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Wings and Rockets: The Story of Women in Air and Space
In telling the story of the first Powder Puff Derby, we learn of Amelia Earhart and her rivalry with Ruth Nichols and friendship with Jackie Cochran. She doesn’t dwell on Amelia’s disappearance.
Jackie Cochran’s story is as inspiring as any of the stories here, with her rise from extremely humble beginnings to her leadership of the WASP (Women’s Air Service Pilots). And finally, Atkins discusses the Mercury 13 - the 13 women who underwent tests during NASA’s race for the moon, and then Shannon Lucid and Eileen Collins.
Excellent except for a few minor quibbles
First, the book doesn’t have any photos. There are quite a few illustrations which are pleasant enough, but illustrations belong in books of fiction, not non-fiction.
As Atkins herself points out, she’s chosen to focus only on American pilots, so the dozens of European women who flew from 1910 onward aren’t mentioned.
There are a couple of omissions. For example, Bessie Coleman was indeed thrown out of her plane…but she was not the pilot of it at the time, a fact which Atkins omits in her comments. Jackie Cochran was indeed the leader of the WASP, but she forced out Nancy Harkness Love to do it.
The WASP are always referred to, incorrectly, as the WASPs, which is redundant. Atkins makes that error a couple of times.
However, these are very minor quibbles, and overall this book is an excellent starting point to get young girls interested in aviation.
Here’s the table of contents for Wings and Rockets:
Dreams and Beginnings (1903-1926)
The First Woman’s Cross-Country Air Race (1929)
Friendships and War (1932-1944)
How High Can We Go - Women in Space (1960-1999)
A note from the author
All text © 2006, 2007 Volcano Seven unless otherwise credited.
All illustrations retain original copyright.
Please contact us with any concerns as to correct attribution.
Any questions, comments or concerns contact Volcano Seven.