Fly Girls

Fly Girls

How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History

Book - 2018
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"High adventure and high ideals merge when a corps of intrepid female aviators battle to take part in the hugely popular air shows of the 1920s and 1930s. Ultimately, one of our heroines would win a race that earned her the right to be called America's best pilot"--
"Keith 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 housewife; 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, Kansas. 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."--Dust jacket flap.
Published: Boston :, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,, [2018]
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781328876645
Branch Call Number: 629.1309 OBR
Characteristics: xiv, 338 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations, portraits ;,24 cm


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May 05, 2021

This is an excellent non-fiction narrative of how five women -- Amelia Earhart, Louise Thaden, Ruth Nichols, Ruth Elder and Florence Klingensmith (who gets the least amount in this edition, as she dies fairly soon after she's introduced) -- blazed a path for women pilots.

Starting in the 1920s, women pilots began garnering attention. They had a discouraging lack of support from aviation goliath Charles Lindberg and other men who felt flying was a man's domain.

These women scraped together the money and courage to hurtle through the sky at a time when flying almost always equaled crashing, and in fact killed several of them.

There's a glossary, it's fully indexed (nice, for reference purposes) and there's 60+ pages of source notes, which are also fantastic to encourage students to do more research. Black and white pictures of the women and the men they competed against are included at regular intervals, including an astounding one of the 100-pound trophy for the winner of the Bendix transcontinental race!

The author also does a fantastic job of making connections between these women's lives and the struggles students and their families may be facing today. For instance, he highlights how Earhart's job as a social worker put her in touch with immigrants who were "struggling under new anti-immigration policies" and how one pilot was forced to quit her job as an instructor at a flight school when she got pregnant because "employers at the time didn't like pregnant women working."

An excellent read you're sure to enjoy!

Oct 13, 2019

I love non-fiction books that introduce us to unknown people in history who should be better known. Other than Amelia Earhart I had no idea that women were a part of early aviation.

Aug 18, 2019

Very interesting tale of Amelia Earhart & the other female aviators of their time, fighting to break into a man's world.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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May 17, 2019

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


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