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The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart Paperback – Sep 1 2009
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“Vividly evokes the tragic aspect of Amelia Earhart, as well as the moxie and grit of her personality and the hair-raising atmosphere of pioneering aviation.” ―New York Times Book Review
“The most carefully researched Earhart biography to date.” ―The Boston Herald
“A realistic, full-bodied portrait.” ―Booklist
“A monumental biography - Mary Lovell is the real thing: a biographer passionately interested in her subjects. She realises her material and retells with tremendous verve all the best stories.” ―The Times (UK)
About the Author
Mary S. Lovell is author of the international bestselling biography Straight on Till Morning: The Biography of Beryl Markham and other acclaimed biographies on Sir Richard Burton, Jane Digby, the Mitford Girls, Betty "Cynthia Pack", and Bess of Hardwick. She lives in Hampshire, England.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A fascinating read - funny that this definitive account of an American female legend was presented by a British writer!
STORY AND HER TERRIBLE LOSS. VISITING THE MUSEUM WAS A TRUE EXPERIENCE, WE WERE THE ONLY VISITORS AND IT WAS AMAZING. SHE WAS AN AMAZING WOMAN,
SO VERY FAR AHEAD OF HER TIME AND ITS SAD TO THINK SHE COULD HAVE CHANGED WOMENS' EXPERIENCE HAD SHE LIVED LONGER. WHO KNOWS WHAT SHE COULD HAVE ACCOMPLISHED. A MUST READ FOR THE AMELIA LOVER!
I had learned from other books that Amelia was not a born aviator and did not have the skill to really master a plane, especially such a large one as was used in her last flight. But this book made her deficiencies all too clear and they were considerable. She was careless about important facets such as navigation and communication, all of which played a part in her last terrible ordeal in the search for Howland Island. She could not shake her habit of pressing the wrong foot pedals when the plane pivots suddenly during a landing. Even to the end, her instructors could not break her of the habit. This no doubt accounts for some the crackups she experienced.
She was intrepid despite the fear she experienced during various accidents. Her courage is incontestable. But perhaps it went too far, into careless risk taking and an excess of ambition for title after title. However, that was her career. She made her living from adventure stories to be told on the lecture tours. And her husband George Putnam facilitated her increasingly ambitious efforts. I had never heard much good about Putnam and his pushing of his wife into risky endeavors. This book, though, is extremely favorable to him, often reiterating that he was simply facilitating what Amelia was determined to do.
I came away with a dislike of Putnam and his volatile temperament despite the virtues insisted upon by the author. As a minor point, I had not realized that he married again a year or two after Amelia's death.
I do not nor does the author believe that Amelia and the "forgotten" Noonan could have survived a plunge into the ocean from a thousand feet or so. There was a bulky piece of equipment protruding just in front of her head in a cabin space of four feet by four feet, all the space she had to sit in. A crash landing would have driven the insrument into her forehead at terrifying speed.
I came away with great respect for the instructors who guided Amelia through preparations for her various flights. Several were true masters of flying, more instinctive pilots than Amelia was. And they had real concern for her well being, for the radio capabilities and other arcane aspects of airplanes upon which her safety would depend. It is a pity that she ever began that last expedition (and the helpers and instructors probably would have concurred although they helped her as best they could when her mind was made up.) Her neglect and indifference in relation to methods of communication, just days before the adventure was to begin, reveal a tragic shortcoming in a heroic personality.
She was a product, in a sense, of the advertising skills first of various flight promoters (for commercial purposes) and then of her husband. Although there were other courageous and immensely skilled women flyers, some of whom, like Amelia, died tragically, she captured the public imagination like no others.
I have always liked Amelia Earhart. I pity her in those terrifying hours above the Pacific. I also believe her instinct to turn left instead of right played some part in causing her to miss Howland Island. (In Africa on the way out she had made the same turn and missed the place she was aiming for.) This book is for readers who want to understand how she came to be where she was, in the middle of an endless ocean searching desperately for a tiny island and knowing that her fuel was running out.
Lovell's well-researched approach shows up in her coverage of Amelia and the people in her life, Earhart's dedication to important and meaningful humanistic causes, and AE's decisions that set the fateful path for her short adult life - all of these pieces add up to a very complete picture of Amelia Earhart. This book is an inspiring read - recommended!
=Ronald D. Sieber, Ed.D.