Try free for 30 days

  • Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race

  • The Untold Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
  • By: Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (93 ratings)

Listen with a free trial

1 credit a month to use on any title, yours to keep (you’ll use your first credit on this title).
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
Access to exclusive deals and discounts.
$16.45 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy Now for $20.28

Buy Now for $20.28

Pay using coupon balance (if available) then card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions Of Use and Privacy Notice and authorise Audible to charge your designated credit card or another available credit card on file.

Publisher's Summary

One of AudioFile Magazine's Best Audiobooks of 2016.

Soon to be a major motion picture.

Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as 'Human Computers', calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts, these 'colored computers' used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Moving from World War II through NASA's golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women's rights movement, 'Hidden Figures' interweaves a rich history of mankind's greatest adventure with the intimate stories of five courageous women whose work forever changed the world.

©2016 Margot Lee Shetterly (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    54
  • 4 Stars
    23
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    53
  • 4 Stars
    25
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    53
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Amazing narration but weak story

What i liked - average story narrated amazingly.

What i disliked - the story is about what happened to the african-american women who helped NASA win the space race and not on how they helped win the race. If you want to read about the how each one of the characters evolved on a personal front rather than what challenges they faced and how they resolved it, then read along.

Average story but Robin did a great job narrating it. Will definitely go down as one of the best narration i have heard on audible.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fanstastic story, well presented

This story is one of the best I've listened to and it gave me tremendous insight into America's odd racist history, and the huge achievements of the ladies who helped make NASA what it is today. Well read, and a pleasure to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good account of real people in real offence, but…

A fascinating account that shine some well earned recognition onto the women who did so much for the American space industry. Are really important story. But for me, I would've liked a bit more in-depth exploration of the people to build a better narrative. I found it just a little bit dry. Still, worth a read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Ms
  • 20-07-2017

I couldn't finish it

After the hype of the movie I bought this book but was so bored by the story I couldn't finish it. I kept thinking it would get better but it didn't. Shame as the events are so interesting and generally unknown but the book just didn't capture that for me at all.

Stick to the movie unless you have intimate knowledge of the people and the places the book covers.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

what a delight

one of my new favourite books. so interesting hearing the women grow with the science and visa versa.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Detailed and compelling narrative

Excellent narration and compelling story. Strong message with mountains of evidence of the waste of human intelligence and effort caused by racism.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A great story of great women

A fascinating piece of history that needed to be told and was told extremely well.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

loved it

I loved it the story of what they had to contend against and how far they went was just amazing.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

great piece of history

great story. insight into the whole organisations of scientific usa . the struggle of black Americans without pokitical lessons

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantabulous!

Very informative history lesson from a perspective not heard in the past as much. I am so thrilled that all these not just women but African-American women and men were recognised for their achievements and that this ripple effect changed the course of history from banning segregation all the way to having an African-American president. May equality for all earthlings keep on going until achieved!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for 匿名
  • 匿名
  • 20-06-2017

Women and science

A wonderful account of the role of women in the development of space technology. It describes the path to equal opportunity in the United States.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kate
  • Kate
  • 14-02-2017

Excellent

This was an excellent book, so much more information than the film, yet enhancing the film. The film conflates some things as it has too but certainly captured and brought to life in a very relatable way this incredible history of these amazing black women. Well worth every penny.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for manasi
  • manasi
  • 25-04-2017

Exceptional story!

Hidden figures is a great story which has been very well written and narrated. Must read for every one to know perseverance can move mountains even in the most difficult and challenging times ! Motivating !!!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Steph Adams
  • Steph Adams
  • 05-01-2017

How did I not know about these women?

This book details the struggles and determination of a group of black women to be recognised for their worth. Brilliant mathematicians, they were housed in their own department and endured humiliating segregation socially despite working alongside white male colleagues.

What's really interesting about this book is that it examines the impact of the women becoming successful- good and bad.

The narrative is provided warmly but the underlying steel of the book shines through the narration and it beautifully brings the story to life.
Highly recommended

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for RocketeerX5
  • RocketeerX5
  • 24-01-2018

A book of biographies?

I found this audio book to be a laudible, well-researched series of biographies of mid-century African-American women and American civil history.

Unfortunately I am a literary dullard with a short span of attention. I was simply hoping for a cracking good listen about African American women and their involvement in the Space-race.
After 2 hours listening to the biographies, delivered by Robin Miles in a low-key narration style, sadly I gave up.
I really wanted to enjoy this audiobook, but lost enthusiasm to invest more time trying.

