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Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  124 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Glamour, danger, liberation: in a Mad Men–era of commercial flight, Pan Am World Airways attracted the kind of young woman who wanted out, and wanted up

Required to have a college degree, speak two languages, and possess the political savvy of a Foreign Service officer, a jet-age stewardess serving on iconic Pan Am between 1966 and 1975 also had to be between 5′3" and 5′9"
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 2nd 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Esta Montano
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In 1979 I became a flight attendant for Pan Am, The ten years that I spent traveling the world were perhaps the most exciting of my life, and by far the greatest learning experience I have every had. The airline's demise was devastating for us and many of us remain connected through Facebook pages. A number of books have been written by flight attendants, (including Pan Am flight attendants), and most of these have been on the frivolous side.

When I saw Come Fly the World on NetGalley, I immedia
Mar 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, netgalley
Landing in bookstores today.


This book not only takes an interesting look at the lives and lifestyles of Pan Am stewardesses in the 60s and 70s but also at the world at large during that time.

The Vietnam War and the fight for equal female rights are most prominently covered. And, perhaps a little surprisingly, the three stewardesses through whose eyes we mainly see this story unfold had been largely involved in both.

The author, over the span of five years, has conducted several interviews with fi
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Focusing on the Pan Am Airline, Julia Cooke takes a deep dive into the back stories, dreams, and experiences of a handful of their flight attendants. All were hired just before or early in the Vietnam era and the rise of the iconic 747. I loved reading their stories and the ways they dealt with discrimination while also doing their jobs well. The three most heavily covered were also a part of the Vietnam flights for soldiers and the Babylift project. Seeing that time from their perspective is a ...more
eBook Giveaway Win!
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found the cover of this book misleading in what was between the covers. I thought it was going to be a light, gossipy read. A Coffee, Tea, or Me kind of book.

Boy, was I wrong. This is a fascinating dissertation of the real lives of Pan Am stewardesses in a time that was very different for women. I lived during those times so I knew them well.

I couldnt get enough of this book. The Vietnam stories were hard to read because I remember those years so vividly. The stewardess played a big part in o
lori light
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
***thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book***

Wow! I was drawn to this book because of the cover and the title. I'm a 15-year flight attendant and have always loved to read stories of the days when the job was glamorous. I thought it would be a fun read for these horrible times, especially with all the mask policing I'm doing at work these days. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for with this book.

I am floored by how much education I've gained from this book. I had no idea
Sandra "Jeanz"
Feb 14, 2021 rated it liked it
I love the cover! It has a really glam, yet retro look to it. It brings to mind all the great things you associate with air hostesses. This cover certainly attracts your eye to it and encouraged me to think that the book would be from the point of view or at least solely about air hostesses.

The book does follow a few women, Karen, Lynne and Tori being the ones that stay in my mind. All these women have to fit/fill certain expectations such as weight and looks which would most likely be frowned u
William Harris
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading a delightful book entitled "Come Fly the World: The Jet Age Story of the Women of Pan Am," by Julia Cooke. I wish to extend my gratitude to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for making an electronic ARC available to me for review. Many of you are aware that there has been a great deal of interest in Pan American Airlines per se as well as the women who made careers as stewardesses during the 50's, 60' and 70's. Perspectives and narrative approaches have varied widely, and I have ...more
Olga Tokarczuk writes in her most celebrated novel Flights: “Fluidity, mobility, illusoriness-these are precisely the qualities that make us civilized. Barbarians don't travel. They simply go to destinations or conduct raids.” True to her message, many of us might not have realized how our daily lives are now shaped by the rise of the modern way of travelling: by plane. About a century ago, it was unthinkable how hyperconnected our world could be and how we could be in two vastly different place ...more
Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
For those of you, like me who are fascinated by historical events, the evolution of the aviation industry, and specifically the seemingly glamorous days of flying on a Pan Am flight, this book is for you.

