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A well-researched contribution to women’s and aviation history.

A dual biography reveals women’s trailblazing roles in aviation.

Spaceflight historian Teitel (Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight Before NASA, 2016), who was an embedded journalist with the New Horizons mission to Pluto team in 2015, brings considerable excitement and knowledge about U.S. space programs to her close look at the life and career of two pioneering women pilots: Jackie Cochran (1906-1980) and Jerrie Cobb (1931-2019). At the start of her career, Cochran fought to be taken seriously, facing down men who tried to discourage her. The winner of multiple awards for her flying prowess, she was the only female entrant in the 1937 Bendix race, which added “a new women’s cross-country speed record” to her accomplishments. In 1938, she was named “First Lady of the Air Lanes.” At the start of World War II, she established the Women’s Flying Training Detachment, a precursor to the Women Airforce Service Pilots program, instituted at 120 Air Force bases, where women pilots tested planes, flew simulated operations, and flew cargo, weapons, and personnel around the country. Cochran directed the WASP program and flew bomber planes during the war. She also became a war correspondent for a magazine that her wealthy and doting husband bought to facilitate her overseas assignments. In 1956, Cochran lost a congressional bid, but she used her celebrity and money to support women’s training as aviators. Cobb, a generation younger, confronted the same prejudice against women pilots that Cochran faced. A NASA administrator who opposed a female astronaut program once described himself as “one of the old school” in favor of keeping women “barefoot and pregnant.” Nevertheless, Cobb proved as ardent as Cochran, submitting herself as a test subject for astronaut training, recruiting other women pilots, and lobbying with NASA director James Webb to admit women as astronauts. Cobb faced opposition not only from NASA, but also from Cochran, who adamantly opposed women’s astronaut training; wielding her high-level political connections (Lyndon Johnson was a friend), she saw Cobb’s efforts quashed.

A well-researched contribution to women’s and aviation history.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-1604-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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