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My Remarkable Journey: A Memoir

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The remarkable woman at heart of the smash New York Times bestseller and Oscar-winning film Hidden Figures tells the full story of her life, including what it took to work at NASA, help land the first man on the moon, and live through a century of turmoil and change. In 2015, at the age of 97, Katherine Johnson became a global celebrity. President Barack Obama awarded her t The remarkable woman at heart of the smash New York Times bestseller and Oscar-winning film Hidden Figures tells the full story of her life, including what it took to work at NASA, help land the first man on the moon, and live through a century of turmoil and change. In 2015, at the age of 97, Katherine Johnson became a global celebrity. President Barack Obama awarded her the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom—the nation’s highest civilian honor—for her pioneering work as a mathematician on NASA’s first flights into space. Her contributions to America’s space program were celebrated in a blockbuster and Academy-award nominated movie. In this memoir, Katherine shares her personal journey from child prodigy in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia to NASA human computer. In her life after retirement, she served  as a beacon of light for her family and community alike.  Her story is centered around the basic tenets of her life—no one is better than you, education is paramount, and asking questions can break barriers. The memoir captures the many facets of this unique woman: the curious “daddy’s girl,” pioneering professional, and sage elder.  This multidimensional portrait is also the record of a century of racial history that reveals the influential role educators at segregated schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities played in nurturing the dreams of trailblazers like Katherine. The author pays homage to her mentor—the African American professor who inspired her to become a research mathematician despite having his own dream crushed by racism.  Infused with the uplifting wisdom of a woman who handled great fame with genuine humility and great tragedy with enduring hope, My Remarkable Journey ultimately brings into focus a determined woman who navigated tough racial terrain with soft-spoken grace—and the unrelenting grit required to make history and inspire future generations. 


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The remarkable woman at heart of the smash New York Times bestseller and Oscar-winning film Hidden Figures tells the full story of her life, including what it took to work at NASA, help land the first man on the moon, and live through a century of turmoil and change. In 2015, at the age of 97, Katherine Johnson became a global celebrity. President Barack Obama awarded her t The remarkable woman at heart of the smash New York Times bestseller and Oscar-winning film Hidden Figures tells the full story of her life, including what it took to work at NASA, help land the first man on the moon, and live through a century of turmoil and change. In 2015, at the age of 97, Katherine Johnson became a global celebrity. President Barack Obama awarded her the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom—the nation’s highest civilian honor—for her pioneering work as a mathematician on NASA’s first flights into space. Her contributions to America’s space program were celebrated in a blockbuster and Academy-award nominated movie. In this memoir, Katherine shares her personal journey from child prodigy in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia to NASA human computer. In her life after retirement, she served  as a beacon of light for her family and community alike.  Her story is centered around the basic tenets of her life—no one is better than you, education is paramount, and asking questions can break barriers. The memoir captures the many facets of this unique woman: the curious “daddy’s girl,” pioneering professional, and sage elder.  This multidimensional portrait is also the record of a century of racial history that reveals the influential role educators at segregated schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities played in nurturing the dreams of trailblazers like Katherine. The author pays homage to her mentor—the African American professor who inspired her to become a research mathematician despite having his own dream crushed by racism.  Infused with the uplifting wisdom of a woman who handled great fame with genuine humility and great tragedy with enduring hope, My Remarkable Journey ultimately brings into focus a determined woman who navigated tough racial terrain with soft-spoken grace—and the unrelenting grit required to make history and inspire future generations. 

30 review for My Remarkable Journey: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Raymond

