The Step has been receiving very positive reviews.
Here is a sampling of some of the fantastic reviews we’ve received.
If you’ve read The Step please let me know how you liked it. Email me your comments.
Martha Lemasters’ memoir, “The Step” is a fascinating look at the Apollo space program through the eyes of someone who worked her way up from secretary to PR writer at IBM while showcasing the technological abilities of the contractors who worked with NASA.
For those of us not directly involved with the space program, it is interesting to see the cooperative effort of so many to accomplish President Kennedy’s goal of putting a man on the moon within ten years. Martha draws the reader into the story by giving glimpses of her personal life as a single mother of three daughters and making the astronauts be seen as real people. A must read! – CeCe, Amazon Reviewer
I fell in love with this book from the moment I started it. I was born in the early 60’s and grew up with the Apollo space program being a very big deal in my home. I loved the inside scoop on what it was like working for IBM/Nasa. Incredible! To have met the legends we have only read about, must have been amazing. I was in total awe. – Lori Bryd
Your mother’s unwillingness to bow into pain or call herself disabled is a great lesson to us all. NO PARKING STICKERS HERE. – Kim D. H. Butler
It’s rare these days that I read a book cover to cover in one day – but that’s exactly what I did with The Step. I enjoyed every minute of it. I think my daughter would enjoy the book as well. I do think it could be made into a terrific movie and hope that happens. – KMR
Tom R. Chambers
Research Analyst, Lunar Receiving Laboratory (LRL, Building 37)
Apollo missions 12-17
Martha G. Lemasters, author of “The Step” asked me to review her book about her involvement with IBM during the Apollo years at Cape Kennedy. It follows:
“Martha Lemasters manages to effectively intertwine personal and professional activities as an IBMer during the Apollo years in her book, The STEP.” The title cleverly ties in with Neil Armstrong’s “That’s one step for man, and one giant leap for mankind,” as he stepped off the Lunar Module onto the Moon’s surface during the Apollo 11 mission. Her step and his are essentially the same as it relates to motivation and implementation for success.
Her memoir recollects in amazing detail the technicians, the engineers, the analysts, and the administrative staff that made up the IBM launch support staff at Cape Kennedy. It moves rapidly and sequentially through the Apollo missions as Lemasters confronts issues on and off the job. As a single mother, she pushes her children in the right direction, and as secretary turned writer, she pushes herself to the max to portray IBM and the Apollo program in an accurate light.
If you are a Space pioneer, a Space fan, or a woman who has, or wants to move through the professional net, The Step is definitely a good read.”
I enjoyed the details and the writer’s thoughts as she went through these experiences in the space program. From the beginning, to the touching end, she has reflected the tense atmosphere of sexism that had existed as women were just starting to break through barriers that long existed. The ending makes a valid point. – Pamela Canepa
Martha Lemasters had /has the guts and determination that i can only wish i had….the type of woman i admire from afar and love having as a friend. Times were quite different when she divorced, a big no-no in itself, and then as a single mother went to work! Starting as a secretary she worked her way into writing the PR for IBM/NASA in a make dominated world. The world of astronauts. The history she watched happen and the people she encountered on that journey is simply amazing. The bonus? The truth she tells…..about the workplace, the social atmosphere and more importantly….about herself. Martha Lemasters has THE STEP. ” it’s an old southern saying for someone who is confident, intelligent, someone on top of things, a doer not a taker. Someone you can count on to get things done. ONE WHO WILL TAKE AN OPPORTUNITY AND MAKE THE MOST OF IT.”
– Linda Marie Marsh
I enjoyed the book very much all this was going on during my time being a young adult. Gave me a lot of information that I didn’t know about. – Carol Kershner
I really enjoyed this book. All the information & just her struggle with what she went through and succeeded in being a better mom and person. – Kindle Customer
I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway and the following is my honest opinion of The Step by Martha Lemasters. The Step is a very interesting Memoir of Martha’s career as a writer in IBM at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “The Step” means that a person or group has that inner drive to achieve a goal, and as they get closer, that step becomes a stride to success. A teacher told Martha once that she had “The Step”. The IBM engineers, analysts, programmers, secretaries, and writers of the IBM Apollo Space Program Team of the 1960’s proved that they had “The Step”, too. They sent spacecraft after spacecraft into space making final adjustments for that moon landing. President Kennedy had promised that America would make it to the moon before the end of 1969. And by golly, America would do it! What a time of American unity and Nationalism when Apollo 11 landed on the moon! You’ll get to know some of the astronauts and other people involved in this wondrous American adventure. Martha’s life is also significant as she grows as a woman and feminist during her years working as a single mother. This is a good book and anyone interested in the space program of the 1960’s will really enjoy this Memoir. – Debbi DuBose
I won this book through Goodreads. I really enjoyed this book. Loved all the inside information and her journey & hardships.
