10 books like Hidden Figures

By Margot Lee Shetterly,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Hidden Figures. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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A Woman of No Importance

By Sonia Purnell,

Book cover of A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

When I read this book, I couldn’t believe that I and most other people knew nothing about the one-legged American the Nazis called the most dangerous of all Allied spies. This biography is as exhilarating as any good thriller. Throughout Virginia Hall’s sensational career, she dealt not only with the enemy but with needless obstacles posed by men who were her colleagues. With only brief training in spy craft and short-lived college education, the 35-year-old Hall masterminded prison breaks for Allied agents, organized French resistance to that country’s German occupiers, and re-established a broken chain of radio operatives throughout the region. As the Nazis closed in on her in winter 1942, she limped to freedom on her wooden leg across “one of the cruelest mountain passes in the Pyrenees.” Within two years she was back in Nazi-occupied France to risk her life again supplying money, weapons, and organization to French…

A Woman of No Importance

By Sonia Purnell,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked A Woman of No Importance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by NPR, the New York Public Library, Amazon, the Seattle Times, the Washington Independent Review of Books, PopSugar, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, BookBrowse, the Spectator, and the Times of London

Winner of the Plutarch Award for Best Biography

"Excellent...This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down." -- The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people -- and a little resistance." - NPR

"A…

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

By Rebecca Skloot,

Book cover of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

There is a wonderful world of science writing out there, and this book is a great entry into that world. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is part science journalism, science history, and biography. Skloot introduced the world to Henrietta Lacks, a previously unknown woman whose cells have been responsible for some of the leading research and advances in medicine. In introducing the story of Lacks, Skloot, with obvious affection for both Lacks and her descendants, poses a number of important questions regarding race, ethics, and medical research.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

By Rebecca Skloot,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an introduction by author of The Tidal Zone, Sarah Moss

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. Born a poor black tobacco farmer, her cancer cells - taken without her knowledge - became a multimillion-dollar industry and one of the most important tools in medicine. Yet Henrietta's family did not learn of her 'immortality' until more than twenty years after her death, with devastating consequences . . .

Rebecca Skloot's fascinating account is the story of the life, and afterlife, of one woman who changed the medical world for ever. Balancing the beauty and drama…


The Girls of Atomic City

By Denise Kiernan,

Book cover of The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

A New York Times bestseller, this incredible true story tells about the top-secret World War II town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the young women brought there unknowingly to help build the atomic bomb. While in college in Eastern Kentucky, I was well-acquainted with a man who had worked at Oak Ridge, so I was especially interested in Kiernan’s story. I became aware of this book while writing my novel.

The Girls of Atomic City

By Denise Kiernan,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Girls of Atomic City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller, now available in paperback—an incredible true story of the top-secret World War II town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the young women brought there unknowingly to help build the atomic bomb.

“The best kind of nonfiction: marvelously reported, fluidly written, and a remarkable story...As meticulous and brilliant as it is compulsively readable.” —Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City

At the height of World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, and consumed more electricity than New York City, yet it was shrouded in such secrecy that it did not…

Code Girls

By Liza Mundy,

Book cover of Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II

Mundy’s unputdownable book tells the story of the women behind some of the most significant code-breaking triumphs of the war. The work of women like Elizabeth Friedman – who got her start unpicking the codes of Prohibition-era liquor smugglers – was one of the war’s best-kept secrets.

Code Girls

By Liza Mundy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Code Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An expert on East European politics and economics analyzes and evaluates Western policies toward the new East European democracies as they struggle to build stable political orders and functioning market economies. He argues that the West must give higher priority to assisting the region and reorient its strategies so as to emphasize the political and administrative dimensions of economic reconstruction. He reviews the economic legacy of past Western policies and of Eastern Europe's previous dependency on the Soviet Union, and then examines in detail the changing East-West trade patterns, the prospect for Western investment and technology transfer, the questions of…


The Doctors Blackwell

By Janice P. Nimura,

Book cover of The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine

Janice P. Nimura digs deep into the diaries and letters of the Blackwell sisters, who were among the very first women in America to be trained as doctors. The book reads like a novel without sacrificing historical accuracy and scholarly rigor. I found myself deeply moved by the sisters’ struggles to be taken seriously as physicians in an entirely male world. Jeered in lecture halls and treated as curiosities off-campus, they maintained a dignified courage and a relentless work ethic. Eventually, they shamed their skeptics and opened the doors for future generations of women doctors. This is a compelling tale told well.

The Doctors Blackwell

By Janice P. Nimura,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Doctors Blackwell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elizabeth Blackwell believed from an early age that she was destined for a mission beyond the scope of "ordinary" womanhood. Though the world at first recoiled at the notion of a woman studying medicine, her intelligence and intensity ultimately won her the acceptance of the male medical establishment. In 1849, she became the first woman in America to receive an M.D. She was soon joined in her iconic achievement by her younger sister, Emily, who was actually the more brilliant physician.