    My Remarkable Journey is the posthumous memoir of Katherine Johnson the NASA mathematician who Taraji Henson portrayed a few years ago in the film Hidden Figures. In her memoir, Katherine writes about her life beginning with her upbringing in West Virginia to her behind the scenes career as a NASA computer. She writes about the film early on in the book and reveals some of its inaccuracies. Johnson was very humble in her memoir, she never took sole credit for NASA’s space successes, and she alwa My Remarkable Journey is the posthumous memoir of Katherine Johnson the NASA mathematician who Taraji Henson portrayed a few years ago in the film Hidden Figures. In her memoir, Katherine writes about her life beginning with her upbringing in West Virginia to her behind the scenes career as a NASA computer. She writes about the film early on in the book and reveals some of its inaccuracies. Johnson was very humble in her memoir, she never took sole credit for NASA’s space successes, and she always recognized her team members throughout the book. She recognized folks like her fellow Hidden Figure colleagues/sisters Dorothy Vaughan, Eunice Smith, and Mary Jackson and also her close work partner Ted Skopinski. Johnson begins her memoir describing her early childhood days living in West Virginia with her family. She got her love of math from her father. Her father’s mathematical skills were so good that he could look at a tree and estimate how many logs he could make from it. Katherine started school at the age of 4, skipped a few grades and began going to college at the age of 15. It was there where a professor encouraged her to become a research mathematician. The book also covers her marriage to her first husband Jimmie Goble and her life as a working mother of three daughters, two of which coauthored this book with her. She later married James Johnson. 1953 was a big year, when her family moved to Newport News, VA in order to start her job at NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) which later becomes NASA. Johnson worked as a computer, doing mathematical calculations for the engineers and scientists. One of the good things about this book is that Johnson does a great job explaining her work without using very technical language. The rest of the book covers her tenure at NASA all the way to her retirement in 1986. The final chapter gives a glimpse of her post-retirement life where she connected with Black astronauts and spoke to young people about her job. Overall, it was a good book. I learned a lot more about Johnson than what I remember from the Hidden Figures film. I would love to know how this book came together, when was it written, how involved were Johnson and her daughters in the writing of it, how long did it take to write, and how much was complete when Katherine passed away in 2020. Thanks to NetGalley, Amistad, Katherine Johnson, Joylette Hylick and Katherine Moore, for a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. This book will be released on May 25, 2021.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    Katherine Johnson, who recently passed on at age 101. has written an amazing memoir with the help of her daughters. She worked for NASA as a mathematician for over 30 years, and is a central character in the film Hidden Figures. This memoir not only discusses her contribution to the space program, but also offers her insights on what was happening in the United States, and especially in the South where she grew up. Her parents raised her to be positive, she says, and that comes across clearly in Katherine Johnson, who recently passed on at age 101. has written an amazing memoir with the help of her daughters. She worked for NASA as a mathematician for over 30 years, and is a central character in the film Hidden Figures. This memoir not only discusses her contribution to the space program, but also offers her insights on what was happening in the United States, and especially in the South where she grew up. Her parents raised her to be positive, she says, and that comes across clearly in the narrative. She is so humble about her accomplishments, and discusses how racial unrest, discrimination, and other disturbing situations affected her, but she never presents herself as a victim. Recommended for anyone who is interested in the space program, American history, or who just wants to read an uplifting memoir by a strong woman. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the privilege of reviewing this ARC.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Katherine Johnson is one of the women of color who provided the calculations that enabled the astronauts to make it to the moon. Her work went largely unnoticed and unrecognized until the last few decades when she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Hidden Figures book and subsequent movie came out. In this book, she tells her story in her own words, and it is quite an amazing story. Even though her time at NASA is extraordinary and boundary breaking in many ways, I was most fa Katherine Johnson is one of the women of color who provided the calculations that enabled the astronauts to make it to the moon. Her work went largely unnoticed and unrecognized until the last few decades when she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Hidden Figures book and subsequent movie came out. In this book, she tells her story in her own words, and it is quite an amazing story. Even though her time at NASA is extraordinary and boundary breaking in many ways, I was most fascinated by reading about her education and the people who poured into her. She goes into detail about her many teachers who saw her potential and pushed her to learn and achieve as much as she could. She talks specifically about one teacher whose own dream to be a research mathematician inspired her dream, and while he would never achieve that dream due to racism, he created groundbreaking classes that would be exactly what Johnson would need to work on the projects at NASA. I was also inspired by the one teacher who mentored Johnson and would ask her each day, "what do you know today that you didn't know yesterday?" All in all, this was an absolute treat to read. It was hard to put down, and I loved every second of reading it. Yesterday, I knew very little about Katherine Johnson, but today I know how her drive for knowledge allowed her to help a country reach the moon. She is certainly an inspiration! A big thank you to Katherine Johnson, Joylette Hylick, Katherine Moore, Amistad, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    My Remarkable Journey: A Memoir by Katherine Johnson with Joylette Hylick and Katherine G. Moore is a wonderful and stunning memoir about a woman that I have admired and looked up to for many years. I have known quite a bit about Ms. Johnson for a while now. I have been fascinated about her involvement with NASA, and as a fellow female WV native that majored in the sciences (ok so my degrees are in Biology, not Physics or Mathematics, but by golly I love Physics and Chemistry) myself, I almost fe My Remarkable Journey: A Memoir by Katherine Johnson with Joylette Hylick and Katherine G. Moore is a wonderful and stunning memoir about a woman that I have admired and looked up to for many years. I have known quite a bit about Ms. Johnson for a while now. I have been fascinated about her involvement with NASA, and as a fellow female WV native that majored in the sciences (ok so my degrees are in Biology, not Physics or Mathematics, but by golly I love Physics and Chemistry) myself, I almost felt a kindred spirit and role model in Ms. Johnson. I truly enjoyed by journey with Ms. Johnson learning even more about her eventful and pivotal life then I ever knew before. Not only did I feel like I was along side her as she pushed through boundaries and ceilings, but also as she navigated the waters of society in regards to civil rights, segregation, being a woman in a "man's field" and solidifying her rightful position. I loved reading about her youth, and also some of the more personal aspects and relationships. This book has made me admire and respect Ms. Johnson even more then I ever thought possible and is truly a must-read for everyone. It should honestly be added to the portfolio of books suggested to high school/college age youth. A fresh perspective on life and what one can achieve with perseverance, strength, determination, and a honest and grateful soul is just some of what can be learned. A stunning and memorable read. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and Amistad for this arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR, Bookbub, and Instagram accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 5/25/21

