The author’s knowledge of aviation history renders this a proficient chronicle of women in flight.

AMELIA EARHART

THE TURBULENT LIFE OF AN AMERICAN ICON

Brisk life of the famed aviator who is more often taken to task for her sloppy technique than lauded for her bravery.

Pilot and aviation historian Winters (Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 2006, etc.) succinctly lays out the facts of Amelia Earhart’s remarkable story from “a pilot’s perspective,” underscoring how Earhart tended to skimp on the details of preparation for her difficult flights—e.g., on her last fatal flight around the world, she had not mastered the radio technology and resisted learning Morse code, which would have allowed the ship circling Howland Island in the Pacific to find her. Moreover, her handler turned husband George P. Putnam fashioned publicity events that forced her to adhere to unsound deadlines. Clues to Earhart’s personality emerge from her peripatetic upbringing, especially in terms of her disintegrating family due to her father’s drinking and loss of employment as a railroad lawyer. Her father’s devil-may-care attitude and her mother’s free spending fueled Earhart’s delight in adventure and risk-taking. She was a tomboy, athlete and feminist, her Midwestern edges polished at a Philadelphia finishing school and later at Columbia University, but she restlessly worked many jobs to pay for her initial flying lessons. Her life-changing opportunity came with a call from former Army Air Corps pilot Hilton H. Railey in April 1928; he and promoter Putnam were seeking a replacement pilot for a transatlantic flight (with a male flight crew) and were impressed by Earhart’s Lindy-like looks and poise. Criticism that she flew on the Friendship merely as “sheep in the cabin” prodded her to plan her own stunts, and by May 1931 she had made the solo transatlantic flight that established her reputation. In addition to examining Earhart, Winters includes the achievements of lesser-known women pilots such as Ruth Nichols.

The author’s knowledge of aviation history renders this a proficient chronicle of women in flight.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-230-61669-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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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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