, but they were tough, smart, and persistent. As they more and more proved their value, increasing numbers of them became recognized as--and accorded the employment status of--mathematicians and engineers. In the 1950s and 1960s, Virginia resisted integration more than some other states, and even this federal facility had to work around that, but as time passed, individual computers and mathematicians became assigned permanently to the engineering groups they were working with most closely. When these women were from West Computing, that created a de facto integrated work group. It was a slow eating away at segregation, but it happened, whittling down the separate and segregated West Computing over years. Finally, when the Langley facility became part of NASA, segregation at all NASA facilities, and therefore West Computing, was abolished.

    We follow the personal lives of these women as well as their professional lives. The two interacted, as each was affected by World War II, the post-war years and the rising tension with the Soviet Union, and the growth of the space program and the space race. These women, along with their white counterparts at East Computing, and at JPL and elsewhere, were crucial to the success of the space program. It's a fascinating look at a corner of history that's generally overlooked, and it held my interest all the way through.

    Highly recommended.

    I bought this audiobook.
  • (1/5)
    I hate doing this. It is very rare that I will give up on a book. I finish what I start! But I just can't get through this one. The subject is very interesting to me but every time I sit down to read I either find myself drifting off thinking about something else I would rather be reading or falling asleep. Even worse it's my book club pick for this month.
  • (2/5)
    I read this book because I enjoyed the movie so much. Unfortunately, the movie seems to have taken a Liberty Valance print-the-legend approach to the material, upping the drama by taking liberties with the facts. Shetterly sticks to the facts and outlines them in a dry, plodding and repetitive prose that made reading the book more than a bit of a chore. The subject matter remains a revelation and incredibly important, but I wish the reading experience could have been even partially as enjoyable as watching the film.
  • (4/5)
    I'm late to the party, but still enjoyed this book very much. The author really did her research and wrote the story about NACA/NASA's black female computers in a smooth and informative way. There was enough explanation without getting lost or over simplified to follow along what Katherine, Dorothy and Mary did at their jobs and the issues they faced living in the segregated south.
  • (4/5)
    I wished that I read the book first before I watched the movie. The movie was such a well done adaptation of the book, when I read the book, it takes a little effort to adjust to the documentery style narration of the book. It is well written, just got threw off by the movie.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this book, but often felt that the amount of extraneous information that was given was just too much. I didn't know what information I needed to uptake and recall as I continued to read, as opposed to being able to just read and not try to hold onto. This book resonates similarly to Radium Girls, though I felt Radium Girls kept me more eagerly turning pages.I love hearing about the American space program. These women left their fingerprints on the space program, just as men left their footprints on the moon. Their story is triumphant.
  • (4/5)
    I'm late to the party, but still enjoyed this book very much. The author really did her research and wrote the story about NACA/NASA's black female computers in a smooth and informative way. There was enough explanation without getting lost or over simplified to follow along what Katherine, Dorothy and Mary did at their jobs and the issues they faced living in the segregated south.
  • (2/5)
    I had a very difficult time reading this book an the only reason I was able to get as into it as I did was because I had a lot of time on my hands one day and read about 80 pages of the book in that one day. The writing is fine, but it is very boring. The importance of the story is incredibly lost in the writing style and that really bothered me.

    I researched the author around halfway through the book and found that Shetterly said growing up in Langley she thought that being an engineer or human computer was just what black people did. I think this speaks to why the account did not highlight the right information. The author is jaded by seeing black people do amazing things every day.

    I also had an issue with how the civil rights movement was brought into the book. I felt that in the capacity it was presented, it could have just as easily have been left out. Everybody knows (I hope) that segregation went beyond the schools. Segregation in the school was an important element in understanding the story. However, the bathrooms and water fountains did nothing to add to the story. I did not feel like they helped paint a picture of being outcast and lessened as they were likely meant to.

    Finally, there is this issue of being a "double minority"- a woman in STEM and a black woman at that. There are challenges that come with each of those identities, and those challenges are multiplicative when you put them together. However, I felt like the book just highlighted everything these women did well with very little regard for how hard they had to fight at work for the recognition. I am not saying it was absent, because it definitely was not. I am saying that the conviction with which it was described was lacking.

