The Thule Girls

Overview

In 1958, as the "Cold War" between the former Soviet Union and the United States was escalating, the United States Air Force contracted eight young female musicians to entertain three thousand secluded men stationed at the most isolated American military base in the world, Thule Air Force Base , Greenland. Located inside the Arctic Circle, Thule Air Force Base lies only nine hundred forty seven miles from the North Pole. The base was built as a strategic component of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System, ...
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Overview

In 1958, as the "Cold War" between the former Soviet Union and the United States was escalating, the United States Air Force contracted eight young female musicians to entertain three thousand secluded men stationed at the most isolated American military base in the world, Thule Air Force Base , Greenland. Located inside the Arctic Circle, Thule Air Force Base lies only nine hundred forty seven miles from the North Pole. The base was built as a strategic component of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System, composed of powerful radar systems stretching across Alaska, Canada and Greenland. The installations were constructed to detect long range bombers and ballistic missiles launched from the Soviet Union, over the Arctic region, into the Western hemisphere. Arriving at Thule, the "Girls" are ordered 'off limits' to all male personnel. Being constantly guarded by military police and confined to restricted minimal housing, the young women are demoralized and apprehensive. When the greatly outnumbered women realize they are not in danger from the "men" they are expected to entertain, the dissimilar musicians join forces determined to provide themselves with male companionship for the two month engagement at Thule. The pursuit and success of this unusual undertaking and the manner in which the girls achieve it, under extremely adverse circumstances, is the spirit of this story.Danger from deadly radiation, an Arctic blizzard, a Red Alert and other unpredictable challenging episodes and relationships, teach the young musicians much about themselves, each other and the men whose lives they share for a few short weeks in the land of the midnight sun. The story reveals how, with dedication to a 'meaningful cause', it's possible to overcome cultural, social and artistic musical differences. Comical episodes and treacherous Arctic adventures balance out the sum and substance of this work. "The Thule Girls" is fiction, fabricated from real life people experiences.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781453712160
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 8/17/2010
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Mizz Shirley Peterson was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1928, where classical piano lessons, calf roping and country western music were a big part of her life. Shirley joined the Cheyenne high school 'dance band' in her senior year and discovered playing 'swing' with the boys was much more fun than dancing the "Cotton Eyed Joe" and playing in piano recitals.
When the United States entered the 'second world war', Shirley became the sole remaining musician in her high school band. To the disappointment of her family, who were "rodeo people" Shirley headed for the east coast. Once enrolled in George Washington University she again became the only female member of the university's fourteen-piece dance band. The 'boys in the band' took her to 'after hours' clubs and 'jam sessions' exposing her to the jazz world and the musical freedom that jazz inspired.
After three years of studying political science and languages, Shirley married a jazz 'tenor sax' player and moved to Boston where she studied 'jazz piano' and worked for agents who booked her on jobs which required her to sing popular songs and to play commercial style piano. Playing for nightclub acts in a band with her husband, she was required to accompany male and female singers, strippers, magicians, exotic dancers, tap dancers and comedians. Her musical ability expanded and her knowledge of 'show business' increased immeasurably.
After her husband's untimely death, Shirley continued to perform alone and with small groups, playing and singing at 'piano bars' and in cocktail lounges, which became popular during the sixties and seventies. Working through New York booking agencies, Shirley traversed the United States and finally retired in Mexico where she lived for several years, and where Spanish became her second language. "Senora" Shirley began to play piano again with young invigorated Mexican musicians eager to learn and play jazz.
Shirley recorded her first CD, ever, "Playing With the Big Boys" while visiting musician friends in northern California in 2003. As a result of years of playing various piano styles, Shirley enjoyed playing what she called "Waldorf Astoria Jazz", a mixture of 'free and easy', swinging piano - now called "Smooth Jazz. She sang and played all the wonderful songs that people remember from as far back as the nineteen thirties. Shirley was an entertainer, musician and vocalist right up to the time when she passed away in 2008.
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  • Posted June 25, 2012

    From a Thule Air Base Vet...

    Good morning Ron,

    I just finished reading The Thule Girls and all I can say is WOW!! What an incredible book. It almost made me want to jump on a C-141 and fly up to see how much things have changed since 1975 when I was there. The book really brought back a lot of memories for me. I had heard stories when I was there that some years earlier a bus full of people had been stranded by a Phase between base and J-site and that some windows had been knocked out. Did that happen when Shirley was there? It was very easy to believe since Phases were routinely "downgraded" when I was there so shift changes could be made and reduce overtime costs.

    Was Shirley the character of Shelley in the book? There were times in the book when tears would be running down my face because I was laughing so hard.

    This will definitely be one of my treasured books. Thanks for your efforts in getting it published.

    Mike Dunn

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