Winged Victory

"All those who see me, and all who believe in me, share in the freedom I feel when I fly."

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Book Brief-ings by Julie Welch

Before Amelia: Women Pilots in the Early Days of Aviation
Brassey's Inc.
Eileen F. Lebow

While Amelia Earhart is one of the most celebrated and famous women in aviation, she was not the first woman to fly.

Eileen Lebow, in her book Before Amelia, gives us a glimpse into the women aviators that paved the pathway for future aviators like Amelia, all over the world. While many books on aviation only cover a single country or a time era, Lebow accounts for aviation events and figures from France, Russia, Germany, Great Britain and the United States. All of the women described have one characteristic in common- the spirit of adventure.

The detailed information throughout this book is impressive, including the appendix listing information about the key women in aviation, by country and time period.

Two of the American women profiled are Katherine Stinson and Ruth Law. These ladies were exceptional aviation performers, twenty years before Amelia Earhart came on the scene.

Their lives and accomplishments are given the credit that they deserve by Lebow , each in their own chapter. (Thhe earliest pilots from France, Germany, Russia and England are all covered in a chapter a piece.] Their awards and firsts in aviation are covered in combination with personal stories from their lives away from the sky. The reader completes this section with a sense of who these women were and a very clear understanding of the role that they played in aviation history.

An unusual insight into the aviation efforts in England are also covered by the author in a section called, "The English Catch the Bug." The life of Hilda Hewlett is profiled along with pictures and several other key English female aviators.

The most unique feature of this book is the integration of aviation's female world players with details of the time era, helping to put into perspective what these women may have faced in order to decide to try aviation. The cultural standards of the time and the pressures that women faced were unlike anything that women of this generation have to face. The global perspective found within this book is refreshing, giving us a broad viewpoint and understanding of aviation as a whole.

Table of Contents:

In the Beginning
L'Aéroplane est l´
[French pilots]
Vive les Femmes
[French pilots]
Den Tragocken Unseres Berufes
[German pilots]
The Imperial Eagle Sprouts New Wings
[Russian pilots]
The English Catch the Bug
[England pilots]
America Gets Wings
[American pilots]
Official Bird
[complete chapter on Harriet Quimby]
A Second Bird Takes to the Air [complete chapter on Matilde Moisant]
Star Quality [complete chapter on Katherine Stinson]
Superstar II [complete chapter on Ruth Law]
Little Sister [complete chapter on Marjorie Stinson]
More Rare Birds [more female pilots from around the world]
The Challenge is There [an exhortation for today's women to take to the skies]

All text © 2006 - 2008 Volcano Seven unless otherwise credited.
All illustrations retain original copyright.
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