Exploring the sisters' allies, enemies, and enduring partnership, Janice P. Nimura presents a story of trial and triumph. Together,…


The Devil in the White City

By Erik Larson,

Book cover of The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

Larson takes us through two storylines. The first was of the 1893 World's Fair, explaining the politics, planning, personalities, and dynamics that made it so. The second story that parallels happened only blocks away is the story of one of the most notorious serial murderers, H.H. Holmes. This book teaches us about the time's atmosphere, mores, and norms. The wonder of the new technological era increased immigration and a mixture of all types of people in this new city. On the one hand, inspired things occurred, and concurrently, some of the most disturbing planning for homicides could only have happened at that place and time.

The Devil in the White City

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Devil in the White City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Chicago World Fair was the greatest fair in American history. This is the story of the men and women whose lives it irrevocably changed and of two men in particular- an architect and a serial killer. The architect is Daniel Burnham, a man of great integrity and depth. It was his vision of the fair that attracted the best minds and talents of the day. The killer is Henry H. Holmes. Intelligent as well as handsome and charming, Holmes opened a boarding house which he advertised as 'The World's Fair Hotel' Here in the neighbourhood where he was once…

The Hidden Life of Trees

By Peter Wohlleben, Jane Billinghurst,

Book cover of The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate –Discoveries from a Secret World

Forester and journalist Wohlleban weaves together an account, not unlike that of Suzanne Simard, power-packed into a gift-sized little book that reveals the remarkable interdependencies and biological communications between trees, and also beyond them and reaching to interdependent fungi and other microbes on which forest health depends. For me, new insights leaped off of every page as I breezed through this wonderful story of trees and forests in our time. 

The Hidden Life of Trees

By Peter Wohlleben, Jane Billinghurst,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Hidden Life of Trees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A paradigm-smashing chronicle of joyous entanglement that will make you acknowledge your own entanglement in the ancient and ever-new web of being."--Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast Are trees social beings? In this international bestseller, forester and author Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben…

Little Women

By Louisa May Alcott,

Book cover of Little Women

Little Women published in 1868 two years before Charles Dickens died was the first novel I read where one of the characters was a writer. Alcott makes Jo March brash and opinionated which is not the usual way writers are portrayed. But Alcott also makes her freedom-loving and this endears the reader to her though sometimes her behavior and the reasons for what she does can baffle. The cool thing about Little Women is that it shows how a writer stands out and how they can change the world around them. Jo March becomes famous and successful and just again in 2019 a movie was made of Little Women to prove its enduring attraction and relevance. 

Little Women

By Louisa May Alcott,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Little Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Louisa May Alcott shares the innocence of girlhood in this classic coming of age story about four sisters-Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.

In picturesque nineteenth-century New England, tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth, and romantic Amy are responsible for keeping a home while their father is off to war. At the same time, they must come to terms with their individual personalities-and make the transition from girlhood to womanhood. It can all be quite a challenge. But the March sisters, however different, are nurtured by their wise and beloved Marmee, bound by their love for each other and the feminine…

The Boys in the Boat

By Daniel James Brown,

Book cover of The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

It’s been years since I read this book, but I remember vividly the thrill of this unlikely crew of kids from working-class families in Washington state shocking Hitler by beating his rowing team on his home turf at the Olympics, an extravaganza designed to display German superiority. Add to that, the nine-man crew’s earlier upset victories against the American Ivy League teams that dominated one of the most popular American sports in the days before television, and you’ve got the makings of a wonderful underdog-come-from-behind story. Which it is, in the hands of this author, and is why I’m recommending two books by him. Brown builds drama by explaining who these kids were, the daunting personal challenges some of them faced, and how, in the hands of the right coaches and a talented boat-builder, these “nobodies” became world champions.

The Boys in the Boat

By Daniel James Brown,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Boys in the Boat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times-bestselling story about the American Olympic rowing triumph in Nazi Germany-from the author of Facing the Mountain.

Soon to be a major motion picture directed by George Clooney

For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times-the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the…

A Man on the Moon

By Andrew Chaikin,

Book cover of A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts

A Man on the Moon is the best history of the Apollo program that I have ever read. Chaikin writes with the authority of an historian and the heart of a poet. The missions and the astronauts are brought vividly to life, and their adventures are recounted in loving detail. Several times over the course of my undergraduate engineering studies when things got tough, I would take A Man on the Moon out of the engineering library and it would never fail to inspire me. The book formed the basis for the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon and also inspired elements of two stories in my short fiction collection, “From a Stone” and the title story “Just Like Being There”.

A Man on the Moon

By Andrew Chaikin,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Man on the Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'IMPRESSIVE AND ILLUMINATING' TOM HANKS

This is the definitive account of the heroic Apollo programme.

When astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their 'giant leap for mankind' across a ghostly lunar landscape, they were watched by some 600 million people on Earth 240,000 miles away.

Drawing on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with the astronauts and mission personnel, this is the story of the twentieth century's greatest human achievement, minute-by-minute, through the eyes of those who were there.

From the tragedy of the fire in Apollo 1 during a simulated launch, Apollo 8's bold pioneering flight around the…


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