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    A remarkable mathematician's memoir. More than readable. The big jumps between parts from Johnson herself and parts written by her coauthors were distracting. Also, the memoir is clearly aimed at a younger audience, and there are frequent Wikipedia-style insertions about the most basic US history. I wanted to hear more about the math! > Joylette got more good news—she had landed the job at NASA. She joined me at Langley just four days after her secret wedding. My oldest daughter was now a mathem A remarkable mathematician's memoir. More than readable. The big jumps between parts from Johnson herself and parts written by her coauthors were distracting. Also, the memoir is clearly aimed at a younger audience, and there are frequent Wikipedia-style insertions about the most basic US history. I wanted to hear more about the math! > Joylette got more good news—she had landed the job at NASA. She joined me at Langley just four days after her secret wedding. My oldest daughter was now a mathematician, like me. She worked at NASA, like me > I worked closely at Langley with engineer Al Hamer on trajectory calculations for the trip to the moon and contingency plans in case of disaster, including how to navigate the spacecraft back home using the stars as a guide if there were an electrical failure. Al and I examined these and other technical topics in four papers that we would publish together between 1963 and 1969. > The two of us even wrote a research paper, doing some preliminary work for an Earth-to-Mars trajectory. The paper, titled “Simplified Interplanetary Guidance Procedures Using Onboard Optical Measurements,” was published in May 1972.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Even though this book is primarily about Katherine Johnson’s life and contributions as a female black mathematician to NASA and the Apollo space missions, it is also a wonderful window into society during WWII, the civil rights movement during the 60s and 70s, school segregation, and much more. This is quite an enjoyable and informative read. Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the ARC to read and review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary Keen

    A trip not only thru her amazing life, but thru many events of the century. She's not just a wonderfully talented and brilliant woman, wife, and mother, but her philosophy and personality allowed her to ignore and overcome many instances of prejudice. She's not exactly humble, but accomplished so much, it would be hard to be. An interesting aside is how the movie deviated from the truth in parts, such as her having to travel to another building to use the "Blacks only" restroom. She pretty much d A trip not only thru her amazing life, but thru many events of the century. She's not just a wonderfully talented and brilliant woman, wife, and mother, but her philosophy and personality allowed her to ignore and overcome many instances of prejudice. She's not exactly humble, but accomplished so much, it would be hard to be. An interesting aside is how the movie deviated from the truth in parts, such as her having to travel to another building to use the "Blacks only" restroom. She pretty much did what she wanted! note: I just read that she passed away last year at age 101. Overdrive @ 1.25 and normal speed

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Boisseau

    A wonderful story about a truly remarkable woman who not only made incredible advancements to this country's scientific endeavors, but also experienced all the trials and turmoil of WWII, the civil rights movements, the Vietnam War, the Women's Rights movement, the 1960s and on and on. A true inspiration. Easy to read, hard to forget. A wonderful story about a truly remarkable woman who not only made incredible advancements to this country's scientific endeavors, but also experienced all the trials and turmoil of WWII, the civil rights movements, the Vietnam War, the Women's Rights movement, the 1960s and on and on. A true inspiration. Easy to read, hard to forget.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

