Amelia Earhart: A Biography

Overview

She died mysteriously before she was forty. Yet in the last decade of her life Amelia Earhart soared from obscurity to fame as the best-known female aviator in the world. Rich's exhaustively researched biography downplays the "What Happened to Amelia Earhart?" myth by disclosing who Earhart really was--a woman of three centuries, born in the 19th, pioneering in the 20th, and advocating ideals and dreams relevant to the 21st. 15 illustrations.
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Overview

She died mysteriously before she was forty. Yet in the last decade of her life Amelia Earhart soared from obscurity to fame as the best-known female aviator in the world. Rich's exhaustively researched biography downplays the "What Happened to Amelia Earhart?" myth by disclosing who Earhart really was--a woman of three centuries, born in the 19th, pioneering in the 20th, and advocating ideals and dreams relevant to the 21st. 15 illustrations.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With a combination of daring and adroit public relations, Amelia Earhart reigned as ``Queen of the Air'' during the period between her first transatlantic flight in 1928 and her untimely disappearance over the Pacific nine years later. This fast-paced, richly detailed biography reveals an aloof, independent woman who grimly endured the public clamor and cross-country lecture circuit in order to fund her desire to fly. In 1931 she married her publicist, George P. Putnam, whose brash schemes to capitalize on her aviation feats became increasingly foolhardy, leading up to her final, fatal effort to fly around the world. The author shows Earhart was also a tireless champion of women's rights, pacifism and commercial aviation, which was still in its infancy. While some questioned her aptitude as a pilot, few denied the promotional appeal of this attractive ``Lady Lindy.'' Rich, whose varied career has included journalism, photography and teaching, vividly reminds us how primitive and dangerous early flight was. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Earhart's life is the stuff of legend. First woman to fly across the Atlantic alone, lost during her around-the-world voyage without a trace, she is still thought of as a heroine and role model. Through Susan Van Dusen's reading, listeners learn about Earhart's childhood as a daredevil who loved the father who eventually became an alcoholic; they hear about her first flying experience and how her looks and intelligence helped her earn her place on the first transatlantic flight. Also discussed is her marriage to G.P. Putnam and her support of women's rights. Of special interest is her suggestion that women be drafted to fight in wars just like men. She worked tirelessly to encourage the development of commercial air travel, suggesting that it would eventually be as commonplace as trips by train. Though this audiobook is well written and provides much information on Earhart, it would be better suited to a format where patrons could see pictures of the aviator as well as others mentioned in her story and see the bibliography and footnotes that accompany this well-researched portrait. The CD format is also problematic: it's very hard to stop in the middle and pick up where one left off. For biography, women's studies, and American history and culture collections.--Danna Bell-Russel, Library of Congress Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
Amelia Earhart was not only a famous aviator and flight record-breaker, she was also a motivational speaker, devoted child, socialite, and feminist. The woman who most people think of as a tragic figure lost in her quest for aviation history comes alive in this fascinating biography well-read by Van Dusen.

Amelia, known as AE to her close friends and family, grew up in the Midwest in a fairly affluent home. Summers were spent with her grandparents, amid wealth and social standing. During her teenage years, however, struggles by her father to cease his heavy drinking led to financial difficulties and embarrassment for Amelia, her mother, and sister. By the time Amelia was in college, the family could barely make ends meet. Her mother, and later Amelia, worked hard to maintain the impression of affluence.

Throughout her adult life Amelia would, like most children of alcoholics, find excuses for her father and attempt to support her mother both emotionally and financially. Her first exposure to flight came as a result of a trip to an airfield in California with her father. From then on she would let nothing stop her from achieving her goals in aviation.

The successes Amelia Earhart achieved in aviation are well-known and documented. What makes this book different is the unknown facts unearthed about her through letters, journals, receipts, and many newspaper and magazine articles. The fact that she was kind and considerate to the children who approached her; that she was soft-spoken and articulate, but did not like to call attention to herself; that she wore well-tailored clothes and silk blouses under her aviator jacket; and managed to find a place for herself in the predominantly male world of aviation as well as "high" society. She spoke for women's rights, not only in the field of aviation, but in any professional field and, most importantly to her, in the home.

Listening to this book reminds one that the world lost not only a good pilot but a gifted individual on the tragic last flight of Amelia Earhart. (January)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440503637
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/2/1991
  • Pages: 336

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