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Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
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Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  5,977 ratings  ·  1,003 reviews
The untold story of five women who fought to compete against men in the high-stakes national air races of the 1920s and 1930s — and won
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
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Mariner Books
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Becky B This is the adult version of the book. There is a young reader's edition that is aimed at the middle grade crowd (Amazon has it listed as a target aud…moreThis is the adult version of the book. There is a young reader's edition that is aimed at the middle grade crowd (Amazon has it listed as a target audience of 5th-7th grades) and would be perfect for 6th grade.(less)

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Katie B
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

I love reading about the female aviators in the early days of aviation who were so brave and faced so many obstacles in attempting to show that females were as fully capable at flying as the men. Without these female pioneers it would have taken even longer to have female pilots in the military and working for commercial airlines. And astronaut Sally Ride might have had to wait awhile or miss her chance altogether in becoming the first American woman in space. It truly is nothing short
Valerity (Val)
I really enjoyed this book about the world of flying during the 1920’s and 30’s in America and how women pilots were at such a disadvantage compared to the men. Flying really grew during that period, with so many more pilots being licensed and planes being built than before. Mostly male pilots, but certainly more females too. The book took a look mostly at 5 women pilots, such as Amelia Earhart and others you aren’t as likely to know but are just as interesting once you get to know them. Flying ...more
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss, nonfiction
4 heroic stars

This was a story of five brave women who decided that they were more than capable to compete in the man's world of airplane races. Meet the

Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History

Florence Klingensmith, Ruth Elder, Amelia Earhart, Ruth Nichols, and Louise Thaden were, some would say, people born before their time. However, most of us would say these women were the stuff of dreams, of a life fulfilled by the joy of stepping out into a place where wo
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I felt truly bereft when the book ended. What a thrilling ride! It was amazing to learn of the obstacles these intrepid and persistent aviators overcame to achieve their dream of flight.
Update: 12/4/18. I enjoyed this book so much that I recommended it to my husband. One of his heroes is Amelia Earhart, so, I had a strong inkling that he would enjoy it. This is what he said, "I think it is a really well written book about the struggles groups of society face when trying to pursue their ambition
Jennifer Mangler
I was so looking forward to this book, which makes the disappointment I feel after reading it even greater. I've always found the stories of the early female pilots fascinating, and was hoping that a book that focused on them collectively would help me get to know them even more and maybe even in a new light. No such luck. Perhaps the book would be better titled Basic Info About the Fly Girls You Could Get Anywhere and More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About the Men Behind the Scenes. Because th ...more
I enjoyed reading this book about five women pioneers of aviation. They are as follows: Louise McPhetridge Thaden (1905-1979) first female to win the Bendix Trophy. Ruth Rowland Nichols (1901-1960) held simultaneous world records for speed, altitude and distance. Ruth Elder (1902-1977) was an actress. Elder held many speed and distance records. Florence Klingensmith (1904-1933) was the first women to have a pilot’s license in North Dakota. She did lots of racing derbies and set speed records. Am ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I liked reading this colorful, engrossing account of the early women aviators. Amelia Earhart is the only one of them who is still remembered. They often clashed with the men aviators. Having worked in the aerospace industry, I liked their different stories of flying and airplanes. One thing standing out was how dangerous and risky the occupation was. The writing is easy to follow, and the author's use of details brings the story and characters alive for me. I like a change of pace in my reading ...more
This book sheds light on the unsung contributions made by women pilots to aviation between 1927 and 1937, a time often referred to as the Golden Age of Aviation. Its focus is on 5 women aviators of the 1920s and 1930s (i.e., Louise Thaden, Florence Klingensmith, Ruth Elder, Amelia Earhart, and Ruth Nichols, whose pilot license was signed by Orville Wright himself) and their struggles to gain acceptance and respect in the field of aviation. Aviation in its early days was considered more of a "man ...more
Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
During World Wars I and II, aviation advanced at a record pace, from sheer necessity. Between the wars, aviation was left to the daredevils who barnstormed and raced and showed off. Among those daredevils were several women, yes, Amelia Earhart for one, but a few you may not have heard of -- Ruth Elder, Ruth Nichols, Florence Klingensmith, and Louise Thaden. There were others, but Keith O'Brien focuses on these five in Fly Girls as the most interesting, and the ones who stuck it out the longest. ...more
Ron Wroblewski
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book about the top women flyers in the 1920s and 1920s. Concentrates on 5 women who broke the male barrier and set records. I only knew about Amelia Earhart, and the careers of the others was fascinating. Discusses the obstacles they faced, the successes they had and the crashes and failures they faced. A must read, especially for aviators.
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...
I have to admit: I was more excited about this book than I have been about any in a very long time. Flying is my thing. I was lucky enough to be part of a flight crew during my time in the Air Force. And growing up int he 1970s I thought I wanted to be a flight attendant -- because I thought that was my only flight option as a girl. I was always fascinated with journeying the skies and traveling the world. So, these women are true personal heroes to me.

And it was a fun read which I enjoyed quite
Karen Nelson
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it
A great history of the early years of women aviators and their quest for validity in a misogynistic era. It was exceptionally well researched, but so many story lines detracted, for me, from the whole pleasure of reading. This is once again, an author trying to do too much in one book.
Literary Redhead
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My undergrad degree is in American history and I was thrilled to learn more about women’s little known impact on this era of our past. Engagingly told through the stories of five gutsy women ... including Amelia Earhart, who, surprisingly, was not the best pilot. Left me cheering!

