Download Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race Audiobook

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race Audiobook, by Margot Lee Shetterly Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly Narrator: Robin Miles Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2016 ISBN: 9780062472076
3.78 out of 53.78 out of 53.78 out of 53.78 out of 53.78 out of 5 3.78 (3 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be 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 a shot 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 they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Forget about breaking the glass ceiling—Robin Miles narrates the true story of four black women whose work as mathematicians helped break the sound barrier…Miles warmly profiles these hard-working women and their significant contributions…Miles’ inflections, rhythm, and pace move the story forward in a fascinating timeline of events.”


  • “Much as Tom Wolfe did in The Right Stuff, Shetterly moves gracefully between the women’s lives and the broader sweep of history…[Shetterly] blends impressive research with an enormous amount of heart in telling these stories.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Meticulous…The depth and detail that are the book’s strength make it an effective, fact-based rudder.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Shetterly…[provides] the depth and detail of a skilled historian and the narrative aplomb of a masterful storyteller.”

  • “Using personal anecdotes to illuminate the larger forces at play…[and] exploring the intimate relationships among blackness, womanhood, and twentieth-century American technological development, Shetterly crafts a narrative that is crucial to understanding subsequent movements for civil rights.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Shetterly’s highly recommended work offers up a crucial history that had previously and unforgivably been lost.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “The stories are amazing not because the women were extremely smart but because they fought for and won recognition and devotedly supported each other’s work…Their story is inspiring and enlightening.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Library Journal Editor’s Pick for Fall 2016
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for September 2016
  • A #1 New York Times audio bestseller

Listener Reviews

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  • 2.333333 out of 52.333333 out of 52.333333 out of 52.333333 out of 52.333333 out of 5 AvidListner32 | 3/16/2018

    " I found nothing in this book to hold my interest and gave up listening after less than an hour. When reading a novel, I will give it no more than 60 pages to grab my interest. For most audio books, I’ll listen for at least an hour before I reject it. This book failed to capture my interest on all levels. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gaye | 2/3/2017

    " Here is another reminder that the fabric of our country is intertwined in the hands of so many minority groups. So proud of the knowledge, competitive and brilliant minds of a forgotten group of African American women. This book touches on the difficulties facing these women during a time when little thought was given to segregated signs for drinking water, eating and going to bathroom. Head held high, supporting each other and facing obstacles with grace could easily be the motto of Hidden Figures "

About the Author

Margot Lee Shetterly is a writer who grew up in Hampton, Virginia, where she knew many of the women in her book Hidden Figures. She is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow and the recipient of a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grant for her research on women in computing.

About the Narrator

Coleen Marlo is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator who has been nominated for an Audie Award twice, winning in 2011. She has been awarded three Listen-Up Awards from Publishers Weekly, an AudioFile Audiobook of the Year Award in 2011, and was named Audiobook Narrator of the Year for 2010 by Publishers Weekly. She is a member of the prestigious Actors Studio and taught acting for ten years at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. Marlo is a proud founding member of Deyan Institute of Voice Artistry and Technology.