East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart by Susan Butler, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
East to the Dawn

East to the Dawn

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by Susan Butler
     
 

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Amelia Earhart (1897–1937) captured the hearts of the enitre nation after becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928. She was a social worker, author, lecturer, businesswoman, educator, and tireless promoter of women’s rights. Yet, over half a century after her mysterious disappearance, many questions remain unanswered. East to

Overview

Amelia Earhart (1897–1937) captured the hearts of the enitre nation after becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928. She was a social worker, author, lecturer, businesswoman, educator, and tireless promoter of women’s rights. Yet, over half a century after her mysterious disappearance, many questions remain unanswered. East to the Dawn finally sets the record straight, providing the most comprehensive account to date of Earhart’s extraordinary life. Based on ten years of research through archives, letters, and diaries, and on interviews with friends and relatives, this book includes intricate details about Earhart’s career and her fateful last flight, with excerpts from letters written during the journey by her navigator Fred Noonan. The author also traces Earhart’s personal life: her early years with her grandparents; her experiences as a nurse, premed student at Columbia University, and social worker; her famous marriage to publisher George Putnam; and her secret affair with Gene Vidal. This biography presents a revealing picture of Earhart in all her complexity, and is sure to be the last word on her incredible flying record.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This biography of Amelia Earhart, one of several available, is a mixed bag. Butler, who has written for Barron's and the New York Times, is not overawed by her subject; her text is readable, well documented, and insightful. She devotes far more attention, however, to Earhart's genealogy than to the central event of her life: her attempted round-the-world flight and mysterious disappearance. The controversy over Earhart's flying skills is touched upon, but Butler's defense could have been more forceful and detailed, as could her handling of the various crash theories and Earhart's legacy for women in aviation. A minor quibble: Butler writes, "No other adventurer...had pulled off such a clever feat...no other adventurer could write" about her travel exploits; she then describes later how the reporter/ adventurer Nelly Bly had done exactly that in the previous century, a surprising oversight. Recommended for general collections, but don't look for major revelations. (Illustrations not seen.)Barbara Ann Hutcheson, Greater Victoria P.L., B.C.
Booknews
Journalist Butler deepens the familiar picture of the US flier who vanished mysteriously in 1937 to reveal Earhart's personae as an educator, a social worker, a lecturer, a businesswoman, and a promoter of women's rights. She also provides details about that last flight and wades through the accumulated mythology to seek a reasonable explanation for her loss. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Emily Leider
Butler shows a mastery of aviation history, and considerable sophistication about the technology of flight and navigation.
The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
This exhaustive new biography, coming on the centennial of Earhart's birth, throws new light on many of the more controversial elements of the aviator's life and death.

Earhart was a self-possessed and downright adventurous young woman. Her two enduring passions were flying and social work, endeavors that both seem to have captivated the feminine imagination in her time. By the time she was 25, Earhart "had become one of those early mythical heroes of the sky whom people came to see at air meets and dreamed of emulating." She "vagabonded" across the country solo in a plane and, with the help of her husband, publishing giant George Putnam, had the book documenting her tale out on the stands less than two weeks after completion of the feat. The list of her flight achievements is lengthy and impressive. But it is the cool yet inspired marriage between Putnam and Earhart, two inveterate adventurers, that lies at the core of Butler's biography. Putnam was a brilliant media spin-doctor who relentlessly promoted his wife's image. Butler's study raises some provocative questions (Was Earhart a feminist or just a singular human being? Were her feats victories for women everywhere or victories for pure heroism?) without convincingly answering them. But if the study isn't always persuasive in its answers, it is filled with wonderful details about Earhart's glamorous lifestyle and the wild, dangerous world of early aviators. Earhart disappeared at sea in 1938, trying to be the first pilot to circumnavigate the earth at its widest point, before turning 40. Even the manner of her death contrived to sustain America's fascination with her.

Butler's flat writing style somewhat undermines her portrait of Earhart's singular emotional and physical courage. Nonetheless, the still enthralling figure of the aviator—wearing her signature trousers and jacket, blond hair and silk scarf blowing, beckoning to the free spirit in all of us—does powerfully come through.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306808876
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
04/01/1999
Series:
Biography Series
Edition description:
1 DA CAPO
Pages:
512
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

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