Book Review: Inspiring Words for Sky and Space Women

Here we have a collection of stories about women pilots, an (almost) complete compilation of the sheroes who have blazed a trail across the skies for other women who aspire to the cockpit.

Inspiring Words for Sky and Space Women fills a major gap in our knowledge of women in the history of aviation. Most Americans, asked to name names of female aviators, can perhaps remember Amelia Earhart, possibly Jacqueline Cochran, or Sally Ride. This book highlights so many more women, and it’s good to see them finally getting their due.

Did you know author Patricia Cornwell is a helicopter pilot? Neither did I, and I’m a helicopter pilot! Did you know super-model Gisele Bundchen is a helicopter pilot? Me neither. Angelina Jolie, and Martha McSally, yep, pilots. Senator Tammy Duckworth is a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot, (and purple heart recipient)

Here are a few other obscure names in aviation, women who should be enshrined in pilot halls of fame, including a few who are enshrined there: Vernice Armour, first African-American female Marine pilot to fly a Cobra gunship; Beverly Bass, first female captain (of a 777) at American Airlines; Olive Ann Beech, co-founder and president of Beech Aircraft Corporation; Bessie Coleman, first licensed African-American woman pilot; Eileen Collins, first woman to command a shuttle mission on STS-63; Harriet Quimby, first American woman licensed to fly. The list goes on and on.

The author is dedicated to affirming young womens’ aspirations to fly, and she’s included a lengthy bibilography, and an extensive list of on-line resources aimed at that purpose. Any young person, especially young women, who dream of a life in the sky should read this book. The underlying theme, not just from Hamilton, but from several of her contributors is a message for any who doubt they can fly: ‘Yes you can!’

Only four stars because there’s no mention of Jerry Mock, the first woman to solo around the world, and also no mention of the author’s own personal journey to the cockpit.

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