Thursday 21 February 2019

Review: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Set amid 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.
Before 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, these ‘colored computers’ used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
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 mankind’s greatest adventure with the intimate stories of five courageous women whose work forever changed the world.

Review: I listened to this book on audio, having been recommended the audiobook. I think because of the amount of names and figures to keep track of this was definitely the best decision. I did this book the other way round from my usual which is to read the book before seeing the film but I will definitely be making some comparisons to the film. I really don't think I was spoiled for the book by having watched the movie because the movie focuses in on three particular women and one NASA mission in general whereas the book is much broader. 

I think that if you enjoyed the film you will definitely enjoy the book because it covers black female mathematicians at NASA by following various women in their day to day work and personal lives. We get to hear about one mother, her work at NASA and then her helping her son build a soap box car and win his race. We also get to see multiple generations of women go through this work place and the changes that they found compared to the women who had gone before them. 

It was also very interesting because not only does it focus on more women than the film and multiple generations of women, it also relates their workplace to the outside culture a lot more. We get to hear about what is going on in states other than Virginia at the time each of theses women is working at NASA. We also get to see more than one space mission and the work that went into it. I like the fact that we get to see reactions to the Apollo 1 fire and the missions that followed that and also the way the women themselves reacted to John Glenn and his successful mission. 

I really enjoyed this and would definitely recommend the audiobook. I would also compare this one to Code Girls and to some extent the various books that have been released recently such as goodnight stories for rebel girls and girl squads. I think if you are looking for a new non-fiction read, this one should definitely be on your radar!

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

1 comment:

  1. GAH. I need to read this. I really enjoyed the film and so I'm positive I'd love the book. Code Girls is another one I really, really want to get to as well! I can't do audiobooks (my mind wanders too much! I'm so envious of people who can enjoy them), so I'll be hitting up a paper copy when I get to it. :)