TLC Review: Hidden Figures

September 7, 2016 History, non-fiction 14 ★★★★★

TLC Review: Hidden FiguresTitle: Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: Wow, this was so good! Engaging, well written, clearly explained, inspiring.

I love discovering forgotten pieces of history and this is a great one, one that should be more well known. However, it will likely come as a surprise to most people to learn that the work of NACA (later NASA) during WWII and through the moon landing relied on the work of a large group of black, female mathematicians. These exceptional women made technical advances possible with their talent and drove social change with their optimism and determination. Focusing on four women who worked at NASA during this time period, Margot Lee Shetterly brings this story to life.

Shetterly’s personal connection to and enthusiasm for this story immediately won me over. It made me more enthusiastic and more engaged throughout the rest of the book. It helped that she also did a great job balancing the personal and technical information. As someone who knows nothing about aeronautics or aerospace engineering, I found her explanations fascinating and easy to follow. I also found the personal stories incredibly moving. I found the women in this story inspirational for their technical prowess; for their passion for their work; for their willingness to fight discrimination to do that work; and for the selflessness with which they helped one another.

The structure of the story was also well done. Told chronologically, the author shares the stories of four women of different ages, who grew up and worked at NACA/NASA at different times. This allowed the author to tell the big picture story of how America and NACA/NASA changed over time, while staying grounded in personal stories. Even if you’re not someone who usually picks up nonfiction, I’d recommend this engaging narrative. I found it compulsively readable and inspiring.

For some other perspectives, check out the other stops on the tour.

14 Responses to “TLC Review: Hidden Figures”

  1. Jackie

    Ah, I went back and forth on whether or not to join in on this tour. I do love nonfiction, and this novel certainly sounded intriguing, but ultimately time was a factor for me. I’ll definitely be adding this one to my TBR for when the cold months finally sink in. I’m a total sucker for anything that has to do with space!

    • DoingDewey

      Oh no! I kind of hate when I pass up a tour and then hear good things about the book afterwards. Time is usually the reason in my case too. I hope you’re able to pick it up later 🙂

  2. Julie @ Smiling Shelves

    Seems to me I saw a preview of this somewhere. Are they making this book into a movie? It sounds like it would make a great one. Although I’m thrilled to hear that it’s a book, because I’m not going to be seeing many movies in the near future, with a little baby around. This book is definitely going on my TBR!

    • DoingDewey

      They are and I can’t wait! Watching movies seems like it might be easier to keep on then reading, so I’m glad you’ll be able to check it out that way 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      Agreed! It was nice to see some social change happening and I liked the way the four different women kept us connected to a personal story in each time period. Thanks for including me 🙂

  1. Nonfiction Friday | Doing Dewey

    […] loved Hidden Figures (but still need to see the movie!) and really enjoyed this interview with author Margot Lee […]

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