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Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race ハードカバー – 2016/9/6
The #1 New York Times bestseller
-WINNER OF ANISFIELD-WOLF AWARD FOR NONFICTION
-WINNER BLACK CAUCUS OF AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION BEST NONFICTION BOOK
-WINNER NAACP IMAGE AWARD BEST NONFICTION BOOK
-WINNER NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCES, ENGINEERING AND MEDICINE COMMUNICATION AWARD
The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA at the leading edge of the feminist and civil rights movement, whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space—a powerful, revelatory contribution that is as essential to our understanding of race, discrimination, and achievement in modern America as Between the World and Me and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The basis for the smash Academy Award-nominated film 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.
“Much as Tom Wolfe did in “The Right Stuff”, Shetterly moves gracefully between the women’s lives and the broader sweep of history . . . Shetterly, who grew up in Hampton, blends impressive research with an enormous amount of heart in telling these stories -- Boston Globe
“Restoring the truth about individuals who were at once black, women and astounding mathematicians, in a world that was constructed to stymie them at every step, is no easy task. Shetterly does it with the depth and detail of a skilled historian and the narrative aplomb of a masterful storyteller.” -- Bookreporter.com
Margot Lee Shetterly 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. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
- 出版社 : William Morrow (2016/9/6)
- 発売日 : 2016/9/6
- 言語 : 英語
- ハードカバー : 368ページ
- ISBN-10 : 006236359X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062363596
- 寸法 : 15.24 x 2.97 x 22.86 cm
- Amazon 売れ筋ランキング: - 146,313位洋書 (の売れ筋ランキングを見る洋書)
* 後半の舞台はコンピューターが意味するのが人間の計算担当者から電子計算機に変わる時代である。作品を通じて人種的、フェミニズム的読み方も出来るだろうがわたくし的には仕事上の大先輩の記録を読んでるような気分になった。これは 予期せぬ展開でお得な気分である。
* つまり、人種的平等という点ではソ連のほうが進んでいた（少なくともそのイメージを与えることに成功していた）。それが崩壊後どうなったかはAlexievichのSecondhand timeを参照のこと。
The first and most obvious, is the lack of any illustrations or photographs. It would have added significantly to the impact of the book to see photographs of the key individuals described in the book and also the buildings and laboratories/test equipment they were using. Many such photos exist as a quick check via Google shows. On a personal level, I would have enjoyed seeing some examples of the types of maths that were being used. I can understand this not being included in the main text but could have been included as an appendix.
There are two major themes carried in the writing, one being the difficulties and damage caused by segregation, the other being the emergence of NASA and the US space program. Hence, it is probably inevitable that book is written primarily for US readership. That is not meant as criticism, only as an observation. In practice, for readers outside the US, it may mean resorting to Google to find out about individuals referred to in the book but are not well known outside the US. As an example, I can cite the mention of Althea Gibson: an apt but not obvious choice as a sportsperson.
I found the balance tilted more towards the discussion of segregation than the technical and scientific aspects . In places, the description of the cruelties and loss inflicted by segregation became a little repetitive. But it could also be argued some issues bear repeating. On the other hand, as a child, I recall listening to discussions about how the US overtook the USSR as it was then because of its mastery of the orbital mechanics required for spacecraft rendezvous. I was hoping to learn more about the role Katherine Johnson played in this development. In the film of the same name, there was a scene which seemed to indicate she had played a/the key role in mastering the maths involved but there was scant mention in the book. The book did refer to Mrs.Johnson's calculations in the launches of the early Mercury astronauts and, later, Apollo 11 and 13. But, I'm still wondering if she led the refinement and application of the maths involved in space rendezvous.
Two, minor themes of the book were the male - female and the engineer versus non-engineer biases at NACA and later NASA. The former was (and may probably still be) true of most working environments at that time. As for engineers: it's not just in the aerospace industry that engineers consider themselves to be first among equals. That being said, as a non-engineer who worked with engineers of different flavours (electrical, mechanical and chemical) at different times, I find them to be an uncommonly well qualified and knowledgeable cadre. In any working environment, someone has to lead and in a technology-led domain like aerospace, it's inevitable that engineers take charge. I can point to the decline of several large corporations when the engineers who founded the company were replaced by bureaucrats and bean-counters.
But these are mainly personal observations about a fine book which I have recommended to several friends and my family. The book is well written and carefully researched as attested by the long list of notes and the bibliography.
The book is a little hard to read at first because of the vast cast of characters, but it's well worth persevering. It is a brilliant account of character, politics and ability, breaking stereotypes as it goes. If you are interested in men in space, in the history of science, in black women's lives, in women in science or just in finding how much of the film was factual ( almost all of it, but not in quite the same way it happened; they moved parts around to create a filmable story) Read This Book. I learned a great from it and it is life enhancing to see how strong the characters of black women can be. I feel chastened, and am clearly undereducated in life, in ways these women were not.
It's infuriating that so many of these women were lost or forgotten a bit in history due to the true nature of many women which is to put your head down, and just work your best while forgetting to speak up and speak out about your true talents and progress. And also the assumption of men that the women shouldn't have gotten any credit for all the amazing projects they helped build with their amazing minds.
I would have liked more focus on the Mercury and Apollo era as I felt by the time we got to this point in history, the actual space exploration was a bit skipped over and didn't seem to get as much emphasis as the build up to NASA in the 40s and 50s.
I'm also not someone blessed with a mathematical brain, at all, so there were some science-y bits in this book that I definitely did not understand at all.