Fly Girls

Fly Girls

How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History

Book - 2018
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A NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER

"Exhilarating." -- New York Times Book Review

" Riveting. " -- People

"Keith O'Brien has brought these women--mostly long-hidden and forgotten--back into the light where they belong. And he's done it with grace, sensitivity and a cinematic eye for detail that makes Fly Girls both exhilarating and heartbreaking." -- USA Today

The untold story of five women who fought to compete against men in the high-stakes national air races of the 1920s and 1930s -- and won

Between the world wars, no sport was more popular, or more dangerous, than airplane racing. Thousands of fans flocked to multi‑day events, and cities vied with one another to host them. The pilots themselves were hailed as dashing heroes who cheerfully stared death in the face. Well, the men were hailed. Female pilots were more often ridiculed than praised for what the press portrayed as silly efforts to horn in on a manly, and deadly, pursuit. Fly Girls recounts how a cadre of women banded together to break the original glass ceiling: the entrenched prejudice that conspired to keep them out of the sky.

O'Brien weaves together the stories of five remarkable women: Florence Klingensmith, a high‑school dropout who worked for a dry cleaner in Fargo, North Dakota; Ruth Elder, an Alabama divorcee; Amelia Earhart, the most famous, but not necessarily the most skilled; Ruth Nichols, who chafed at the constraints of her blue‑blood family's expectations; and Louise Thaden, the mother of two young kids who got her start selling coal in Wichita. Together, they fought for the chance to race against the men -- and in 1936 one of them would triumph in the toughest race of all.

Like Hidden Figures and Girls of Atomic City , Fly Girls celebrates a little-known slice of history in which tenacious, trail-blazing women braved all obstacles to achieve greatness.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.
ISBN: 9781328876645
1328876640
Branch Call Number: 629.130922
Characteristics: xiv, 338 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm

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k
kpelish
May 17, 2019

Lives up to the jacket reviews as a well-written exploration of America's first female fliers ("fly girls") and how their passion for the skies led them past discrimination and into adventures. Most engaging is that the famous Amelia Earhart's story is just one of several—it's inspiring to read about the other women, their pathways, and their fearless contributions to the development of the aviation industry. The fliers came from all over the U.S.

r
redbookhound
May 07, 2019

We love them from the beginning of each Bio chapter. Their grit, determination, fearlessness, humor, and charity to one another. This is a wonderful story, long untold, about women who made their lives stand for something beyond the "mother/wife" image of their day. The Author does well sharing the context of the times, the temper of men's view of women 'fly girls', and how each of them proved their mettle. We are grateful for the fullness of Keith O'Briens vision of each gals contribution to air travel, science and women's equality. Good read, fantastic herstory. Brava.

7
7626dee
Dec 20, 2018

Excellent history of the ladies in flying, I do wish the prose was not so dry and stilted. These were cutting edge ladies fighting against society and the cast iron ceiling of male aviators. I am a male aviator and instructed in military and civil aviation and the prejudice is still there, the ladies have to be tough as nails even today.

j
Jenkskitten
Dec 15, 2018

Great story of mostly 5 women who loved flying, especially racing and breaking records in the early years of aviation. The author's grandmother was one of them. They risked their lives to do what they loved. I only knew of Earhart, but was intrigued to learn some of the facts about her background behind flying. The other women were just as interesting to learn about. The cover show nine flyers, all who are mentioned in the book, some just not as much detail as the five main characters. Enjoyed reading it.

k
knobbyknees69
Aug 25, 2018

I really like history and this book was fantastic. Excellently written--a few typos, but still--and hard to put down. After I read the book, I read the author's acknowledgements which had me all the more admirable for the read. Peruse that portion and you will understand better.
Author, Keith O'Brien, paid an honorable homage to those who flew first in our skies.

I really enjoy your service!

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kpelish
May 17, 2019

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Several deaths or accidents are vividly described.

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