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Biography of Amelia Earhart
The life of Amelia Earheart, a biography by Susan Butler
Nearly every young adult growing up has learned the name Amelia Earhart and the feats she accomplished in the air, but how many of us know what she accomplished while her feet were firmly planted on the ground? Did you know that she started and considered herself for much of her life as a social worker? Did you know she was one of the strongest advocates for woman's rights and equality of the day? A fiercely independent woman, yet one who never lost patience with anyone. She was a force to be reckoned with the likes of which has rarely been seen since. The biography by Susan Butler provides a fantastic view of this tremendous woman with details of the early air industry as a whole.
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The pioneer and her impact
The tragedy of every hero is that sometimes what they are most known for is not always what they are most proud of. Amelia Earhart is no exception; beginning the true meat of her career as a social worker in tenement houses she forever considered herself as a social worker. Flying to her was originally an adventure but not something that would pay the bills as a future career. She originally became famous by more chance than plan, becoming the first female to cross the Atlantic even though as only a passenger. Yet with a celebrity status new potentials were thrust into her grasp.
She was unlike heroes before her; those that focused exclusively on the very item that made them famous, rather she spread herself to new heights to be a champion for women's rights. She realized early on that the standards for woman were painfully and illogically different then men. Even in the late 1930s professional female pilots were banned from flying a week before, the week during and the week after their period for fear that they would lack the mental faculties during that time period; only reason this policy was never fully implemented was the men were afraid to ask a woman when their period took place. Thus as Amelia liked to say "If and when you knock at the door, it might be well to bring an ax along; you may have to chop your way through."
Yet with all the challenges she faced, and there was no lacking in challenges, she maintained a grace and a calm that brought her into America's hearts. No matter how many times she was mobbed, she took the time to sign every autograph and answer every question. My favorite story was when she was in an air race with one of the top planes at the time, (a gift due to her fame) she carried the luggage of her competitors who had slower and older planes even though it added weight and thus slowed her down (she came in third). This was the person behind the stories; independent and strong willed yet caring for others.
East to the Dawn is beautifully written to bring depth to the stories while also bring in enough color from the time period for even the most casual reader to understand the setting. There is no end to the feats she accomplished in the air and if only interested in that history, this story is worth it; but to learn her full impact on society is a depth that Susan brings and is well worth your time. Don't hesitate given the book's size, it is well worth the time.
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This book was a very easy and informative read that I strongly recommend.
My favorite quotes
"Sowing wild oats is putting cracks in the vase of our souls -- which can never be obliterated or sealed -- even by love." - Earhart
"As a matter of fact, I know a great many boys who should be making pies-- and a great many girls who would be better off in manual training. There is no reason why a woman can't hold any position in aviation providing she can overcome prejudices and show ability." -Earhart
"Virtue does not consist in abstaining from vice but in not desiring it" - George Bernard Shaw
"Many divorces are caused by the complete dependence of the female. At first there is the strong sexual attraction that sometimes masquerades as love. Everything goes well until the first financial crisis jars the man's confidence and threatens the woman's security. The woman can't help. All she can be is dependent, because the man, giving him encouragement by contributing her own efforts, she becomes accusatory and sullen and the sex drive that passed for love is no longer enough to satisfy either of them. If we begin to think and respond as capable human beings able to deal with and even enjoy the challenges of life, then we surely will have something more to contribute to marriage than our bodies." - Earhart