What an incredible Biography about a fascinating woman. This book shows me that there indeed was “woman power” in the 60’s…just like today, you have to work for it and Martha Lemasters did just that. Lemasters writes her story about her life on the Apollo and gives the readers a “tell all” from behind the scenes. I for one never knew there was so much drama on the Apollo so that is news to me, as well as Lemasters story and overcoming life’s curves. She started a secretary and worked her way up and that amazes me. Her determination paid off and she found her happy place! This is a book that I highly recommend any woman read, just when you think you can’t get through…pick this book up! I will do some inspiring! – Keri
I very much I enjoyed The Step, a multi-faceted story, at once historical, autobiographical and ethical. Also, it carries a very powerful feminist message, pointing out the substandard treatment that used to be routine for working women. Yet the author persevered and would not be put down, continuing to make her important contribution to the NASA space program. Most of us have only a sketchy knowledge of the ins and outs of that program in general and the Apollo shots in particular, so this book will be valuable for its detailed picture of how operations were handled. – A.D.C. lll
I would even say that some notable novelistic skills are at work as the memoir unfolds. The narrative of the author’s liaison with “Andy the Astronaut” reads like fiction, his character rendered very well. There are several gripping and compelling pages in the account of their relationship. She manages all along the way to draw important lessons from the events that her experience brings to her. All in all, a thoroughly impressive debut for Martha Lemasters. I couldn’t put this book down! It’s such an interesting mix of the excitement of the Apollo space program and the race to put a man on the moon, and the social climate of the sixties and the author’s personal triumphs! – Amazon Reader
Great story about life in the 60s and the Apollo program. It was shocking and unreal to think that a generation ago women could be treated the way they were–unequal pay, sexual harassment in the workplace, subjected to unfair and demeaning rules at work. Also a great story of hard work and perseverance. The book caught my attention right away and kept me interested. – Amazon Reader
What a ride. I was captured with the first few pages and completely involved as Martha Lemasters took me through her life in the most gentle way and I felt her pains and joys..The story moves on with quickening pace until I am immersed in the amazing activities of the Apollo launch and the very special men and women she tells us of as she begins work for the team and graduates from job to job, becoming totally involved with every step until she becomes the writer for the Apollo Team. Tears of awe and wonder run down my face as the final pages take me to their victory and the American flag is placed on the moon. I must read it again. Thank you, Martha. We needed this. – Amazon Reader
I enjoyed the book very much all this was going on during my time being a young adult. Gave me a lot of information that I didn’t know about. – Carol Kershner
STEP by Martha LeMasters. Non-fiction account of a woman who worked for IBM at Kennedy Space Center during the Apollo missions. I have to admit that this was so much better than I expected. She does change some names to protest the guilty, including the moon-walking married astronaut she had an affair with. The writing was engrossing and, since I grew up in that very area with a father who also worked on the Space Program (but not with IBM), I could recognize the accuracy of what she wrote. – Lizabeth
Martha Lemasters had /has the guts and determination that i can only wish i had….the type of woman i admire from afar and love having as a friend.Times were quite different when she divorced, a big no-no in itself, and then as a single mother went to work! Starting as a secretary she worked her way into writing the PR for IBM/NASA in a make dominated world. The world of astronauts.The history she watched happen and the people she encountered on that journey is simply amazing. The bonus? The truth she tells…..about the workplace, the social atmosphere and more importantly….about herself.Martha Lemasters has THE STEP. ” it’s an old southern saying for someone who is confident, intelligent, someone on top of things, a doer not a taker. Someone you can count on to get things done. ONE WHO WILL TAKE AN OPPORTUNITY AND MAKE THE MOST OF IT.” –
Linda Marie Marsh
“This is a memoir that shows the life of working women in the 60s and in the fascinating arena of the NASA space program. The author is sassy and candid, yet discreet and reverent of the endeavors and ideals of the time.” –Autumn
“Great story about life in the 60s and the Apollo program. It was shocking and unreal to think that a generation ago women could be treated the way they were–unequal pay, sexual harassment in the workplace, subjected to unfair and demeaning rules at work. Also a great story of hard work and perseverance. The book caught my attention right away and kept me interested.” –Amazon Reader
“The Step was an opportunity to “see” the space program from a totally different perspective, to read about the lives of the everyday people that made one of the most amazing events of US history happen. The Step was also quite a reminder of a time with different rules and values especially for women. Thank you Martha Lemasters for sharing your memories of this era.” –Vicki Greene
“Martha’s book, The Step, instantly transported me to the magical space race times of the 1960’s and 1970’s on Florida’s space coast. It was impossible not to feel the exhilaration Martha felt as I read about the people and places that played such key roles in space travel over those decades. Page after page, I was there experiencing, right along with Martha, the unforgettable, momentous events which transpired at The Cape.