    I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Johnson's story from early life through NASA days. Beyond that it was of little interest to me. Her story is one we can celebrate...she worked hard despite barriers without ever relying on others to give her a handout. I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Johnson's story from early life through NASA days. Beyond that it was of little interest to me. Her story is one we can celebrate...she worked hard despite barriers without ever relying on others to give her a handout.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    My Remarkable Journey: A Memoir by Katherine Johnson with Joylette Hylick and Katherine G. Moore is a wonderful and stunning memoir about a woman that I have admired and looked up to for many years. I have known quite a bit about Ms. Johnson for a while now. I have been fascinated about her involvement with NASA, and as a fellow female WV native that majored in the sciences (ok so my degrees are in Biology, not Physics or Mathematics, but by golly I love Physics and Chemistry) myself, I almost fe My Remarkable Journey: A Memoir by Katherine Johnson with Joylette Hylick and Katherine G. Moore is a wonderful and stunning memoir about a woman that I have admired and looked up to for many years. I have known quite a bit about Ms. Johnson for a while now. I have been fascinated about her involvement with NASA, and as a fellow female WV native that majored in the sciences (ok so my degrees are in Biology, not Physics or Mathematics, but by golly I love Physics and Chemistry) myself, I almost felt a kindred spirit and role model in Ms. Johnson. I truly enjoyed by journey with Ms. Johnson learning even more about her eventful and pivotal life then I ever knew before. Not only did I feel like I was along side her as she pushed through boundaries and ceilings, but also as she navigated the waters of society in regards to civil rights, segregation, being a woman in a "man's field" and solidifying her rightful position. I loved reading about her youth, and also some of the more personal aspects and relationships. This book has made me admire and respect Ms. Johnson even more then I ever thought possible and is truly a must-read for everyone. It should honestly be added to the portfolio of books suggested to high school/college age youth. A fresh perspective on life and what one can achieve with perseverance, strength, determination, and a honest and grateful soul is just some of what can be learned. A stunning and memorable read. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and Amistad for this arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR, Bookbub, and Instagram accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 5/25/21

  11. 4 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    Katherine Johnson's addiction is MATH, and we are a better world for it! She has loved math since it first sunk its metaphorical claws into her little baby heart. From there her dreams sprang - and they supported her through times when it seemed sure those dreams were coming true, to the times it was obvious they never would. Many missed her gift when they looked at her beautiful face, and read her address. Starting out she had to take what came her way, such as the time her only eligibility was Katherine Johnson's addiction is MATH, and we are a better world for it! She has loved math since it first sunk its metaphorical claws into her little baby heart. From there her dreams sprang - and they supported her through times when it seemed sure those dreams were coming true, to the times it was obvious they never would. Many missed her gift when they looked at her beautiful face, and read her address. Starting out she had to take what came her way, such as the time her only eligibility was deemed a teaching job playing the piano, with not a math book in sight (maybe there was on her nightstand). Yet her brilliance was unrelenting. Undeniable. Her Wonder Brain was known and word got around. My Remarkable Journey: A Memoir was an intriguing read - Katherine Johnson shows how our own history has been written by whoever holds the pencils and pens, and as people we read the media our own tribes put out. . .we need to keep striving to become that One Tribe! As a woman coming up in her life she paid attention to Ebony, and all of the news it brought to her home. She went through the moments she remembered and were impactful to her. They were all moments not in the media of the majority. I appreciated her list, having grown up during part of that time. It gave me the opportunity to see all the things I didn't hear about until well after they happened. Not only is this the story of her life, it is a record of America's efforts to shoot for the stars and the governmental organizations that have come and gone to support that dream. The author celebrates the successes, while making sure to document the fails in who did the work, while others got the memorial. This is a book not just about a remarkable journey. It is a book about a remarkable woman. I hear her message that many of us missed a lot in the past, and she has a whole book about the things she wants to make sure we "get" before she's gone. Katherine is a hero. One of many, and it is time we start handing out awards, better late than never. Thank you, Katherine Johnson (and daughters), for all you've done for us, and taking the time to share your Journey with us! A sincere thank you to Katherine Johnson, Joylette Hylick; Katherine Moore, Amistad, and NetGalley for providing an ARC to read and review. #MyRemarkableJourney #NetGalley

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    What an amazing woman! Not only did she have being a woman against her; she was also an African American woman. This goes to show without people of many colors, regardless of sex or beliefs and their intelligence and individuality; we as a nation and as a world would not be where it is today without encompassing human race as a whole. Imagine if we didn’t move forward in civil rights and equality? How many advancements we would not have today or in the future. Maybe even possible cures in the he What an amazing woman! Not only did she have being a woman against her; she was also an African American woman. This goes to show without people of many colors, regardless of sex or beliefs and their intelligence and individuality; we as a nation and as a world would not be where it is today without encompassing human race as a whole. Imagine if we didn’t move forward in civil rights and equality? How many advancements we would not have today or in the future. Maybe even possible cures in the health field. Katherine Johnson is such an inspiration and her story is one not to be missed.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Walt Crawford

