Before Amelia: Women Pilots in the Early Days of Aviation
Before Ameliais the remarkable story of the world’s women pioneer aviators who braved the skies during the early days of flight. While most books have only examined the women aviators of a single country, Eileen Lebow looks at an international spectrum of pilots and their influence on each other. The story begins with Raymonde de Laroche, a French woman who became the first licensed female pilot in 1909. De Laroche, Lydia Zvereva, Melli Beese, Hilda Hewlitt, Harriet Quimby, and the other women pilots profiled here rose above contemporary gender stereotypes and proved their ability to fly the temperamental heavier-than-air contraptions of the day.
Lebow provides excellent descriptions of the dangers and challenges of early flight. Crashes and broken bones were common, and many of the pioneers lost their lives. But these women were adventurers at heart. In an era when women’s professional options were severely limited and the mere sight of ladies wearing pants caused a sensation, these women succeeded as pilots, flight instructors, airplane designers, stunt performers, and promoters. This book fills a large void in the history of the first two decades of flight.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Written in a journalistic tone, with enthusiasm, this book is about the women that flew before 1916. In a side note, it gives abundant detail and insight about training methods and aviation life on those premier years. All of the women portrayed were indeed out of common. It's interesting (and inspiring) to read about them, and the connection of politics and reactions in a male-centric society. Even when facing the raw proof that there is nothing of different between women flying or men it still amazes the blindness and desire to refuse to accept it. A long road has indeed been strode to today in this respect (not everywhere it seems). For anyone interested in early aviation, the initial show business aviation circuit, operation and, off course, the women part in all of this, I heartily recommend getting this book.
Before Amelia: women pilots in the early days of aviationUser Review - Book Verdict
In the early days of aviation, the Wright Brothers refused to sell their airplanes to women because, in their opinion, women lacked the requisite "coolness and judgment" to fly. Despite such obstacles, a number of women in the first decades of flying managed to become accomplished pilots and to play various other roles in aviation. Lebow's book surveys the careers of these remarkable women, both in the United States and internationally. She looks at women such as Hilda Hewlett of England, who was not only a pilot but cofounded England's first aviation school in 1910 and produced her own line of aircraft. Lebow (A Grandstand Seat: The American Balloon Service in World War I) is an accomplished writer particularly adept at doing archival and historical research and then bringing it to life. Much of the attention in the area of women in aviation has gone to later figures, like Amelia Earhart, while the earlier pioneers of the pre-World War I era have been largely overlooked. Lebow's well-researched book fills that gap. It is engaging to read, with useful chapter notes and ample illustrations. Highly recommended for women's studies and aviation history collections. Charles Cowling, SUNY at Brockport Lib. ...