I can cite several things that drew me into these topics - does anyone remember the Gwyneth Paltrow movie, View from the Top? Or what about that scene in Gilmore Girls where Lorelei gets the Pan Am stewardess bag? Are you obsessed with Mad Men? Or, in school, did you start in the Women of Locker
At 3% in I realized that this story was going to be fast. It took me a minute to believe it was a memoir/nonfiction read though, it reads like a "based on a true story" read. That is not bad, and I'll give it a high 3.5 stars for the story, but it gets rounded down to a 3 because of the pacing. It's a tad slow for my liking, but nonetheless, a good story. I really enjoy historical reads, I think more so now that stories are starting to happen closer to my *gasp* birth year. If you liked Mad Men ...more
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you Goodreads for letting me win this book. This was a good read. I didn’t read it verbatim but I did learn about women in the airline industry. I will definitely recommend for my Library get a copy of this book.
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had the opportunity to review an advance copy of Come Fly the World, and I recommend that you go out and get a copy when it's published on March 2, 2021.

Come Fly the World is a fascinating look at the world of flight attendants in a more glamorous age, although that age clearly was more challenging on a number of levels. Women took on the role of flight attendant ("stewardess" back then) for many reasons, among them the freedom to travel and see the world, personal independence, and the opport
Erin Loranger
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The description of this book was immediately appealing to me and I was expecting a very light read about the early years of air travel and behind-the-scenes- stories of flight attendants from that era. I was surprised and delighted that it was so much more. Author Julia Cooke found a very interesting way to follow the career trajectories of a handful of Pa
Amanda Mae
Dec 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent read. Not only a brief history of Pan Am flight attendants, but aviation in general. Lots of fun trivia about uniforms and training and routes. The author follows a few actual stewardesses through their careers in the 60s and 70s, involving the Vietnam baby lift and women’s rights and politics both domestic and abroad. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and can’t wait to tell my former Pam Am flight attendant aunt about it!
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The bubbly looking cover may lead reader to believe this is a tell all about the life of a stewardess - salacious stories of famous passengers, men in every port, and dealing with strange people. But there have been plenty of those 'memoirs' written and this is a different animal altogether: a thoroughly researched view of Pam Am's stewardesses as told through three individuals with the emphasis on the historic milieu
3 Things About This Book
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
Pan Am was living its last days when I was born, so I didn't get to experience Pan Am glory. But one thing lived on: Pan Am girls! Their glory beating that of Pan Am itself was something that was talked about even year's after company's dissolution. Even today when I dress up certain way and people jokingly ask "when is your next flight?", I tell them I took a page from Pan Am girls' book. They were the highlight of the flight industry. Now looking back though all I can see is how they were obje ...more
Mar 01, 2021 rated it liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a DRC of this book!

All I know about the golden age of flying is from the movies and TV shows. And as we all know, Hollywood often doesn't exactly tell the truth. So I was eager to learn more about the stewardesses of this age, known for their glamour and somewhat loose morals. Come Fly the World delivered.

Come Fly the World is the story of the stewardesses of Pan Am airlines, an airline that flew exclusively international flights and was the leader of
Come Fly the World details the history of flight attendants. The jazzy cover and description grabbed my attention. I love air travel and enjoy the history of women in the workforce, so this seemed like a great read. I thought the content was excellent, but the delivery fell flat for me. I wanted to like this book so much. I'd read a bit, think the narrative was fascinating (plane hijackers, hot pants and fishnets, and EEOC lawsuits!), and then lose attention/want to put the book down because not ...more
Mary Lins
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: complete
“Come Fly the World”, by Julia Cooke, is a fascinating look at the early days of “stewardess-ing”, specifically for Pan Am. Cooke follows several young women and recounts their experiences. My daughter has been a SWA Flight Attendant for over 20 years, and I know a lot has changed about the position, but I imagine a lot has stayed the same, as well.