    I would still love to see the movie and I would love to feel confident enough giving this book more than two stars. I just don't feel that I am honestly describing what I felt while I was reading and how I feel looking back on the information in the book if I use any other rating.
  • (4/5)
    This book tells the story of African American women who were employed by Langley during World War II (WWII) and afterward. Starting out in aeronautics and moving on to outer space, these women helped with the calculations and other projects that eventually resulted in the moon landing. It was a bit odd to hear people referred to as computers. To me, a computer is a machine, and I hadn't realized that the term was originally a job title. I found the stories in this book inspirational.
  • (5/5)
    I am so glad that I read this after seeing the movie. I loved the movie, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the lifetime of achievement of the women featured in the movie plus there are more women mentioned in the book whose accomplishments aren't evident in the film. It's an amazing story and Shetterly relays it beautifully.
    I loved every minute of reading this book and it needs to be in all school libraries. I get that schools don't have the time to devote to each historical topic, but having something like this (there is a Young Readers version available here) for them to read would be great. I wish I had spent more time in the non-fiction section back when I was in school but I'm trying to make up for it now. I love the stories of women throughout history, seeing that we've been contributing to the world in more than 2 ways, and promoting those stories when I see them. Fortunately, this one doesn't exactly need my help. It's been great to see all the notoriety this story has gotten, it's well deserved.
    Shetterly goes a long way to giving the reader an understanding of not only the important nature of these women's work, but the sacrifices they made to do the work and the pressures they were under from several sources. The difference in the way they were treated at work and at home, by coworkers and by passersby on the sidewalk, is well delineated and it paints a good picture of what it must have meant to be there, to be breaking down barriers and to be given credit for their incredible intelligence. I appreciate that they all say they were just doing their jobs, which I'm sure is true, but there's always more to it than that. I've known people who "just" do their jobs and there's a difference between them and people who love the work. It's this difference that breaks down the barriers that these women took on, purposefully or not.
    I appreciated Shetterly's inclusion of the timeline with the Civil Rights movement. I am familiar with the events from school and other reading, but it helped me out to have it overlaid on the timeline of the events at NACA and NASA, to understand the shifting sands the women found themselves on. She did a great job too of delineating the cultural and workplaces differences with being African American, a woman, or an African American and a woman. The African American men got to come in as engineers and the women had to fight for that too. White women were also given advantages over African American women, which caused the women featured here to deal with twice the problems the others had.
    This is a book that everyone should read, but especially if you watched the movie, which really only covers half. The book carries the story of the three central women all the way to the moon landing, while the movie stops at John Glenn's orbit. Shetterly's writing style is impeccable and the story itself is astounding.
  • (3/5)
    In World War II, when there were so many jobs available that women were accepted into jobs they may never have received otherwise, a group of brilliant black women were hired as "computers" at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. These women, including Dorothy Vaughan and Katherine Goble, worked to run the numbers for engineering feats that allowed the airplane industry (military and civilian) really take off. Then, NACA became NASA and the space race was on.I really, really wanted to like this book about heretofore "hidden figures" - the women themselves and the numbers they ran, which were no guarantee of authorship in technical reports. Though the subtitle mentions the space race, the story of the West Computers - the segregated unit of black women "computers" for NACA - runs from 1946 through 1969. Primarily following the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Goble and Mary Jackson, Shetterly includes incidences of many more women in the workforce, black and white, which made it hard to follow with all the names and moving back and forth in time when she gave their educational background, early work history and marriages. Other side stories, some more tangential than others, included everything from women at NACA to the challenges of integration in Viriginia schools to Mary Jackson's son's soap box derby. If this reader is any guide, the math and computing details are way over the head of the layperson. Shetterly does not hold back on mathematics, complex vocabulary and sentences, which made for really slow reading. Though it's an important story and researched, the meticulously detailed approach, number of people involved (I really wished for a list of them!), and number of side stories detracted from my reading experience.
  • (3/5)
    According to this book's back cover, it tells the story of the black, female mathematicians who helped make American space travel possible, with a focus on four women in particular. There was a lot of buzz surrounding this nonfiction title and the movie based on it, and I was super excited to read it. A hidden history about empowered women? Sign me up. However, the book was very disappointing. The actual history was interesting, but it was written in a very choppy way, switching back and forth between asides and major characters/plot points. A new woman would be introduced starting with her high school career, with no mention until many chapters later what her significance to the space program was. One person wasn't even introduced until the book's epilogue! A rather lengthy portion was devoted to one woman helping her son with his pine derby entrant. An interesting sidenote given that he was the first African-American child to win the competition from his state, but still a sidenote that distracts from the main story. Speaking of the main story, the book begins during World War II with women becoming "computers" (aka mathematicians) for aeronautics research. While that background is important, the later development of NASA isn't introduced until about three-quarters of the way into the book. How can this book be "the untold story of the black women who helped win the space race" if the space race seems like an afterthought in the plot? And, at the end of the day, I honestly don't feel like this book ever told me what exactly the women did at NASA. Yes, I understand they were mathematicians, but there seemed to be little addressed about how what they did made it to the final project.The audio reader for this book was just so-so. It can be hard to make nonfiction sound exciting and while she wasn't overly placid, she wasn't exactly enthusiastic either.
  • (4/5)
    Sappy and cutesy prose, and in dire need of editing. In terms of the actual portrayal of the hard working American Calculators and their accomplishments, well, the book is orders of magnitude better than the movie.
  • (3/5)
    While the movie (which I loved) focused on three women, the book included a long list of women and men who worked for NACA/NASA and elsewhere in the area and the challenges they faced over a period of about 25 years. I know I should not have expected a novel, but I had a hard time staying interested in the book. I did enjoy learning more about the space program and the contributions that women - especially women of color - made, but I found the author's writing style very distracting. The book had no flow and there were too many insignificant details.
  • (4/5)
    I knew I had to read this book the very second I first heard of it, and it did not disappoint. This is a big, sprawling story, that encompasses decades and a cast of dozens, even as it tries to concentrate on a handful, especially Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. This is Shetterly's first book, and at times it is clear that it is not the writing of this book that makes it exceptional. However, those moments when the writing falters, you get the sense that it misses a step because she is trying to include so much. And given how obscure the subject matter was before, and how deserving it is of time in the sunshine, it is impossible to fault her for that.

