I loved this! It was an amazing history lesson of not only the African American women, but history in general. While it tells the story of racial segregation and sexism that the women of Langley faced as they fought to show just how capable they were, this story also gives a great history lesson as well. I really related to this story, as a woman who studied engineering and went into the military. Women were the minority in my studies and profession for many years of my life, and I've definitely had to work a little harder to prove myself because I'm "just a girl", much like the women of this book like Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, and Mary Jackson. Having lived in Hampton Roads myself, I loved hearing about the area as Langley came to be the powerhouse of aeronautics and what would eventually lead to the creation of NASA. While Langley seemed to be a pioneer of breaking down racial segregation, it was slow to break through and allow integration to allow the brilliant men and women working at Langley to show their true capabilities. It took years before the first African American women who started as computers at Langley were recognized for their work at Langley even allowing them to received equal education and reasonable pay and job titles.
I really loved getting to know each of the women that were involved in the telling of the story, and Shetterly's writing is so poetic. With so much research and technical information, the writing is beautiful and I found it fascinating, then again I am an engineer at heart and have loved space since I was small. Having listened to the audio book, Robin Miles did such a wonderful job with the narration. I never wanted to stop listening. I was angry for the women when they didn't get equal pay and recognition for a job well done, or when they weren't allowed the same rights as the white men or women. I cheered when Katherine was finally recognized for her work with John Glenn. I learned so much from this, not just about these Hidden Figures, but about my country, history, inequality, and so much more. I feel that this book is so relevant to some of today's present political tensions, while we've come along way, we have so much farther to go.