Book of the week – Come Fly the World by Julia Cooke (Icon books, April 2021)
Flying seems a distant memory for many of us just now – what better escapist read than a book that evokes the golden age of air travel?
In Come Fly the World, Julia Cooke presents an exhilarating portrait of the lives and careers of the Pan Am stewardesses of the Mad Men era, recently selected in the US for Malala’s book club: https://literati.com/book-clubs/malala/
Along with glamour and opportunity these pioneering women faced real danger, as they flew soldiers to and from Vietnam and staffed Operation Babylift – the dramatic evacuation of 2,000 children during the fall of Saigon. From Lynne Totten, a science major who decided life in a lab was not for her, to Hazel Bowie, one of the relatively few African American stewardesses of the era, these women embraced the liberation of a jet-set life.
In Come Fly The World Julia Cooke shows how the sexualized coffee-tea-or-me stereotype was at odds with the importance of what they did, and with the freedom, power and sisterhood they achieved.