A vivid, suspenseful story of women determined to defy gravity—and men—to fulfill their lofty dreams.

FLY GIRLS

HOW FIVE DARING WOMEN DEFIED ALL ODDS AND MADE AVIATION HISTORY

In the decades between the world wars, women took to the skies as daring, record-breaking fliers.

Drawing on abundant sources, including letters, published and unpublished memoirs, newspaper reports, and archival material from more than a dozen museums and historical collections, O’Brien (Outside Short: Big Dreams, Hard Times, and One County’s Quest for Basketball Greatness, 2013) has fashioned a brisk, spirited history of early aviation focused on 5 irrepressible women. Amelia Earhart was the most famous among them, but the others were no less passionate and courageous: Louise McPhetridge Thaden, tall, stately, and, even as a child, “a follower of boyish pursuits,” according to her mother; Ruth Nichols, who chafed at a future as the socialite daughter of wealthy parents; Ruth Elder, determined to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic; and Florence Klingensmith, who trained as a mechanic so she could learn planes inside and out but whose first aviation job was as a stunt girl, standing on a wing in her bathing suit. In 1928, when women managed to get jobs in other male dominated fields, fewer than 12 had a pilot’s license, and those ambitious for prizes and recognition faced entrenched sexism from the men who ran air races, backed fliers, and financed the purchase of planes. They decided to organize: “For our own protection,” one of them said, “we must learn to think for ourselves, and do as much work as possible on our planes.” Although sometimes rivals in the air, they forged strong friendships and offered one another unabated encouragement. O’Brien vividly recounts the dangers of early flight: In shockingly rickety planes, pilots sat in open cockpits, often blinded by ice pellets or engine smoke; instruments were unreliable, if they worked at all; sudden changes in weather could be life threatening. Fliers regularly emerged from their planes covered in dust and grease. Crashes were common, with planes bursting into flames; but risking injury and even death failed to dampen the women’s passion to fly.

A vivid, suspenseful story of women determined to defy gravity—and men—to fulfill their lofty dreams.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-328-87664-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

NIGHT

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

Did you like this book?

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more