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The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart [Paperback]

Mary S. Lovell
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2009

When Amelia Earhart mysteriously disappeared in 1937 during her attempted flight around the world, she was already known as America's most famous female aviator. Her sense of daring and determination, rare for women of her time, brought her insurmountable fame from the day she became the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airplane. In this definitive biography, Mary S. Lovell delivers a brilliantly researched account on Earhart’s life using the original documents, letters, the logbooks of Earhart and her contemporaries, and personal interviews with members of Amelia's family, friends and rival aviators The Sound of Wings vividly captures the drama and mystery behind the most influential woman in “The Golden Age of Flight”—from her tomboy days at the turn of the century and her early fascinations with flying, to the unique relationship she shared with G.P. Putnam, the flamboyant publisher and public relations agent who became both her husband and her business manager. It is a revealing biography of an uncommonly brave woman, and the man who both aided and took advantage of her dreams.


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From Publishers Weekly

This biography probes the promotional machinery that publicized her feats when Earhart was alive and gave rise to years of fantastic speculation and false hope about her fate after her disappearance in 1937. "The book offers a colorful dimension to the Earhart story by focusing on her publicist husband the flamboyant George P. Putnam who, at least as presented here, is more interesting than the aviatrix herself," reported PW. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Both of these new biographies on Earhart are exceedingly well-researched and clearly written. Although they have the same biographical intent, they differ in their approach. Rich emphasizes Earhart's flying career and the stories and personalities behind her accomplishments. Hers is a scholarly account of Earhart's life, highlighting her goals, enthusiasm, and competitive pioneer spirit. Lovell, also author of Straight on Till Morning: The Biography of Beryl Markham ( LJ 9/15/87), delves more into the personalities of Earhart and George Palmer Putnam, her media-wise husband. Earhart's personality and character and the relationships with family and friends as they contributed to her accomplishments are the main thrust. The book also contains excerpts from Last Flight , Earhart's reworked logbook and notes on the fateful 1937 flight. Both books detail her life and the theories of her disappearance. They also clearly address Earhart's legacy: to dream what seems to be unattainable goals and then to acquire the skills and have the desire and determination to achieve them. Also, while Earhart is known today for her flying career and her mysterious disappearance, these books show her to be an early advocate of women's rights, equality, and world peace, who used her fame to help promote them. Both books are highly recommended; Lovell's book will appeal more to general readers. Lovell's book is a Literary Guild selection and Doubleday Book Club alternate.
- Ed. --William A. McIntyre, New Hampshire Vocational-Technical Coll. Lib., Nashua
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
(by E.M. Singer, author of "Mother Flies Hurricanes")This well-written, thoroughly researched biography of Amelia Earhart focuses more on her life than on her death, which is what she would have wanted anyway. It debunks certain time-held assumptions about Earhart's personal and professional life, and sheds new light on her character and relationships. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Lovell holds that Amelia's husband, George Putnam, was not a manipulative, self-aggrandizing promoter who drove her to her death. There was genuine affection and mutual respect in their marriage. Though their relationship was not free from tension and cross-purposes, Amelia drew inspiration and support from him to realize her dreams. A good chunk of Lovell's book is a biography of George himself, and don't skip it-he's a fascinating person in his own right. The Sound of Wings also presents a fascinating picture of Amelia's early years: her half-idyllic, half-traumatic childhood, and her desperate seeking for inner peace and a place in the world. The author expounds unsparingly, yet tenderly, on Amelia's flaws, demons, and scars. She also gives a clear-sighted and balanced assessment of the various theories for Earhart's disappearance, yet does not allow it to overshadow her life. For more recommendations on books about women pilots, visit the motherflieshurricanes[...] website.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Biography of Earhart to Date Dec 15 2003
Format:Paperback
I've read a dozen or so biographies of Amelia Earhart, and Lovell's is by far the best. It is the most comprehensive, the most thoroughly researched, and best written of the lot. Lovell doesn't stoop to speculation or rumor in place of facts. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography of Amelia Earhart June 19 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This well researched and intelligent book on Amelia Earhart makes a first class biography
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling April 8 2007
By KAH - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have always wanted to read a biography of Amelia Earhart and, after searching various reviews, I learned that this biography is judged by many to be the best. I can wholeheartedly support this recommendation. Mary Lovell does an excellent job of 'getting under the skin' of both of her main characters: Amelia and George Putnam. She presents a completely fair and level-headed account of both of their lives allowing just enough commentrary into her narrative to enable one to conclude that, yes, maybe Amelia wasn't the best woman flier of her generation, but she was certainly the bravest. And, yes, she was pushed forward into the limelight by George but it was Amelia who wanted to be there in that limelight. I came away from this gripping narrative feeling alternately an enduring admiration for Amelia and her bravery, and an underlying pity for her because it seems to me that a lot of her drive arose from feelings of low self-worth arising from growing-up with a loser, alcoholic father. Maybe, like a lot of brave and famous people, she was driven to succeed by low feelings of self worth and was never really happy. That is a sad thought. In any event, she did a huge favour for the female sex in making them realize that their dreams could be realized. It was notable female figures like Amelia, along with the impact that the second world war had on women in the workforce, that changed the history of women forever.