    Indeed, in the epilogue Shetterly mourns and outlines some of the material she had to cut in order to make this book work. And it makes me wish that she will write more books. More about the later years of these three ladies -- fighting against sexism in engineering. More about the other women who barely appeared. Heck, maybe just straight biographies of each of these women, now that the context is established. I would sign up to read all of those books.
  • (5/5)
    Finished my cross-over Black/Women's History Month(s) read and highly recommend it. I saw the movie in January and knew I'd want to read the book. It was obvious that the movie took a lot of "artistic license," but the underlying story of black women mathematicians at NASA was so compelling, I had to find out the truth behind the "drama" of the movie. Shetterly did not disappoint. The three women featured in the movie are also the backbones of this book, but there is so much more history including the white women "computers," the first black engineers, and the evolving history of a gradually racially integrated science facility set in the midst of the the Jim Crow state of Virginia. We get a fascinating insight into the culture of middle-class black families and educational institutions set against the major developments of the times: the Great Depression, WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Space Race. Along the way we also learn a good deal about aeronautics, science, and math. These women are heroes and inspiring examples for girls of all races. The movie only covers a fraction of their stories. Read the book!
  • (5/5)
    There is so much more story here than in the film, although the film skillfully incorporates some of the best stories by distorting the actual time line of events. Apart from the that, the book includes other women, African-American and white, who were pioneers and much more cordial co-workers than the book might have indicated. Best of all was the revelation that Katherine Johnson never ran back and forth to the "colored" bathroom, she just used the most convenient one.
  • (5/5)
    I first wanted to read this book because I read an interview with the author in Bitch. Then with the movie coming out and all the attention it's been getting with all that I *really* wanted to read it.Well, it definitely lived up to the hype. The story was fascinating and well-told. I think it's so good that these very important women are finally getting their due. I did have some anger about "Why have I never heard of these women before?", the whole way both women and people of colour get erased from history. But I'm glad to know about them now.My only criticism of the book is that there were so many different people being discussed that sometimes it was hard to keep track of all of them. But I think that often happens in nonfiction books like this.
  • (4/5)
    I found this book fascinating in its examination of the world of human computers, mathematics, and engineering with the focus on black women and their contributions. I especially admired the way in which the women who were the focus of this book pursued their goals with grace in the face of the ugliness of racism and segregation. They surely paved the way for greater opportunities for women and especially minority women just by virtue of their intelligence and passion.