Well-written and intelligent: a must for aviation buffs, and convincing back-up for Charles Lindbergh’s appreciative comment...

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747

CREATING THE WORLD’S FIRST JUMBO JET AND OTHER ADVENTURES FROM A LIFE IN AVIATION

Detailed and absorbing memoir by the engineer who led Boeing’s development of the world’s most commercially successful airplane.

Not that anyone saw it that way when 44-year-old Sutter was offered the job of overseeing the 747 in 1965. Boeing’s hottest engineers and designers were tied up with the 2707, a supersonic plane that was expected to be the future of commercial aviation. But in the meantime, Pan Am wanted a really big jet for its increasing number of intercontinental passengers. Sutter had 28 months, two-thirds the usual amount of time, to design, build and deliver a plane “two and a half times bigger than anything in existence.” His nearly blow-by-blow account offers fascinating insights into Boeing’s internal politics and the power wielded by important customers like Pan Am chairman Juan Trippe. The 747 had public-relations problems from the moment Sutter decided that a single-deck, wide-body fuselage better served the aircraft’s safety requirements and its secondary purpose as a freight carrier: Trippe wanted a double-decker, and Boeing senior management wanted to make him happy. But Sutter’s philosophy, persuasively reiterated throughout his memoir, was that his job was to find the best engineering solution and make the client see that it was best. “If you don’t have the courage to face up to difficult situations—and that includes making sure unwelcome truths are heard and acted on,” he writes, “then you have no business being a chief engineer.” Readers will hope that today’s aerospace executives share the devotion to excellence and safety above all that Sutter displays throughout. (He was appalled by NASA’s cavalier attitude when he served on the panel investigating the Challenger disaster.) Despite his onetime maverick status at the company, the 85-year-old retiree is a Boeing man through and through, understandably proud of the manufacturer’s sterling record and candid about failures like the never-produced 2707.

Well-written and intelligent: a must for aviation buffs, and convincing back-up for Charles Lindbergh’s appreciative comment that the 747 was “one of the great ones.”

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-088241-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Smithsonian/Collins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2006

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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