A fascinating read - funny that this definitive account of an American female legend was presented by a British writer!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging look at a complex woman and the man she loved April 5 2003
By E.M. Singer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
(by E.M. Singer, author of "Mother Flies Hurricanes")This well-written, thoroughly researched biography of Amelia Earhart focuses more on her life than on her death, which is what she would have wanted anyway. It debunks certain time-held assumptions about Earhart's personal and professional life, and sheds new light on her character and relationships. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Lovell holds that Amelia's husband, George Putnam, was not a manipulative, self-aggrandizing promoter who drove her to her death. There was genuine affection and mutual respect in their marriage. Though their relationship was not free from tension and cross-purposes, Amelia drew inspiration and support from him to realize her dreams. A good chunk of Lovell's book is a biography of George himself, and don't skip it-he's a fascinating person in his own right. The Sound of Wings also presents a fascinating picture of Amelia's early years: her half-idyllic, half-traumatic childhood, and her desperate seeking for inner peace and a place in the world. The author expounds unsparingly, yet tenderly, on Amelia's flaws, demons, and scars. She also gives a clear-sighted and balanced assessment of the various theories for Earhart's disappearance, yet does not allow it to overshadow her life. For more recommendations on books about women pilots, visit the motherflieshurricanes[...] website.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 1st Lady of Flight. Oct. 29 2009
By Charles E. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from cover to cover. No detail was spared in the writing of "The Sound..."

The book covered Amelia Earhart's life from birth to her ill-fated final journey.

Amelia Earhart was instrumental in introducing women to flying and taking them out of their 2nd class citizenry.

The author sparred no details and captured what life was like in those times. The flying pioneer's life was chronicled with all of her loves and her refusal to accept 2nd best.

Her husband, George Putnam, was given (rightly) the credit for making Amelia Earhart a household name.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written, all inclusive biography.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable Dec 20 2010
By Burgundy Damsel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When picking up "The Sound of Wings" in search of a biography of Ms. Earhart, I assumed it would be as sufficient as any other - what I found instead was a tour de force of the life and times that created an aviation legend.

Despite the famous names, daring exploits and record breaking endeavors that fill its pages, the most remarkable thing about this work is the author's mastery of her trade. Intensive research and perhaps the most skillful use of primary sources that I've ever encountered are balanced by Ms. Lovell's tact and graceful handling of her subject. She neither shies away from nor sensationalizes the intrigues, betrayals, heartbreaks and triumphs of Amelia and her husband George Palmer Putnam. Her judicious tone carries throughout the book, bringing these and other historic celebrities to life in honest and very human terms.

I was continuously astonished by how little I actually knew about this aviatrix who has been a household name since decades before I was born. I was just as appalled by the number of commonly accepted "facts" that were nothing more speculation, rumor, bitter lies spread by opponents or the result of carefully crafted publicity campaigns.

Perhaps one of most impressive aspects of this work was the author's ability to keep people and events grounded in the greater framework of the national and international events unfolding around them. Readers follow Amelia and her contemporaries not only through both world wars and the Depression, but through the technological and avian advances occurring in leaps and bounds around them, actively shaping and reshaping their lives and adventures.

I have never been one to follow an author, but Ms. Lovell may start in me that habit! I highly recommend this work, even if you have little specific interest in aviation. With the mentions that Amelia Earhart continues to receive even now, you will find plenty to rivet your attention here.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Biography of Earhart to Date Dec 15 2003
By Sammie Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've read a dozen or so biographies of Amelia Earhart, and Lovell's is by far the best. It is the most comprehensive, the most thoroughly researched, and best written of the lot. Lovell doesn't stoop to speculation or rumor in place of facts. Highly recommended.
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