For those of us fortunate enough to have lived during those world changing times, this is a book not to be missed. Martha intertwines many extremely personal experiences during her years as a journalist with IBM as she recounts the many history-making events to which she was privy, as one of the few women ever to experience those incomparable times as a member of ‘the team’. The pride Martha felt, in being part of the team that dedicated their lives to making the Apollo Space Program a success, is evident throughout her book and renewed my pride in being an observer during those unparalleled years.” –Cara, Sebastian, Florida
“A Fantastic Inside Look at Our Nation’s Space Program from a Woman Who Blazed a Trail for Us All. What a delightful and important book Martha Lemasters has written! First, we get a good look at what happened behind the scenes at the Cape Kennedy Space Center during our nation’s Apollo program—the talented, dedicated men and women of the IBM launch team responsible in part for one of the greatest feats of technological genius in the history of mankind.
But The Step also chronicles the story of a pioneer: a woman breaking ground in an industry where men outnumbered women two hundred to one. From stay-at-home mom to the typing pool to secretary to writer/speech writer at IBM (one of NASA’s critical partners in the space program), Lemasters navigated the blatant sexism of the sixties, standing up to the men she worked with and blazing a trail as bright as burning rocket fuel at the moment of liftoff. A remarkable and inspiring book!” –Jennifer Read Hawthorne author of Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul
“It’s been said that if you remember the ’60’s you weren’t really there. Fortunately, Martha proved the exception. She remembered enough about the Apollo manned space program to write about it and I, for one, am glad. Reading it brought back fond memories of living and working during one of the most exciting periods of our time.” –Joanne Miller, North Little Rock, AR
Joanne was a fellow writer for IBM at KSC and is written about in The Step
“I got your book yesterday evening. I’m up to chapter 8 so far. I have to tell you, I have thoroughly enjoyed it, find it extremely well written and interesting to read!!! Congratulations on a great book.” –Jim Handley, IBM Manager, KSC
“First let me explain, I have been an avid reader for most of my life, but after retiring after 23 years working in libraries I have lost a lot of that enthusiasm. I need to tell you that I just started your book and read the first 5 chapters. I am so hooked. You are a magnificent writer!
I read the lesson and then the five chapters and I have to take a break, but it is glorious, your writing is in pictures (does that make sense?) It is amazing, can’t wait to pick it up again. They way you communicate is outstanding and I am truly in awe.” –Peg Wilson
“I love your book!! I can’t wait to see it succeed and become a movie one day!
I love your person, so strong, intelligent, beautiful & athletic!! I love how you handle yourself in the man’s world, and you look after friends not as strong.
It’s so exciting to think of being in your position at IBM. You knew all the insights. What an amazing time and place for you!” –Pam Kvale
“Good morning Martha. It is 4:12 a.m. and I just finished your wonderful book. I loved it so much, especially your personal and vulnerable side of you. It was truly a very interesting and magnificent read. It brought back all the memories of our days, months and years at the Cape, both great ones and sad ones as well.
All of us, no matter where we live or where our lives took us, will always be family because that is what we were. I still to this day say that my best years at IBM out of the 33 I worked were at the Cape.
I feel blessed to still be here and be able to attend our yearly reunions. I also feel lucky to still be in close contact with you and a few others whom I love and admire so much.
