by Erin K. | | 2 Comments | Tags:

Welcome to Week 4 of the Online Book Club discussion of Hidden Figures!

Well, you did it. You made it all the way to the end of this huge book. Did you enjoy it? Would you recommend it to a friend? I have to admit that I got a little bogged down by all of the names and history by the end of the book. I really appreciated the story and the work that these amazing women did, but I did have a hard time keeping some of the people’s names straight.

If you’re interested in reading a little condensed biography about Dorothy, Mary, or Katherine, check out this page on NASA’s website. There are pictures included, so that is really fun. I wish that Hidden Figures had contained some pictures like a lot of other non-fiction books do. Don’t you think that would have been interesting to have seen some behind the scenes photos of life at Langley during this time?

Katherine Johnson at work in 1962
NASA photo of Katherine Johnson at work in 1962.

The last section focuses a lot on space travel, and if you’ve seen the movie, you know that’s the main focus of the movie as well. I wasn’t alive during the space race time, so I was really interested to see all of the pressure the people at Langley were under to get a man in space. Were you surprised that getting a man into space was so important? How would you have functioned under that kind of pressure?

Could you believe that Katherine had to check the numbers for John Glenn’s mission? I know for sure that I would not have been able to stand that sort of pressure. Knowing that I held the safety of some astronauts in my hands would have been too much. Katherine seems like such a level-headed person. Wasn’t that cool that John Glenn trusted her math skills over the skills of the computer? That seems like such a foreign concept in our technology-reliant culture today.

Do you have any final thoughts about the book? Could you believe that all of the women had such long careers at Langley? Can you believe there were such important female scientists that hadn’t really been talked about in popular culture before this book was published?

I can’t wait to hear what you all thought of this last section and the book as a whole. Make sure to leave me a comment!

Before you go, check out this cool museum exhibit that featured the Langley women. Wouldn’t you like to go and check out all of those historical documents?

If you’re still curious to read about the lives of NASA’s human computers, check out this article. It’s about a woman who started working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California as a computer in 1958 and still works there today! It’s really interesting to hear her story.

I hope you’ll join us next month as we read The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

2 Responses to “Hidden Figures, Week 4”

  1. Carrol

    I am so glad I kept reading. What a great story about these brave women who made such a difference.

    Katherine was so confident in her skills. I am glad she was recognized for her abilities.

    Pictures would have been great. I really wanted to see what these people and places looked like. I actually found myself going through the back pages trying to find them.

    Thanks for the additional websites. They are always so helpful. I am so glad these women are finally getting the recognition they deserve through the exhibits and articles.

    Thanks again for guiding us through another great book.

    • Erin K.

      I’m glad you made it all the way through, Carrol. I was glad that I read it after the fact, but I did feel like the book was hard to get through at times.

      I’m glad that you take the time to look at the extra websites and videos. I always likes getting the visuals for things I am reading.

      I’m glad you got to learn about these great women! And, I’m glad you followed with us again all month!

      I hope you’ll be able to join us next month! The Princess Bride is a little bit easier to read!

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