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If you like Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
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. (catalog summary)
 

Have you read our Rappahannock Read, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly? If you have and you're looking for more titles like Hidden Figures, check these out! These selections include: history of the Space Race and women's achievements in science and other fields of STEM.


 

The Astronaut Wives Club: A True StoryThe Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons. Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other's children by day, while going to glam parties at night. As their celebrity rose—and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives—they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. (catalog summary)
 


Epic Lives: One Hundred Black Women Who Made A Difference
Epic Lives: One Hundred Black Women Who Made A Difference

After 20 years of research and loving dedication, author Jessie Carney Smith presents this tribute to 100 African-American women of achievement. Their strength, courage, determination, and style have made a tremendous impact in a variety of fields - from aeronautics to civil rights to the arts and entertainment. Many of these women will be familiar to you, but many more are unsung heroes whose stories you will discover for the first time. As Dr. Smith told the Chicago Tribune, "I want people to feel that these are women they can look up to, be inspired by, or remember in some small way. (catalog summary)
 

 


The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War IIThe Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan
This is the story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history. The Tennessee town of Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942. One of the Manhattan Project's secret cities, it did not appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships, and a surplus of handsome scientists and Army men. But against this wartime backdrop, a darker story was unfolding. The penalty for talking about their work, even the most innocuous details, was job loss and eviction. One woman was recruited to spy on her coworkers. They all knew something big was happening at Oak Ridge, but few could piece together the true nature of their work until the bomb "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, and the secret was out. The shocking revelation: the residents of Oak Ridge were enriching uranium for the atomic bomb. Though the young women originally believed they would leave Oak Ridge after the war, many met husbands there, made lifelong friends, and still call the seventy-year-old town home. The reverberations from their work there, work they did not fully understand at the time, are still being felt today. (catalog summary)
 


The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars
by Dava Sobel
The little-known true story of the unexpected and remarkable contributions to astronomy made by a group of women working in the Harvard College Observatory from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. (catalog summary)
 

 

 


Headstrong 52 Women Who Changed Science--and the WorldHeadstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science—and the World by Rachel Swaby
In March 2013, the New York Times published an obituary for Yvonne Brill. It began: "She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job, and took eight years off from work to raise three children." It wasn't until the second paragraph that readers discovered why the Times had devoted several hundred words to her life: Brill was a brilliant rocket scientist who invented a propulsion system to keep communications satellites in orbit, and had recently been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The obituary—and consequent outcry in response—highlighted not only that women in science are often treated with less respect than their male counterparts, but also that there are still so few women in the STEM fields. This is in part because they are lacking the critical encouragement and support they need to help them advance. Headstrong delivers a powerful and entertaining response to the question: Who are the role models for today's female scientists? (catalog summary)
 


Race to the Moon: America's Duel With the Soviets
Race to the Moon: America's Duel With the Soviets by William B. Breuer
Race to the Moon traces the story of how America got to the moon before Communist Russia. The book opens with an appeal by President John F. Kennedy for winning the space race, then flashes back to World War II and traces the history of rocket development by the Germans, who were 25 years ahead of all other nations in rocket R&D. The book tells of feuds among Nazi leaders about who should control the rocket program, the struggles of German space scientists to persuade Nazi leadership to invest in rocket research, and, finally, the hundreds of individual espionage efforts that went into smuggling information about this new technology out of the Reich and into the hands of British Intelligence. (catalog summary)
 


Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to MarsRise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt
During World War II, when the brand-new minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate jet velocities and plot missile trajectories, they recruited an elite group of young women—known as "computers"—who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design and helped bring about America's first ballistic missiles. But they were never interested in developing weapons--their hearts lay in the dream of space exploration. So when JPL became part of a new agency called NASA, the computers worked on the first probes to the moon, Venus, Mars, and beyond. Later, as digital computers largely replaced human ones, JPL was unique in training and retaining its brilliant pool of women. They became the first computer programmers and engineers, and through their efforts, we launched the ships that showed us the contours of our solar system. For the first time, this book tells the stories of these women who charted a course not only for the future of space exploration but also for the prospects of female scientists. Based on extensive research and interviews with the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science, illuminating both where we've been and the far reaches of where we're heading. (catalog summary)
 


She's Such A Geek!: Women Write About Science, Technology & Other Nerdy Stuff
She's Such A Geek!: Women Write About Science, Technology & Other Nerdy Stuff

Editors Annalee Newitz and Charlie Anders bring together a diverse range of critical and personal essays about the meaning of female nerdhood by women who are in love with genomics, obsessed with blogging, learned about sex from Dungeons and Dragons, and aren't afraid to match wits with men or computers. More than anything, She's Such a Geek is a celebration and call to arms: it's a hopeful book which looks forward to a day when women will invent molecular motors, design the next ultra-tiny supercomputer, and run the government. (catalog summary)

 


Space Race: The Epic Battle Between America and the Soviet Union for Dominion of SpaceSpace Race: The Epic Battle Between America and the Soviet Union for Dominion of Space by Deborah Cadbury
One of the most exhilarating true adventures in history, the race into space was marked by courage, duplicity, political paranoia, astonishing technological feats, and unbelievable triumphs in the face of overwhelming adversity. It is the story of an unparalleled rivalry between superpowers and of the two remarkable men at the center of the conflict. On the American side was Wernher von Braun, the camera-friendly former Nazi scientist, who was granted hero status and almost unlimited resources by a government panicked at the thought of the Cold War enemy taking the lead. The Soviet program was headed by Sergei Korolev, a former political prisoner whose identity was a closely guarded state secret. Korolev was expected to—and did—work miracles on a shoestring budget, his cooperation assured through intimidation and threats of possible disgrace or death. These rivals were opposite in every way, save for one: each was obsessed with the idea of launching a man to the Moon. (catalog summary)
 


We Could Not FailWe Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program by Richard Paul
The Space Age began just as the struggle for civil rights forced Americans to confront the long and bitter legacy of slavery, discrimination, and violence against African Americans. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson utilized the space program as an agent for social change, using federal equal employment opportunity laws to open workplaces at NASA and NASA contractors to African Americans while creating thousands of research and technology jobs in the Deep South to ameliorate poverty. We Could Not Fail tells the inspiring, largely unknown story of how shooting for the stars helped to overcome segregation on earth. Richard Paul and Steven Moss profile ten pioneer African American space workers whose stories illustrate the role NASA and the space program played in promoting civil rights. They recount how these technicians, mathematicians, engineers, and an astronaut candidate surmounted barriers to move, in some cases literally, from the cotton fields to the launching pad. The authors vividly describe what it was like to be the sole African American in a NASA work group and how these brave and determined men also helped to transform Southern society by integrating colleges, patenting new inventions, holding elective office, and reviving and governing defunct towns. Adding new names to the roster of civil rights heroes and a new chapter to the story of space exploration, We Could Not Fail demonstrates how African Americans broke the color barrier by competing successfully at the highest level of American intellectual and technological achievement. (catalog summary)
 


Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History
Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History
by Sam Maggs
Smart women have always been able to achieve amazing things, even when the odds were stacked against them. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs tells the stories of the brilliant, brainy, and totally rad women in history who broke barriers as scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors. Plus, interviews with real-life women in STEM careers, an extensive bibliography, and a guide to women-centric science and technology organizations—all to show the many ways the geeky girls of today can help to build the future. (catalog summary)