The book was so well written and so detailed with all the good things that we as IBMers accomplished during the space program. Congrats to you many times over.” –Marylou Duffy, Atlanta
“Having read The Step, I wanted to congratulate you and say how much I enjoyed it. It is a multi-faceted story, at once historical, autobiographical and ethical. I applaud its very potent feminist message. I wonder if young women will be shocked at how awful things used to be for women, I mean, because the typical male was so awful in his dealings with women. Yet you persevered and would not be put down. Bravo. Maybe those who are grateful for the space program will understand how much your contribution to it meant. My knowledge of NASA and the Apollo shots was very sketchy up to now. I know so much more now.
I sense some novelistic skills at work in the book. The narrative of your liaison with “Andy the Astronaut” reads like fiction. And you’ve rendered his character very well. There are several gripping and compelling pages in that story. I found myself wondering what he looked like, but of course I will never know.” –Alfred Corn: Author, Miranda’s Book
“I must tell you that I am fascinated by your experience with the Apollo Space Program and putting a man on the moon. What an adventure just to be a part of it! Your book is so well written and the way you have written it pulls the reader right in and makes him feel on the scene of history being made.
For myself, I have had little or no knowledge of the immense work involved in putting a man on the moon. I realized it was a huge undertaking but the number of people involved was staggering. When I finally put the book down, I wondered how it could be that so many people could work together on so huge an undertaking and make it work to perfection, and then how is it that we cannot go forward in the world and work with this same kind of unity and harmony that made Apollo successful.” –Ann Beals; The Bookmark…Early and contemporary works on Christian Science
“When I read about your reading and book signing in our local paper, I decided to come and listen. I knew the ending about man landing on the moon but had no idea how much the stories you shared would impact me.
On a personal note, I was so touched by the what your Mom endured having an abortion because I learned from my mother that her mother’s death sentence was having another child. She already had too many abortions and giving birth to my uncle knowing a tumor would kill her at an early age was difficult to swallow when Mom explained it. My grandmother died when my Mom was only 16 and they were farmed out to family. As you said last night about your decisions not defining you, Mom made some challenging ones but she gave me great sisters even if we have different fathers.
Reading how your children weren’t allowed to play with others because you worked was so foreign to me. I was born in 1962 and I guess by the time my parents separated when I was 8 was more the norm. I had never known my Mom not to work even when they were married. I can relate to the checking account because when my parents split, Dad tried to get Mom for forgery by signing his name on checks as she paid the bills. My, how times have changed.
The section you wrote about pro-choice was a different spin that I have never thought about. Birth control is one thing but I never thought about someone in a situation like your mother and my grandmother. I was touched by having you let your mother know about what happened and her freedom to share at that walk.
Our past does not define us. I believe I am who am today because of decisions, right or wrong. I am a better and stronger person because of them.” –Anonymous Reader
Martha LeMasters went from married to divorced to working mom, a rarity even in the late 1960s. She found a place as secretary at IBM, later moving up to writer, her goal. During the Apollo years, she also found her identity as a woman: strong, independent, and sexually fulfilled.
This rang true for me even though LeMasters changed some names to protect the guilty and the indiscreet. Adultery was rampant, divorce even higher. Not surprising when you consider that during the pre-launch time, it wasn’t unusual to work 10-16 hour shifts. Employees for the various companies and agencies lived all the way south to Palm Bay, adding to the amount of time away. It also wasn’t unusual to see astronauts around town during visits to the Cape, picking up groupies who wanted an astronaut notch on their beds. My parents weren’t shy about telling me who they spotted at the various nightclubs in the Cocoa Beach area. I was a child, but never sheltered.
My interest in the space program and the people involved in it stems from my childhood. My dad worked in the program from 1956 to 1970, taking a short break to get his degree in Physics in just two years on the advice of Rocco Petrone and Kurt Debus. He worked for the various companies that held contracts with NASA, only leaving because he could see the writing on the wall, the space program was essentially over, layoffs were coming. He loved every minute of it and used to talk to me from the time I was in first grade until adulthood about his job and the people he worked with.
Reading LeMasters’ book threw me right back into those days. It was a nice visit, brought back a lot of memories. I would definitely recommend this story to anyone interested in the space program. 4.5 out of 5. – L.S. Tucker