Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History

More than 80 years after Amelia Earhart's mysterious disappearance, she continues to hold a place among the world's most famous women. What isn't as well known is that Earhart was part of a group of brave, high-achieving and largely forgotten female pilots--fly girls.

A fly girl is "a term used in the 1920s to describe female pilots and, more broadly, young women who refused to live by the old rules, appearing bold and almost dangerous as a result." These fearless women, who came from vastly different backgrounds, included Florence Klingensmith, Ruth Elder, Louise Thaden and Ruth Nichols. Each saw flying as a chance to prove that women could compete equally in a high-stakes, life-or-death environment.

Journalist Keith O'Brien's (Outside Shot) compelling narrative soars as he explores the business of competitive air races in the 1920s and '30s, complete with promoters and wealthy investors who recognized that women pilots would generate intense interest. As they competed in the face of tragedy and discrimination, the female pilots learned the importance of keeping a united front and supporting each other. The bravery, courage and determination of the fly girls provides inspiration for modern times. --Melissa Firman, writer, editor and blogger

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