Hidden Figures
Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and 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—and whose contributions have been unheralded, until now.

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or 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 by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Drawing on the oral histories of scores of these “computers,” personal recollections, interviews with NASA executives and engineers, archival documents, correspondence, and reporting from the era, Hidden Figures recalls America’s greatest adventure and NASA’s groundbreaking successes through the experiences of five spunky, courageous, intelligent, determined, and patriotic women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine.

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 scientific achievement and technological innovation with the intimate stories of five women whose work forever changed the world—and whose lives show how out of one of America’s most painful histories came one of its proudest moments.

Hidden Figures Details

Book TitleHidden Figures
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Hidden Figures Reviews

  • Andrew
    Oct 20, 2016


    From my youth, I have always been interested in the space race. So all the way through reading "Hidden Figures", I was asking myself why haven't I ever heard about the African American Women Scientist involved in the US Space Program from it's earliest days! Margot Lee Shetterly does a...

  • Rachel (Kalanadi)
    Oct 19, 2016

    Rachel (Kalanadi)

    This was very inspirational, and I was greatly moved by the story of these women's contributions. Part of me wants to march out and get a mathematics degree and level up, because these women were by far smarter, braver, and harder working than I am!I will lay the only fault of this boo...

  • Holly
    Oct 18, 2016


    Glad that's over. Not bad but strangely boring. ...

  • Kristen Anderson
    Oct 18, 2016

    Kristen Anderson

    This book is EXCELLENT. If I could give it 10 stars I would. This tells the story of Dorothy Vaughn, Katherine Goble Johnson, and Mary Jackson, and their contributions to science, specifically, flight and landing a man on the moon. But not only does it talk about these three women, but...

  • Katie
    Oct 14, 2016


    It's amazing to learn about these achievements that I've never known anything about. I got tears in my eyes multiple times while reading. These women were amazing, and we are where we are in the industry because of them. I can't wait to see the film. ...

  • Cait
    Oct 12, 2016


    This was awesome. The research and the just really personal storytelling was so evident and really made the book.I can definitely see why this was chosen to be adapted to a movie and I really do think it will translate well. ...

  • KC
    Oct 8, 2016


    This is an amazing and rich historic story about the first African American women who were hired as human computers. During the WWII labor shortage, these women were to work for America's aeronautics industry. Virginia was still under Jim Crow laws and the young mathematicians were not...

  • Maya B
    Oct 3, 2016

    Maya B

    3.5 stars for being interesting, informative, and inspiring. This book is a wonderful history lesson about a group of African American women defying the odds in a workforce dominated by men. The main women discussed were Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson. The author di...

  • Taryn Pierson
    Sep 29, 2016

    Taryn Pierson

    I was beyond excited to read this book when I first heard about it, but when I found out there's a movie version coming out in January...well, is it too cheesy to say my interest rocketed into outer space? Seriously, watch this trailer and tell me it doesn't get you all kinds of excite...

  • Brian Clegg
    Sep 28, 2016

    Brian Clegg

    This is a truly remarkable human story, which is why it gets four stars despite a couple of significant issues. Many non-fiction literary agents have a mantra of 'Is it an article?' for a book proposal that really hasn't got enough content to justify a full length manuscript. The story...