    This book is a wonderful memoir of a--well, remarkable seems right--life. Ms. Johnson was one of the "Hidden Figures" (if you haven't seen the movie, you should)--the Black female computers who calculated trajectories and otherwise did lots of mathematics research for NASA and other agencies, rarely getting much credit. It's pretty clear that Ms. Johnson would have been more celebrated and achieved even more if she had not faced both racial and gender issues, given her obvious and early intellige This book is a wonderful memoir of a--well, remarkable seems right--life. Ms. Johnson was one of the "Hidden Figures" (if you haven't seen the movie, you should)--the Black female computers who calculated trajectories and otherwise did lots of mathematics research for NASA and other agencies, rarely getting much credit. It's pretty clear that Ms. Johnson would have been more celebrated and achieved even more if she had not faced both racial and gender issues, given her obvious and early intelligence and spirit of inquiry. Despite hurdles, she managed to handle just over a century of achievement and apparently being a good person, teacher, parent and mentor as well. I read the Kindle edition--my wife purchased it and recommended it highly. Now I'm recommending it highly.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Mccormick

    This book was a bit of a revelation to me because I never thought about highly educated Negro people who lived in the US in the early part of the 20th century. I bought the stereotype all the way, but I wasn't exposed to anything other than the story of the downtrodden blacks of the USA. This book changes all of that. I did really enjoy it but was not familiar with some of the important people who were of such influence in the author's life. It is a remarkable journey and I'm glad that I read it This book was a bit of a revelation to me because I never thought about highly educated Negro people who lived in the US in the early part of the 20th century. I bought the stereotype all the way, but I wasn't exposed to anything other than the story of the downtrodden blacks of the USA. This book changes all of that. I did really enjoy it but was not familiar with some of the important people who were of such influence in the author's life. It is a remarkable journey and I'm glad that I read it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christine Barth

    I think this is a very accessible biography for lots of readers, especially those who liked Hidden Figures. Something I found particularly inspirational was that even though her dream of being a research mathematician didn't happen the first time she tried, she just kept improving herself and learning so she was ready when the next opportunity came. I think this is a very accessible biography for lots of readers, especially those who liked Hidden Figures. Something I found particularly inspirational was that even though her dream of being a research mathematician didn't happen the first time she tried, she just kept improving herself and learning so she was ready when the next opportunity came.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Medina

    As remarkable as she is, I’m guessing her humbleness kept her from making this really about her life. There are only a few pieces where you get to know how she felt or anything personal. It’s mostly a history book of world events.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aeriel

    A truly inspiring book by a remarkable woman. Katherine Johnson wrote her journey starting from a very young age until her adulthood. She covers every experience and how she has handled them all. This book is not only about her as she also narrates about her family, friends and, neighborhood through the years. The movie, Hidden Figures is a fragment of her wonderful journey to brilliance.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    A fascinating look at the life of a brilliant woman undervalued on her race.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bailey

    I loved this book even more than I expected. Biographies can be boring at times but this one was super engaging. I admire Katherine Johnson's drive, honesty, and dedication in all areas of her life. I loved to see how dedicated her parents were to her education and how she went on to instill the same value in her children. I have not read or seen Hidden Figures yet but I enjoyed this narrative from her perspective, since she notes that areas of Hidden Figures were dramatized. A big thank you to I loved this book even more than I expected. Biographies can be boring at times but this one was super engaging. I admire Katherine Johnson's drive, honesty, and dedication in all areas of her life. I loved to see how dedicated her parents were to her education and how she went on to instill the same value in her children. I have not read or seen Hidden Figures yet but I enjoyed this narrative from her perspective, since she notes that areas of Hidden Figures were dramatized. A big thank you to Uplit Reads and Amistad Books for this ARC copy!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Doret

    This memoir gives a peak into the life of a remarkable woman. While reading it, I was proud as well as uncomfortable that I had been in an insulated living situation and never knew the kind of treatment Ms. Johnson and her contemporaries encountered. This book opened my eyes but it also made me proud of the fact that Ms. Johnson chose to work and live and get ahead in spite of the poor treatment from people in her region. This is a glimpse into the past with the ability to look ahead. In her wor This memoir gives a peak into the life of a remarkable woman. While reading it, I was proud as well as uncomfortable that I had been in an insulated living situation and never knew the kind of treatment Ms. Johnson and her contemporaries encountered. This book opened my eyes but it also made me proud of the fact that Ms. Johnson chose to work and live and get ahead in spite of the poor treatment from people in her region. This is a glimpse into the past with the ability to look ahead. In her words "And I decided then that while time would do what time does, I would focus on living." (page 12)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lanette