Sorry Ms Miles.

Lovers of biographies will enjoy and be fully engaged by this book.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sue
  • Sue
  • 27-10-2017

So much more than the film

I'm so glad that I watched the film first, otherwise it would have been a total disappointment. The book is extensive, and the story of the film seems quite different to the truth. The bare bones are the same: a trio of remarkable women broke boundaries in both gender and race to be part of one of the most historic events in US and even world history - the space race.

Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as ‘Human Computers’, calculating the flight paths by hand that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Forget Silicon Valley's misogynistic climate - women were the original engineers and mathematicians.

The book is awash with interesting stories of extraordinary people working in a time of segregation and all pervasive racism. It has multiple layers that delve into each character, and gives a comprehensive context into these women's lives. It basically fills in the gaps of the film, but also changes the timeline considerably as Katherine Johnson was much younger than her colleague Dorothy Vaughan. Nevertheles, an extraordinary read and a great tribute to these invisible women.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for M G Henault
  • M G Henault
  • 30-11-2018

very slow plot. more history then adventure.

struggled to finish. lots of names. factual. not engaging. there was so much potential, and I was expecting a lot.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jessica Smith
  • Jessica Smith
  • 15-05-2018

Never seemed to get started

Struggled to finish this. I loved the film and this really dissapointed me. It just didn't seem to get started and I had listened to 2 hours.
The reader was clear but I didn't find it engaging. It might be the book or the reader. I am not sure.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Stitching parent
  • Stitching parent
  • 29-02-2020

A wonderful example to the young women of this world

I absolutely adore this book , it is a wonderful example to all the women of the world that no matter what your skin colour, family background or age you can achieve whatever you want in this world if you just work hard enough and believe. Us girls are amazing !

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Deanna
  • Deanna
  • 06-08-2019

Great story, badly written

A great story about some amazing women which is incredibly dully told. The writer rarely brings these women's stories to life. The narrator was very poor too.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dr Caterpillar
  • Dr Caterpillar
  • 14-10-2017

Unfocused

This is a thoroughly researched book that tells an important story. For that reason I wish I could recommend it more.
If you've seen the film you'll know what it's about: the significant role black women played in the space programme despite the prejudice against both their skin colour and their gender. Prior to the publication of this book, and the release of the film, their contribution was largely forgotten or unknown, even by people like myself who are interested in space travel.
So what's wrong with the book?
To my mind, it's the structure that lets it down. We're just told facts, dry facts and lots of 'em. And so many names! The film focuses on three key women, but in the book the names of the main characters are lost among the minor players. There's some moving about in time too, so that it's quite hard to follow, especially as an audio book. It's not helped by the narrator's monotone, which makes the story fall quite flat at times.
If I'd been editor I'd have given chapter titles that clue us in to the purpose of the chapter. Let us know whether a chapter is focused on Katherine Johnson, or Mary Jackson, or relevant historical events, or technological developments at the time, or whatever. This could make the book much more accessible without having to dumb it down.
Don't get me wrong, it's not all dull and worthy. There are breathtaking moments, such as the appearance of Sputnik, John Glenn's precarious landing and so on. Also, the author is not in any way trying to make readers/listeners feel guilty for being white and/or male, and in fact there are heart-warming moments when friendships form that look beyond colour or gender.
At the end of the day, getting through this book is more of an effort than it should be, but is nevertheless worth the effort.
I will probably listen to the book again, or perhaps read a print version. I'll also watch the film again, even though I now know it takes a few liberties with history.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for clothbummum
  • clothbummum
  • 19-03-2017

Dry

This is really dry. Not so much a story as a historical recount. Shame. And the lady reading the Audible version sounds a bit robotic.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for 匿名
  • 匿名
  • 23-08-2020

Black Women Rock

This is an amazing account of how a group of African Americans took charge of some of the key parts of NASA's space program. It demonstrates that without these unsung heroes, the sung heroes would have got nowhere or if they had got anywhere have ended in early graves. While the film shows the battle to be accepted as engineers, this gives the battle to be accepted as humans indeed as the exceptionally brilliant and talented humans they were. Just one tiny step in the seemingly endless march towards the status that is owed the African American.

1 person found this helpful

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.