Thanks to the author, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine.

#FlyGirls #NetGalley
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent history of an important subject.
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reader, I cried. I'd like to write a full review, but it'll take me a couple days to sort out my thoughts. ...more
Melissa O'Harra
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fly Girls – How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
By Keith O’Brien
Release Date: August 7, 2018

Pop quiz time: Who was the first woman to take the male-dominated aviation world by storm and flip it over on its side?

Do you have your answer?

I’ll wait…

If you are like me and likely thousands (millions?) of others, the first name to pop into your head is likely Amelia Earhart. Earhart has long been regaled as the queen of aviation. Her life is chronicled in every history book
Carol Turner
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This "good" book could have been excellent. Unfortunately, O'Brien is of the "just the facts, ma'am" school and failed to make any of the women come to life. While they, and most of the people who knew them, are long gone, surely someone's diary captured the real women who gave up so much just to fly. ...more
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, aviation, women
"Women must try to do things as men have tried. Where they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others." - Amelia Earhart, 1937

The subtitle is a bit of an oversell, but Fly Girls honors five pioneers of aviation, most of whom died while trying to push the envelope. Amelia Earhart is the only one of their number who has any name recognition today, disappearing as she did while trying to accomplish the first trans-pacific solo flight. She'd previously been the first to fly solo from the
Ann Goldman
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it
OK, they were all nuts! The men. The women. All of them. But they sure make for an interesting story. I was moved, infuriated, excited, curious, astonished. And in parts, I was terribly bored. Hence the three stars. I admire the author for his research, but the book felt much longer than a few hundred pages. Too many minor details crowding out the transcendent moments. But, I am glad to have learned of these daring women and to know their names. I will remember them. (Even though they really wer ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing true stories of brave, groundbreaking, women pilots! I didn’t want to put it down. I’ve read several good books about early aviation but little about the women. This book was packed with interesting information and did an amazing job of highlighting this exciting and controversial time. You get to know each woman and experience the passion and dedication that drives them to try something that was unchartered and dangerous. There are great achievements, sacrifices, and often tragedy. They ...more
Rachel Bonar
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Journalist Keith O'Brien tells a fascinating story of the brave and determined women of the 1920's and 30's who were aviation pioneers.

This is not a subject I have any interest in, yet the book drew me in because of the clear and colorful portraits O'Brien drew of his five featured women. And, because of their strength and resolve to be taken seriously in a very exclusive, male-dominated club.

They participated in the very popular air races of the 1920's, often handicapped by a lack of sponsorshi
Apr 08, 2019 rated it liked it
While I didn’t find this book riveting, I was intrigued and happy to learn more about the women aviators who were activists, feminists, and fought for aviation rights. These women fought for their aviation rights and put up with a lot from the male aviators, the community, and, much like women today, were held to a standard of having a single female in this position speak for the entirety. “From the beginning, all the women had been connected,...building on one another’s successes, saddled with ...more
Shannon Yarbrough
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I LOVED this book. It has increased my flight anxiety somewhat due to detailed descriptions of crashes, but I’m swelling with appreciation for the sacrifices early aviators made, especially these women, most of whom I didn’t know. Their courage and skill and resourcefulness and general bad-assery is so inspiring. Many thanks to the author for bringing these incredible stories back to life.
John Mccullough
The first third of the 20th century saw an amazing development in transportation – the airpane. Planes played an exciting but minor role in The Great War, with ever more powerful engines and aerodynamic engineering making daily progress. By the 20’s, there were a wide variety of airplanes in development and air races became some of the most exciting – and profitable – spectacles for people to enjoy. Initially, men completely dominated the racing field, but the siren call of glory and money soon ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Siobhan Ward
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was really good and so, so heartbreaking.

I knew that the early history of aviation was full of disaster and tragedy, but boy did this book ever make it clear how much there was. I loved learning about the different women throughout, and their journeys, but so much of it was so sad.

I really enjoyed learning more about Amelia Earhart, but also all her contemporaries. The biggest draw back to this book was that there was a lot of detail about different models of plane. While I get that t
Scott  Hitchcock

Amazing just how unsafe flying was no matter your gender. The air races were riddled with pilots who were out of races upon takeoff and nearly every race seeing a fatality.

I really liked learning about these women beside Earhart who gets most of the notoriety like Lindbergh because of the transatlantic flight. Their struggles, comradery and compassion for each other while still being competitors was compelling.
Allison Anderson Armstrong
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really interesting, a bit sad in many sections, but cool to read about the many women (besides Amelia Earhart) who were brave airplane flyers. (Although they had to have a little bit of stupid in them to fly those death traps!)
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was great! I really enjoy aviation and I think this is a very well researched and written tale of the early years of flight and women's places in it. The excuses of why the women were not capable of piloting a plane were actually, sadly funny.
I don't re-read, but this might be an exception because of the whole scope of the book.
It is so worth the reading time!
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Manske Library's ...: Fly Girls - Discussion Questions 1 5 Aug 26, 2020 11:04AM  
Manske Library's ...: What's in a name? 1 4 Aug 17, 2020 12:27PM  
Manske Library's ...: The Fly Girls 1 3 Aug 10, 2020 02:34PM  
Mary Lib Saleh Eu...: Fly Girls 1 9 Oct 04, 2019 02:47PM  
Goodreads Choice ...: Fly Girls - July 2019 3 50 Jul 13, 2019 07:58AM  

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