Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History” as Want to Read:
Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  4,618 ratings  ·  845 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
...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fly Girls, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,618 ratings  ·  845 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
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
...more
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
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
...more
Julie
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
...more
Jean
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
Ed
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
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
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
KOMET
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
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
...more
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 Soirée
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
Jackballoon
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent history of an important subject.
Carrie
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.
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
...more
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.
Stephen
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aviation, women, history
"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
...more
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
Dara
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.
Nancy
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
...more
Krista
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
John Mccullough
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Ginny
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott  Hitchcock
3.5*'s

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!)
Debbie
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!
Karen Davis schwarz
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Very interesting subject. Lots of detail, unfortunately it just didnt keep my attention and I ended up skimming the last half
Camela
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This look at the daring women who set the stage for equality in the air was incredible. I am certain I would not have had the fortitude they displayed.
It was wonderful to learn the back stories of the women and how they rallied around each other.
Mellanee
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved this book. Amazing, brave, courageous, strong-willed women.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Mary Lib Saleh Eu...: Fly Girls 1 7 Oct 04, 2019 02:47PM  
Goodreads Choice ...: Fly Girls - July 2019 3 46 Jul 13, 2019 07:58AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers Who Helped Win World War II
  • The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers
  • A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II
  • The Library Book
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
  • Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Spy
  • Lost Roses (Lilac Girls, #2)
  • The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine who Outwitted America's Enemies
  • The Only Woman in the Room
  • The Lost Girls of Paris
  • The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
  • Lady Clementine
  • The Flight Girls
  • Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars
  • D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II
  • Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II
  • The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty
  • The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West
See similar books…

Related Articles

  Historian Alexis Coe's new book, You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington, arrived in U.S. bookstores in February. Coe i...
135 likes · 29 comments
“Others found jobs but got paid far less than men—a fact not lost on cash-strapped employers. It was, one employer said, the only real reason to hire women: “They produce more and demand less.” 1 likes
“She would be, she said, in the rustling of the leaves on the trees and the lazy drift of the clouds across the sky. She would be in the whispers on the wind, in the great blue horizon, and in the falling rain. “The hues of sunset will be a part of me,” Thaden said, “and the smell of flowers in the air. Contrails cut across God’s heavens will be the paths along which I walk—the drifting snowflakes, my caress—the morning sun, my confidence.” All her children had to do, she said, was close their eyes, and they would find her. They would feel her presence in the air.” 1 likes
More quotes…