Cooke follows several real women as they decide to become “Air Hostesses” and we follow their careers and highly unique experiences. This is a way o
Jade aka MrsTosh
Feb 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, memoir
On first seeing the beautiful retro cover for this book I thought this would be a tongue and cheek retelling of adventures of hostesses working for the glamourous Pan Am airlines, boy was I wrong. Whilst it does follow the story of a few ladies working from the company between 1966 and 1975 they did so much more that just these women were amazing. Facing prejudice and discrimination in a time where most women were stay at home wives and mothers and had limited job opportunities, these women help ...more
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
*I was given early access to this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I was really interested in picking up Come Fly The World by Julia Cook, which focuses on Pan Am flight attendants (referred to at the time and in the book as stewardesses), because I wanted to get a deeper look into the lives of these women who I've only really seen in Mad Men like depictions and sexist ads from the time. And boy was I not disappointed! Julia Cook's writing style is very easy to read and draws
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
Come Fly the World by Julia Cooke centers on the Stewardesses (Clare, Tori, Lynne, and Karen) of Pan Am starting in the late 1960s when air travel was beginning to be more accessible and depicted a hip, jet-setting lifestyle. The rampant sexism noted is cringe worthy but unfortunately, completely expected. That said I did really enjoy learning about the training these women went through - simpler, domestic type things like how to carve a roast while in flight (what?) to keeping calm during a hos ...more
Donna Boyd
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication. Come Fly the World: the Jet Age Story of the Women of Pan Am by Julia Cooke is a very interesting, behind the scenes look at what being a stewardess was like back in the day when they were called flight attendants. There were no male stewards and a black stewardess was not very common. During the mid 60's and 70s it was an exciting time to be a stewardess. You were paid w ...more
Mary G.
Pan Am Airlines invited passengers to come fly the world - although they weren't the only US airline to fly internationally, they specialized in routes to Europe, Africa, and Asia. I was only 2 years old when the last Pan Am flight flew, and I really knew nothing about Pan Am before picking up this book.

Don't let the cool cover image fool you - this book is not a scandalous tell-all (although there are some juicy moments!) Instead, Julia Cook interweaves the stories of stewardess like Lynne, To
Back in the 1960s when I was in 5th grade, our teacher gave us an assignment of doing a short skit showing what we could be doing in a future career. A classmate and I were given the career of stewardesses. The only thing I remember about our skit is we brought in props to serve passengers a meal, and the teacher told us our cutlery placement was all wrong. So much for my short-lived career as a stewardess. But I was a born homebody, so I didn’t have one thought in my head of growing up to be a ...more
I honestly wasn’t sure what I was going to get with this book as it was a “read now” book available on NetGalley and was very pleasantly surprised. Each chapter of the book followed a real Pan Am stewardess on her journey with the company. It covered everything from the hiring process, day to day life, to the airline’s involvement with the Vietnam War. Some things I knew, like the strict rules for who could be hired and what rules the women had to live by. Some things I learned, like the details ...more
Janilyn Kocher
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Remember when stewardesses were called that and had to wear skirts, be a certain weight, and had to be single? Come Flythe World embarks on the experiences of women who worked for Pan Am. It was fascinating to read about the history and several extended personal stories of women who played integral roles in the jet age. I enjoyed reading about the opportunities afforded to these women, but also about the legal battles they had To endure as the world changed in the late 60’s-70s. Several,chapters ...more
Mar 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Far from being a story about the glamor of the "jet-age", this well-researched book is about some of the very independent and educated women who became stewardesses for Pan Am when it was the premiere airline. I found it very interesting because I've flown for a major carrier for the past 35 years, but I never realized the contribution flight attendants made toward equality for women and in changing the thinking of modern culture in the roll of women in society. I also never really knew how invo ...more
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
Huge thank you to HMH and netgally for this ARC - which I received for free on exchange for my honest review.

I loved this book, until the last 20%, where it started to drag. But overall it was increasing my interesting to read about the lives of women during the early decades of flight. It wasn’t just about flight attendants, it was about how much women’s rights laws and social ideas about women have changed, and how much we still have to do. It also looks at the Vietnam war, which was a traves
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