Sunday, June 18, 2017

#BookReview | Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly #DNF

Title: Hidden Figures
By: Margot Lee Shetterly
Genre: Historical Non-Fiction
Pages: 349
Release Date: December 6th, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Audience: Adult

Summary from Goodreads: The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America's greatest achievements in space. Now 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 shots 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 as they faced challenges, forged alliances, and used their intellects to change their own lives - and their country's future.





Review: I waited and waited and waited for a copy of this book from the library. While I was waiting, I saw the movie and I loved it. Then I started reading the book and I was so bored that I didn't finish it. 

The book was chalked full of heavy, dry history and not much of the story that I was expecting. I didn't love the characters and I had a hard time digesting the writing style. This is one of those rare cases where I felt that the book was way better than the movie.

I gave this book a big DNF. If you are into thick historical stories, then you would possibly like Hidden Figures. If historical is not your thing, watch the movie.

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