Thursday, March 9, 2017

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, 346 pages

Well, most of what this book is about is right there in the absurdly long subtitle, so I won't try to retell the tale too much. What I will say is that this very necessary book deftly illuminates the careers of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson, as well as NASA's countless other black female mathematicians, balancing the math and science with the social and cultural setting in a completely approachable manner. It's a fascinating story that was begging to be told, and I am so glad that Shetterly wrote this book. It's only fault is that it wasn't done years earlier, because this is information that every kid should grow up knowing.

(Side note: there's a heck of a waiting list for this book, thanks to the acclaimed film based on it. Should you want to try a different method of experiencing it, Hidden Figures is available as a downloadable audiobook on Hoopla, where there's no wait whatsoever.)

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