East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart

East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart

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by Susan Butler
     
 

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Amelia Earhart captured the hearts of the nation after becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1928. And her disappearance on an around-the-world flight in 1937 is an enduring mystery.

Based on ten years of research, East to the Dawn provides a richly textured portrait of Earhart in all her complexity. It’s the perfect complement to

Overview

Amelia Earhart captured the hearts of the nation after becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1928. And her disappearance on an around-the-world flight in 1937 is an enduring mystery.

Based on ten years of research, East to the Dawn provides a richly textured portrait of Earhart in all her complexity. It’s the perfect complement to the October 2009 movie Amelia, starring Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, and Ewan McGregor.

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.

From the Publisher
Praise for East to the Dawn

Gore Vidal
"Of the dozen or so books (mostly wild fantasies) that I have read about Amelia Earhart, Susan Butler's is the only one which re-creates accurately that singular woman whom my father was in love with, as indeed was I, aged ten, when the lady vanished."

The New Yorker, 9/14
“Definitive.”

Emily Wortis Leider, New York Times Book Review
“The mountain of new material it marshals guarantees “East to the Dawn” a permanent place on the shelf of Amelia Earhart references.”

Cari Beauchamp, Los Angeles Times
“The reader closes “East to the Dawn” with the lingering realization of how truly contemporary Amelia Earhart remains and with a new understanding of the love and admiration she earned from colleagues and the public at large… and her insistence on being her own person while fighting for causes larger than herself continue to command our respect and fuel our dreams.”

Renee Graham, Boston Globe
"[An] expansive biography… Rich with detail, “East to the Dawn” is an important book… certainly the most comprehensive Earhart biography in recent years. It stirs Earhart, who would have turned 100 this year, from the mists of myth, and finds the flesh-and-blood humanity within the alabaster icon.”

Kirkus Reviews, 9/15/97
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…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. (b&w photos, not seen).

CBS News Director Mira Nair
“Extraordinary.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786745791
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
08/11/2009
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
520
Sales rank:
292,603
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Susan Butler is a journalist who lives in Central Florida.

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East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was initially interested in this book because Amelia Earhart was my childhood hero. While I am not an aviator, I was inspired by her ability to transcend role expectations for women, and to build a fulfilling life for herself by following her dreams. This book does not disappoint in highlighting those aspects of her life. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the research into her family history. I came to believe that the story of the factors in her background that contributed to making her who she was would have been fascinating even if she didn't ultimately become a famous person. It made me hunger for more personalized genealogical histories such as this, no matter who the subject!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very well written and well researched. The details the author puts in are amazing. My only complaint would be that the book did not address the many rumors surrounding her disappearance but it is a minor complaint at that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore student who had to do a research project on Amelia Earhart. I have always been interested in learning new facts about Amelia Earhart, and this book was filled with lots of information about her. One of my favorite things that I have learned about her was that she was a feminist and that she cared for women’s rights.She inspired me more than before when I read this book because she didn’t care about what anyone else thought of her and she took chances to achieve her goals in aviation. It was fascinating to read about her childhood and learning that she stood out as a young girl. Although I am very interested in learning about Amelia, the book was very dry to me and I had trouble staying focused. I felt that Butler put a lot more detail than needed. When I planned to read for an hour, after only reading thirty minutes into the book, I feel as if I’ve been reading for a long time. I do believe that this book is tiresome due to the fact that I’ve dozed off a couple times while reading. The author puts unnecessary information on Amelia’s ancestry, when the person I’m focused on learning about is Amelia.This book was a good resource to learn more information on Amelia Earhart, but I wish that Butler didn’t include too much unnecessary details on non-important subjects which unfortunately made the book to lengthy and boring to read.
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maryelena More than 1 year ago
I find this book slow reading as it is so heavily weighted with biographic information. Great read for aviation enthusiasts. I was reading it to learn about the woman herself.
DRQ More than 1 year ago
Historical in nature - well written- compelling - easy to read -
cfkjr More than 1 year ago
Details of her life and times not covered in other biograhies. You can tell much research went into writing this book.
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SuzieQSK More than 1 year ago
see the movie!