    Fantastic, inspirational book. THIS is what should be on summer reading lists everywhere.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This memoir was published about a year after Katherine Johnson died at 101. It was written "with" her daughters Joylette and Katherine. Clearly they would have had the final edit. I could not help thinking about how difficult it might have been at times to keep to their mother's point of view. My mother was a just few years younger than Katherine Johnson and I am a few years younger than her daughters. I am white and grew up in the north. They were black in the south. Still I thought of how chal This memoir was published about a year after Katherine Johnson died at 101. It was written "with" her daughters Joylette and Katherine. Clearly they would have had the final edit. I could not help thinking about how difficult it might have been at times to keep to their mother's point of view. My mother was a just few years younger than Katherine Johnson and I am a few years younger than her daughters. I am white and grew up in the north. They were black in the south. Still I thought of how challenging it would be to write a memoir in my mother's voice, especially where we disagreed during the civil rights era of the 1960s. Katherine Johnson's daughters pull this off. I read Hidden Figures and saw the movie so it was particularly fun to read about what was changed from exact historical accuracy to make a larger point.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jena Henry

    More than just a “remarkable journey”, this is the memoir of a “remarkable woman” who lived a “remarkable life.” Known in scientific circles for her advanced mathematical knowledge and her immense contributions to the NASA space program, Katherine Johnson became beloved by all of America following the release of her story in the acclaimed movie, “Hidden Figures.” Katherine tells her story in a clear and friendly style. The trajectory of her long life, paired with the history of America for bette More than just a “remarkable journey”, this is the memoir of a “remarkable woman” who lived a “remarkable life.” Known in scientific circles for her advanced mathematical knowledge and her immense contributions to the NASA space program, Katherine Johnson became beloved by all of America following the release of her story in the acclaimed movie, “Hidden Figures.” Katherine tells her story in a clear and friendly style. The trajectory of her long life, paired with the history of America for better and worse, makes for a meaningful and important story. (Ms. Johnson died recently, after her memoir was published.) Born in 1918, in West Virginia, and living much of her adult life in Virginia, Ms. Johnson experienced segregation and racist attitudes. But Katherine Johnson came from a strong family which gave her a secure foundation for her life, filled with love,, pride, confidence and an excellent education. She passed these gifts on to her own children. Family, faith, friendship a passion for mathematics and a love for NASA guided her life even when the sad history of race in America pained her. Katharine Johnson received awards and academic accolades. Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented by President Barack Obama in 2015 was a profound moment for her and a proud time for all us. I am so grateful to NetGalley and Amistad for the opportunity to read the inspiring story of Katherine Johnson. This is my honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Last week, I was reading this book and James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The celebrated Irish novelist is a much better writer, in terms of style, than is the accomplished mathematician. But, Johnson's book is hands down the better book. Far better. Her prose may be simple. Her language without poetic rhythm, but her story is powerful. An African-American woman born in one of the poorest states in the Union rises to help send astronauts into space and put a man on the moon. In th Last week, I was reading this book and James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The celebrated Irish novelist is a much better writer, in terms of style, than is the accomplished mathematician. But, Johnson's book is hands down the better book. Far better. Her prose may be simple. Her language without poetic rhythm, but her story is powerful. An African-American woman born in one of the poorest states in the Union rises to help send astronauts into space and put a man on the moon. In this short book, Katherine Johnson regularly acknowledges the people who made it possible for her to reach her potential and play a significant role in one of our nation's greatest successes in the last century. Above all she is grateful to her parents. "Daddy knew his own worth. And he built a cocoon around his children, protecting us form the knowledge that in the outside world, particularly in places such as Mississippi, Louisiana, and Virginia, a colored man could be snatched from his family, dragged before a crowd of bloodthirsty whites, and tortured to death just for carrying himself with too much confidence." As a little girl she loved her father, was "in awe of" him, and "beamed when friends and family told me I was just like him." Like him, she had a gift for numbers. "Math made sense to me, and I caught on easily, even before I started school." And her parents went sure she went to school, even when black children couldn't attend the schools near their family home in White Sulphur Springs. "When Daddy was in school, colored children could go only as high as the sixth grade. He wanted to be sure that his children got the education he had been denied." Her father sold the family farm and moved to Institute, West Virginia so that his children could attend the primary and secondary schools of the campus of the West Virginia Collegiate Institute (West Virginia State University today). Soon her teachers recognized that not only did math make sense to her, but that she was good at it. They encouraged her. She made friends and worked hard. But she also loved French and was certain that it would be her "choice for a major. But then the math teachers had their say." Mrs. Lacey insisted she take her math class. She did well and took a class the following semester with Dr. William Waldron Schieffelin Claytor, "only the third Negro in the entire country to receive a doctorate degree in math." Impressed with Katherine, Dr. Claytor told her she "would make a good research mathematician." His encouragement would help guide her as she completed her college education, got several teaching jobs and finally ended up at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, the precursor to NASA). And soon she found herself calculating trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo programs. Katherine Johnson was bright and worked hard throughout her life. Yet, throughout her memoir, she is constantly referencing those who helped make her journey remarkable. She is ever grateful for those who believed in her--and to those who encouraged her. A bright woman blessed by loving parents and encouraged by wise mentors. A good read. A very good read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    Every American should read this book. I was one of the kids who became interested in science as a result of the space program. Katherine's story is remarkable. She lived though a fascinating part of history and played a critical, behind-the-scenes role. In her memoir she tells her story in an intelligent, readable manner. The narrative is entertaining as well as educational. I particularly enjoyed the focus she placed on education. Her parents valued education and made sacrifices so she and her Every American should read this book. I was one of the kids who became interested in science as a result of the space program. Katherine's story is remarkable. She lived though a fascinating part of history and played a critical, behind-the-scenes role. In her memoir she tells her story in an intelligent, readable manner. The narrative is entertaining as well as educational. I particularly enjoyed the focus she placed on education. Her parents valued education and made sacrifices so she and her siblings could attend university and become professionals. She passed this legacy on to her children and grandchildren. I enjoy reading about successful, intelligent people and the events that shaped their lives. Katherine was a pioneer for rights of both women and black Americans. She is an outstanding role model for how education and hard work can improve a person's circumstances and lead to a high level of satisfaction in one's career. She loved what she did for a living, and she communicated that very effectively to readers. She tells her story respectfully. She included enough detail about her personal life that I felt acquainted with Katherine and want to know more about her. I'd like to meet this woman and shake her hand. At no point did I feel she was disclosing too much or sharing privileged information about any individual or organization. I would strongly recommend this memoir for book clubs. It would also be excellent reading and discussion material for high school history classes. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Not only was Katherine Johnson remarkable, but so was her memoir. Johnson recounts her life growing up in West Virginia, attending school, becoming a teacher, getting married, having children, and of course moving to Newport News to work at NACA, and later NASA. Throughout her memoir, she describes the current events of the time, the racial discord, and the evolution of education. Johnson has so much to share with the world—I can’t get over how humble she was. Here’s this amazing, brilliant woma Not only was Katherine Johnson remarkable, but so was her memoir. Johnson recounts her life growing up in West Virginia, attending school, becoming a teacher, getting married, having children, and of course moving to Newport News to work at NACA, and later NASA. Throughout her memoir, she describes the current events of the time, the racial discord, and the evolution of education. Johnson has so much to share with the world—I can’t get over how humble she was. Here’s this amazing, brilliant woman, and she spends most of the book discussing the wonderful people around her who supported her. That shows class. This memoir was written in such a way that it is very accessible to all people and very well written. This would be a fantastic book for children as young as middle school to read. If I were still teaching, I would be purchasing a class set because this book has it all—great role models, history, emphasis on hard work, love what you do, and I could go on. When Johnson explains some of the historical background, I found myself thinking, “I remember reading about that in history class, but I so appreciate a refresher, because it has been awhile.” Her grace, love, and hope permeate through the pages and her call to “ask questions” and get educated are so important. You know you’re in the presence of greatness and wisdom while reading this. This is one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read—I only wish it were longer! Johnson and her family were/are inspiring! Thank you to NetGalley and HarperLuxe for providing me with an ARC!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bookworm

