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Amelia Earhart : the turbulent life of an American icon
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Author Notes
<p>Kathleen C. Winters was an aviation historian, licensed pilot, and author of the critically acclaimed Anne Morrow Lindbergh: First Lady of the Air . A resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, she passed away in August of 2010.</p>
Fiction/Biography Profile
Aviation history
Social history
World history
- United States
Time Period
1897-1937 -- 19th-20th century
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

In this latest installment of Earhart historiography, Winters (Anne Morrow Lindbergh: First Lady of the Air) explores her subject's skills as an aviator and questions her character, thus providing another corrective to earlier Earhart hagiographies and popular perceptions. Winters gives us a complex woman who pursued a frenetic career; endured and supported a dependent mother and sister; accomplished transcontinental, transatlantic and Pacific flights although lacking extensive aeronautical savvy; managed to alienate some fellow women pilots by taking credit for their work in establishing separate records for aviatrixes; and padded the record of her time in the air to enhance an already overblown reputation. Winters points out that Earhart agreed to her marriage to George Putnam in the interest of fame and profit, participated in lucrative stump speeches that were passionate exhortations for commercial aviation, and traded on her friendship with President Roosevelt to facilitate her ill-fated around-the-world flight that ended in a massive sea rescue operation costing $4 million in 1937. VERDICT Earhart's accomplishments have been scrutinized for some time, and Winters's well-written and thoroughly researched study should serve as a final corrective. Recommended both as a character study and a technical study to general readers and specialists.-John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Cleveland (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Amelia Earhart was not the best female pilot of her time, claims Winters: "She was not a `natural stick,' in pilots' parlance, and struggled during her flight training." But she was, of course, the most widely known. In this insightful biography, Winters (Anne Morrow Lindbergh: First Lady of the Air) looks at Earhart's achievements and, perhaps more significantly, the influence of her husband, George Palmer Putnam, who promoted her tirelessly and "catapulted her to fame" by helping with fundraising and setting up book deals and speaking engagements. The couple would eventually rub elbows with "celebrities, artists, adventurers, and socialites," like Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt. The author traces Earhart's interest in aviation to "the many railroad trips she took with her father, and a tendency to experiment with all types of sports and games." Winters describes her gradual "transformation from genteel woman to airfield hanger-on, cropping her long hair and wearing breeches, boots, and an oil-stained leather jacket." She avoids romanticizing Earhart and points out her personal short-comings, such as an occasional reluctance to prepare properly for excursions. But Winters still believes equipment failure was just as responsible for Earhart's ill-fated final flight in 1937 as the pilot's insufficiencies. In so doing, she paints a fair picture of the famous woman aviator that so successfully captured the American imagination. Photos. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
<p>When Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific in 1937, she was at the height of her fame. Fascination with Earhart remains just as strong today, as her mysterious disappearance continues to inspire speculation. In this nuanced and often surprising biography, acclaimed aviation historian Kathleen C. Winters moves beyond the caricature of the spunky, precocious pilot to offer a more complex portrait. Drawing on a wealth of contemporary accounts, airline records, and other original research,this book reveals a flawed heroine who was frequently reckless and lacked basic navigation skills, but who was also a canny manipulator of mass media. Winters details how Earhart and her husband, publisher George Putnam, worked to establish her as an international icon, even as other spectacular pilots went unnoticed. Sympathetic yet unsentimental, this biography helps us to see Amelia Earhart with fresh eyes.</p>
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
1Atchisonp. 3
2Childhoodp. 11
3On the Movep. 23
4Flying Lessonsp. 35
5To Bostonp. 45
6Preparationsp. 53
7Across the Atlanticp. 61
8The Heroinep. 73
9The Vagabondp. 83
10Off and Runningp. 89
11Fasterp. 103
12The Autogirop. 113
13Second Crossingp. 119
14Celebrityp. 129
15The Treadmillp. 139
16Alohap. 151
17Mexicop. 159
18The Flying Laboratoryp. 169
19Luke Fieldp. 183
20The Last Flightp. 195
Epiloguep. 211
Reference Notesp. 217
Bibliographyp. 233
Indexp. 236
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