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Amelia – A Life of the Aviation Legend
by Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon
Publisher: Potomac Books, Inc.
Address:

P.O. Box 605, Herndon, VA 20172-0605

Web Site: www.potomacbooksinc.com
Price:
 $16.95
Copyright:
 2007
Binding:  Paperback Height:

 9.00

Width:

 6.00

Pages:  352 No. Photos:
 30 B&W
ISBN:
978-1-57488-1

Goldstein and Dillon take a look at the oft’ published life of Amelia Earhart from the perspective of previously unpublished materials, much generated by the late Captain Laurence F. Safford, USN (Ret.) and John F. Luttrell, two different men who, for different reasons, accumulated in-depth research data on Amelia’s life and disappearance (one had military involvement in the communications equipment installed on Howland Island, where Amelia was to land; the other materials regarding the particulars of the plane’s disappearance).

Amelia explores the childhood of the pioneer aviatrix, delving into the personalities of her parents, Edwin Earhart and Amy Otis, and her sister, Muriel. Goldstein and Dillon pull from extensive book and newsprint publications to impart sometimes excruciating details of family events (we learn, for example, the Japanese lanterns lighting the Amy’s coming-out party on the lawn were spaced ten feet apart), but enlightens us also on the considerable technical, social and political elements that comprised Amelia’s environment.

The book is broken into three segments- Part I – Takeoff, Part II - High Flight, and Part III – Flight and Mystery. The three logically describe her background, and her impetus into the uncharted field of aviation, her ongoing promotion of aviation following her Friendship flight through lectures and more record-breaking flights (‘just for the fun of it’) and ending with a detailed technical and personal review of her last flight, ending in mystery over the Pacific.

The authors show us the public Amelia, but also the personal factors that directed her, such as her long-time financial support of her mother and sister, and friendships with such notables as Eleanor Roosevelt, wife to President Franklin Delanor Roosevelt.

The authors do not attempt to solve the mystery of Amelia’s last flight, but do provide detailed technical elements of her Lockheed Electra’s preparations, setup arrangements with airport logistics en route, and finally extensive discussions of the flawed communications efforts, both civil and military between the Electra and designated support functions, prior to and following the plane’s disappearance (notes refer to the radio logs for the Itasca, the designated Navy signal ship, for example). The glossary was handy, when picking up the book after a week’s absence, to correctly place a public figure referred to earlier in the book.

The book is an absorbing read, if you’re interested in the detailed aspects of Amelia and her flying career. The Index and Glossary will make this a valuable research tool for others who follow in the collection of knowledge regarding Amelia and her tremendous impact on the aviation community then, and now.

Jerri Bergen

 

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