    Like so many others, I had seen 'Hidden Figures' and enjoyed the film and the book. So when I saw this memoir, I thought it might be a good read to pick up and fill in any holes the 'Hidden' book and film didn't cover, read the story from her perspective, learn more about Johnson's life, etc. I had no idea of the role she had played prior to hearing about the movie and watching it, so it seemed like this would be a good compliment. It was interesting to learn more about her background (which is u Like so many others, I had seen 'Hidden Figures' and enjoyed the film and the book. So when I saw this memoir, I thought it might be a good read to pick up and fill in any holes the 'Hidden' book and film didn't cover, read the story from her perspective, learn more about Johnson's life, etc. I had no idea of the role she had played prior to hearing about the movie and watching it, so it seemed like this would be a good compliment. It was interesting to learn more about her background (which is understandably not really covered in the film), her childhood and her other work at NASA. 'Hidden' obviously only covered a small slice and from a very specific angle so it was interesting to read up on her other work and experiences, her career overall, etc. I'm not sure there's much more to say, other than it's really appalling that it took something like 'Hidden' to bring Johnson's story to the forefront. There are likely many others that we don't know about because they are not talked about, celebrated, promoted, etc. So I'm glad we were able to learn more about Johnson and her contributions before her passing and would recommend this to anyone interested in space, representation, NASA, etc. I got this as a library borrow and this was best for me. I'm not sure it would be necessarily something as a purchase unless you have a specific interest in her work, NASA, her story, etc. But I do recommend giving it a read at some point and maybe encouraging a student in your life to research Johnson for a school project when appropriate.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

