The Popsugar challenge wanted me to read a book of a film I’ve already seen and Hidden Figures ended up to be a great choice because it has so much more scope than the film it inspired. If for some reason it has passed you by, this is the story of the black women who worked as NASA mathematicians or “computers” during the space race.
I changed what I could, and what I couldn’t, I endured.
Actually as the book opens, NASA doesn’t exist yet. Instead there was NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) and the women were employed as part of the war effort. It focuses mostly on Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson but also acknowledges the many other women who were involved in the early days of NASA’s achievements.
It’s obvious that the film condenses the timeline and focuses on the space race, whilst in reality the events happened much further apart. By the time they were working on the Mercury project, Katherine was ignoring the segregated toilets (and the toilet issue is only briefly mentioned in the book but I can understand why it was used as a way to show the unfairness of segregation).
Virginia, a state with one of the highest concentrations of scientific talent in the world, led the nation in denying education to its youth.
What I found the most interesting about the book is how it interweaves the social change of the time. These three woman lived with prejudice in daily life and Virginia seemed to be particularly dragging its heels despite the situation at Langley.
It’s crazy to imagine that there was this huge drive for women mathematicians from the 1940’s and now there is a the struggle to get and keep women working in STEM. Maybe if these talented women were celebrated earlier, things could have been different.
Sometimes, she knew, the most important battles for dignity, pride, and progress were fought with the simplest of actions.
If you’ve seen the film and were left wanting to know more, I’d definitely recommend the book.
POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: 1. A book made into a movie you’ve already seen
Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive | Wordery
Book Source: Purchased
Subscribe via Email
Forgot how hard fishing is at the start of Stardew Valley. At least they've added a training rod so I have some cha… https://t.co/3lOs92nZRmFollow
Today he would become a god. His mother had told him so. The opening line may seem like something any mother would tell her son, but in the case of Serapio, his mother truly believes he will become the Crow God reborn. She blinds him,…
The day Bree gets accepted into an early college placement at UNC, is the day her mother dies. The last words they spoke were of anger. Unable to deal with her dad’s grief on top of her own, Bree goes ahead with the placement. Once…
Alex Stern does not belong at Yale. When she awakes as the sole survivor of a multiple homicide, presumed a drug deal gone wrong, she is given an unlikely offer. Come to Yale, join the House of Lethe and oversee the rituals of the other…
A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor
Just let me dust off this blog thing, I have a review for you! One of my anticipated reads released during lockdown was the follow-up to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. If you read that, of course will will be dying to know what happened to…