Adventure, excitement, and fearlessness take wing in the dramatic true story of the twenty aviatrixes who set off on the first Women's Cross-Country Air Derby. Readers will thrill to the feats of "the roaring twenty," the daredevil pilots who pioneered women's aviation in this 2800-mile race from Santa Monica, California, to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1929.
This cross-country odyssey was the first of its kind: nine days of grueling endurance that was dismissively dubbed the "Powder Puff Derby" by the press. Yet the American public was captivated.
The nation already knew and loved Amelia Earhart, and it soon warmed to such colorful characters as the cigar-smoking stunt flyer Florence Pancho Barnes, former wing-walker Phoebe Omlie, and New York society rebel Opal Kunz. The experienced adventurer Marvel Crosson was one of the early favoritesuntil her mysterious disappearance. Americans eagerly followed the daily drama, charmed, then shocked, as the race left a twisting trail of intrigue in its slipstream.
Relive the intense competition and the death-defying dangers: stormy weather, mechanical challenges, typhoid fever, and even the suspicion of sabotage. The views of a condescending and often hostile press are recounted, as well as the heroines' glamorous appearances at balls and banquets during their soaring nine-day escapade.
This real-life tale also provides a bird's-eye view of a feverish period in American social history, as women redefined their roles throughout the "roaring '20s" and the country partied through the Jazz Age before crashing back to Earth with the Depression.
Superbly illustrated with fifty evocative duotone photographs, and featuring a detailed National Geographic map of the route, this is a book to capture the imagination and dreams of young girls from coast to coast.
About the Author
Margaret Whitman Blair lives in Rockville, MD. A retired Peace Corps volunteer, she was formerly an international trade and business journalist in Washington, DC. Her previous books include three young adult titles about the Civil War.