    Katherine Johnson received fame for her exploits as a NASA mathematician late in her life, after the release of the book and movie Hidden Figures in 2016. Yet because the book and movie only focus on a small slice of her life, this memoir that she worked on prior to her passing last year allows readers a much fuller view of all of her accomplishments. What especially stands out is her family's commitment to her success during her early life. Josh Coleman made sure his daughter understood that "N Katherine Johnson received fame for her exploits as a NASA mathematician late in her life, after the release of the book and movie Hidden Figures in 2016. Yet because the book and movie only focus on a small slice of her life, this memoir that she worked on prior to her passing last year allows readers a much fuller view of all of her accomplishments. What especially stands out is her family's commitment to her success during her early life. Josh Coleman made sure his daughter understood that "Nobody is better than you" as she grew up in West Virginia during the 1920s and 1930s. Although African-Americans often could not count on continuing their education through high school and college then, her father made a sacrifice by moving the family more than 120 miles away from home to make sure she could continue going to school. Thus she makes clear that her father deserves credit for encouraging her to pursue education. A teacher then encouraged her to become a research mathematician, and although she initially had no idea what this entailed, she placed her high-level math skills to work at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1953 and continued working at NASA until the Space Shuttle era in 1986. I would have liked more detail on the specific work she did during all of those years, but the book does bring about her humility and sense of gratitude in serving her nation and proving African-American women deserve a seat at the table of space exploration. May we never forget Katherine Johnson!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Emani Glee

    I loved this book! I always enjoy reading about the lives of people behind the headlines. The title of this book is so fitting because Katherine’s journey was truly remarkable. I really liked that while the story is centered around Katherine, it shines a light on other achievers as well. I’m not surprised by this because the Katherine Johnson I got to know through this book comes off very humble and she seems to shy away from the spotlight. I was amazed to find out that the career that led to he I loved this book! I always enjoy reading about the lives of people behind the headlines. The title of this book is so fitting because Katherine’s journey was truly remarkable. I really liked that while the story is centered around Katherine, it shines a light on other achievers as well. I’m not surprised by this because the Katherine Johnson I got to know through this book comes off very humble and she seems to shy away from the spotlight. I was amazed to find out that the career that led to her historic contributions in the space field, wasn’t one that she sought out on her own. It was through the subtle suggestion of one of her teachers in college that she pursued a career as a research mathematician without even really understanding what the job was. It was also by chance that she got connected to NACA, so it’s obvious to me that her steps were ordered, and she was meant to have the career she had. I’m amazed and admire the grace that she showed when faced with direct racism. Reading about her life in relation to the racial climate during the time was so interesting. This is such a good and inspirational read for anyone, but especially young, black girls interested in STEM. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to NetGalley and Amistad for the advanced e-ARC

  30. 4 out of 5

    Becka

    4.5 stars My Remarkable Journey is the perfect title for this memoir, as the story of Katherine Johnson’s life is truly remarkable. Best known for her role in NASA’s space program, Johnson was blazing a trail long before NASA. From childhood, Katherine was made to understand the value of education-a world in which she excelled, finishing 8th grade at v the age of 10. Katherine’s parents and teachers showed her the importance of meeting her human potential, and that neither her race nor her sex n 4.5 stars My Remarkable Journey is the perfect title for this memoir, as the story of Katherine Johnson’s life is truly remarkable. Best known for her role in NASA’s space program, Johnson was blazing a trail long before NASA. From childhood, Katherine was made to understand the value of education-a world in which she excelled, finishing 8th grade at v the age of 10. Katherine’s parents and teachers showed her the importance of meeting her human potential, and that neither her race nor her sex need prevent her from meeting that potential. The book follows Katherine through marriage, motherhood, and groundbreaking career. It seemed that the last few chapters strayed from the focus on Katharine’s journey to a more generalized view of Civil Rights and Space Race events in general, but it did refocus on Katherine at the end, describing her post-retirement life. My Remarkable Journey is a fascinating lesson in the power of strength and perseverance in the life of a woman certainly deserving of acknowledgment. Thanks go to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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