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Come Fly The World: The Jet-Age Story of the…
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Come Fly The World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am (editie 2022)

door Julia Cooke (Auteur)

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1589146,218 (3.66)12
Glamour, danger, liberation: in a Mad Men-era of commercial flight, Pan Am World Airways attracted the kind of young woman who wanted out and wanted up Required to have a college education, speak two languages, and possess the political savvy of a Foreign Service officer, a jet-age stewardess serving on iconic Pan Am between 1966 and 1975 also had to be between 5′3" and 5′9", between 105 and 140 pounds, and under 26 years of age at the time of hire. Cooke's intimate storytelling weaves together the real-life stories of a memorable cast of characters, from small-town girl Lynne Totten, a science major who decided life in a lab was not for her, to Hazel Bowie, one of the relatively few Black stewardesses of the era, as they embraced the liberation of their new jet-set life. Cooke brings to light the story of Pan Am stewardesses' role in the Vietnam War, as the airline added runs from Saigon to Hong Kong for plane loads of weary young soldiers straight from the battlefields, who were off for five days of R&R and then flown back to war. Finally, with Operation Babylift--the dramatic evacuation of 2,000 children during the fall of Saigon--the book's special cast of stewardesses unites to play an extraordinary role on the world stage.… (meer)
Lid:ci651
Titel:Come Fly The World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am
Auteurs:Julia Cooke (Auteur)
Info:Mariner Books (2022), Edition: Reprint, 288 pages
Verzamelingen:Jouw bibliotheek
Waardering:****
Trefwoorden:Geen

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Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am door Julia Cooke

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An interesting read, Come Fly the World follows the lives of a small group of women who worked as flight attendants (stewardesses, in the language at the time) for Pan Am in the '60s and '70s, at the height of that airline's glamour and profitability. Pop culture—and often their employers—framed these women as over-sexualized and subservient, a kind of geisha of the sky. As Julia Cooke points out, though, these women had to be intelligent and resilient, fluent in at least two languages, and able to cope both with demanding government officials and with airlifting traumatised child refugees out of Vietnam during the Fall of Saigon.

Cooke clearly conducted extensive interviews with a small group of former stewardesses, and tells a vivid and sometimes dramatic story from their perspective. Her journalism background stands her in good stead here. However, the sheer scope of the story Cooke's telling—about women's history, about U.S. imperialism, about the rise and decline of luxury air travel, about race (one of the women profiled was one of the few Black women who worked for Pan Am)—and the weight of some of its aspect needed more than the broad strokes narrative that Cooke often resorted to. As best as I can tell, she doesn't have any training in historical analysis, and that shows here in the lack of depth and in the important topics that are only glanced on (for example, she seems not to have interviewed any Asian American stewardesses, a glaring omission when so much time is spent on Pan Am's history in South East Asia in particular). Still a worthwhile read, but I doubt it will be the final word on the topic. ( )
  siriaeve | Nov 16, 2021 |
These days headlines about disruptive, drunken passengers and fist fights at 30,000 feet are all too common. The glamour that once went along with international jet travel is long gone. Julia Cooke's book Come Fly the World recalls those glamour days through the lives of several stewardesses (even the word belongs to that postwar era) who flew for Pan Am Airlines.

In the early days of air travel cabin attendants, or stewards, had mostly been male. But after World War II competition among airlines focused on the service and quality they could provide for their mostly business travelers, the overwhelming majority of whom were male. Thus a move to female attendents, dubbed stewardesses.

Pan Am in particular felt a need to sell style and sophistication to go along with its already established reputation as the only American carrier to fly exclusively international routes. This meant that Pan Am recruited ambitious, educated women. In the 1960s ten percent of their stewardesses had advanced degrees at a time when only 6% of American women had any college degree at all. Good looks were also required, and Pan Am, along with other airlines, had age and weight requirements for its female staff.

