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Fly Girls

Nonfiction: Biography
Unabridged   12.25 hour(s)
Publication date: 08/07/2018

New York Times Bestseller
Amazon's Best Book of the Month
Shelf Awareness Best Books of the Year 2018

Fly Girls

How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684412587
Digital Download ISBN:9781684412594


Like Hidden Figures and Girls of Atomic City, Fly Girls celebrates a little-known slice of history wherein tenacious, trail-blazing women braved all obstacles to achieve greatness.

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Product Description

Between the world wars, no sport was more popular, or more dangerous, than airplane racing. Thousands of fans flocked to multi-day events, and cities vied with one another to host them. The pilots themselves were hailed as dashing heroes who cheerfully stared death in the face. Well, the men were hailed. Female pilots were more often ridiculed than praised for what the press portrayed as silly efforts to horn in on a manly, and deadly, pursuit. Fly Girls recounts how a cadre of women banded together to break the original glass ceiling: the entrenched prejudice that conspired to keep them out of the sky.

O'Brien weaves together the stories of five remarkable women: Florence Klingensmith, a high school dropout who worked for a dry cleaner in Fargo, North Dakota; Ruth Elder, an Alabama divorcee; Amelia Earhart, the most famous, but not necessarily the most skilled; Ruth Nichols, who chafed at the constraints of her blue blood family's expectations; and Louise Thaden, the mother of two young kids who got her start selling coal in Wichita. Together, they fought for the chance to race against the men—and in 1936 one of them would triumph in the toughest race of all.


"Narrator Erin Bennett's clear, crisp articulation highlights the stories of five female pilots who sought to compete in air races from 1927 to 1936."—AudioFile

“Bennett’s narration grounds us in the history and the frequently death-defying experiences of these women. Her pacing and tone are well matched to the events and make for an entertaining and informative listen.” —Booklist Audio

“Erin Bennett deftly switches pace as she relates the compelling backgrounds of the women, the excitement of the races, and the tragedy that often followed.” —Library Journal Audio Review

"A vivid, suspenseful story of women determined to defy gravity—and men—to fulfill their lofty dreams." —Kirkus Reviews

“O'Brien details in crisp and engaging writing how his subjects came to love aviation, along with their struggles and victories with flying, the rampant sexism they experienced, and the hard choices they faced regarding work and family. Highly recommended for readers with an interest in aviation history, women's history, cultural history, and 20th-century history.” —Library Journal, Starred Review

“Journalist O’Brien tells the exciting story of aviators who, though they did not break the aviation industry’s glass ceiling, put a large crack in it....This fast-paced, meticulously researched history will appeal to a wide audience both as an entertaining tale of bravery and as an insightful look at early aviation.” —Publishers Weekly

“Exhilarating...vibrant...O’Brien’s prose reverberates with fiery crashes, then stings with the tragedy of lives lost in the cockpit and sometimes, equally heartbreaking, on the ground.”—New York Times Book Review “Keith O’Brien has brought these women—mostly long-hidden and forgotten—back into the light where they belong. And he’s done it with grace, sensitivity and a cinematic eye for detail that makes "Fly Girls" both exhilarating and heartbreaking.” —USA Today

“Mr. O’Brien, a former reporter for the Boston Globe working in the tradition of ‘Hidden Figures’ and ‘The Girls of Atomic City,’ has recovered a fascinating chapter not just in feminism and aviation but in 20th-century American history.” —Wall Street Journal

Author Bio

Keith O'Brien is an award-winning journalist, a former reporter for the Boston Globe, and a regular contributor to National Public Radio and Politico. He has written for the New York Times Magazine and reported stories for This American Life.