Cooke's book follows the careers of several Pan Am stewardesses through the 1960s and 70s. Their stories are interwoven with the story of Pan Am itself as well as with broader events. Pan Am stewardesses were afforded an independent cosmopolitan lifestyle and a degree of female empowerment uncommon for their time. The need to maintain their weight and wear their hair a certain way was considered by many of them a good tradeoff. But, as time went on, restrictions against marriage and pregnancy became issues for many, eventually leading to grievances before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and in court.

At the same time, Pan Am was involved in supporting America's Vietnam war effort by ferrying soldiers to and from the war zone for week long R&R sessions. Later, as the war was ending and South Vietnam was falling, Pan Am and some of the women Cooke profiles were involved in Operation Babylift, a controversial effort to rescue orphaned babies from the country before it fell.

I really appreciated the way that Cooke wove these women's stories into the broader context of their time. It helps to give them their due and to understand how unique an experience being a stewardess for Pan Am in the 60s and 70s really was. I rate Come Fly the World Four Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐, and recommend it for anyone interested in the history of aviation, American women, or the 1960s and 70s.

NOTES: I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Andi Arndt in her clear and calm voice. The hard cover and audiobook versions are available now, and a paperback version is expected in April of 2022. ( )
  stevesbookstuff | Sep 23, 2021 |
I thought this book would be exclusively about stewardesses, but it gets into the Vietnam war and airlifts of infants and other world events. Perhaps the title or cover should mention that it’s also about happenings the women lived through while flying. It was written fairly well but went off track many times. Not sure what the track was! I did want to finish it, though, because of the human interest of following three Pan Am girls and because I’d wanted to become a steward was. ( )
  bereanna | Sep 13, 2021 |
Thank you to #NetGalley for this book. I really wanted to read and like this book since it's something different that I normally would not read and thought it would be interesting.

After trying to read it three times at three different times thinking that I was not in the mood for non-fiction or this type of book, I gave up. I wanted more about the women who were stewardesses and not about the business aspect of the airline though I thought that would be interesting too but not for me as much as I thought. ( )
  sweetbabyjane58 | Sep 13, 2021 |
This is a really interesting book about the rise and fall of Pan American Airways and the women who worked for the company as flight attendants, or stewardesses as they were called until the 1980’s. in a time when women’s employment opportunities were pretty much limited to being s nurse, a teacher, or a secretary, the airlines offered not only a job that gave women excitement, but also on the big international carriers, the chance to see the world.

The book also relates the cozy relationship carriers like Pan AM ha with the US Government becoming quasi arms of the government ferrying troops in and out of Vietnam and other US possessions in the Pacific. In the days before airline deregulation. Prices and routes were established by the government, so watching what things cost was not a concern to the airlines or their employees. These were truly the days when those who could afford it flew in luxury and comfort/

All that, of course, changes with deregulation in the 1980’s Cost-cutting and ruthless competition became the name of the game and we all know today exactly what flying is like – Not fun. It’s a lot cheaper to fly these days, but I would love to go back in a time machine to those heady flying days of yesterday – just for a little bit. ( )
1 stem etxgardener | Jul 28, 2021 |
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Glamour, danger, liberation: in a Mad Men-era of commercial flight, Pan Am World Airways attracted the kind of young woman who wanted out and wanted up Required to have a college education, speak two languages, and possess the political savvy of a Foreign Service officer, a jet-age stewardess serving on iconic Pan Am between 1966 and 1975 also had to be between 5′3" and 5′9", between 105 and 140 pounds, and under 26 years of age at the time of hire. Cooke's intimate storytelling weaves together the real-life stories of a memorable cast of characters, from small-town girl Lynne Totten, a science major who decided life in a lab was not for her, to Hazel Bowie, one of the relatively few Black stewardesses of the era, as they embraced the liberation of their new jet-set life. Cooke brings to light the story of Pan Am stewardesses' role in the Vietnam War, as the airline added runs from Saigon to Hong Kong for plane loads of weary young soldiers straight from the battlefields, who were off for five days of R&R and then flown back to war. Finally, with Operation Babylift--the dramatic evacuation of 2,000 children during the fall of Saigon--the book's special cast of stewardesses unites to play an extraordinary role on the world stage.

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