EAST TO THE DAWN/ AMELIA EARHART BIOGRAPHY/A VERY DIFFERENT STORY

Forget for a moment the doomed 1937 round the world flight and all of the continuing speculation that continues to this day.  Set aside temporarily that Earhart was the first woman to solo across the Atlantic. Put in perspective all of her pioneering accomplishments as the world’s most prominent woman in aviation. Then settle in to read this marvelous perspective of a truly remarkable person.

Biographer Susan Butler got the Amelia Earhart story right in 1997 when she completed ten years of research and published EAST to the Dawn, The Life of Amelia Earhart. It was the sixtieth anniversary of Earhart’s fateful last flight. Of course the aviation story is extremely well told but the real story is how Amelia Earhart used her celebrity and incredible energy to universally advance the cause of women during the 1920s and 1930s.

Amelia the social worker, the world-wide lecturer on behalf of women’s rights and the establishment at Perdue University of a permanent foundation designed to advance women in the profession of aviation engineering and development.   One can only imagine her further impact had not her life ended in tragedy somewhere in the Pacific trying desperately to find tiny Howland Island  on the next to last leg of her round the world flight.

Amelia Earhart’s  celebrity was earned.  She came from Atkinson Kansas, the daughter of an alcoholic father  whose many jobs took the family east and west.  Her formal education was thwarted but she persisted, became a social worker and by sheer chance became exposed to aviation. Once hooked she never looked back. All along her rise to unimaginable celebrity she never once forgot that she represented professional career opportunities for all women.

Amelia earned her just celebrity and acclaim as an aviator but had she lived, understanding her as Butler’s book reflects, her contributions to society and women’s advancement would have been far greater than being the first woman to fly around the globe.   Having read Butler’s book I am convinced Amelia Earhart would have  unquestionably made that her lasting legacy.

In 1932 the American Women’s Association presented Margaret Sanger its first annual award.  A year later the second annual award was presented to Amelia. The presentation to Amelia was made by Dr. Lillian Gilbreth, the renowned industrial psychologist.  In her closing remarks, Gilbreth chose these words: Miss Earhart has shown us that all God’s chillun got wings.

This is the 80th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s last flight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

POINT OF CONTACT/A JACK RYAN, JR. NOVEL/ MIKE MADEN

Author Mike Maden has stepped in to write the latest in the TOM  CLANCY series. Mark Greaney has written the majority of the books since Tom Clancy died in 2013. Greaney also co-wrote with Clancy LOCKED ON and THREAT VECTOR.

POINT OF CONTACT is right on target with the Clancy series timeliness. The story line incorporates North Korea and the illicit sale of technology and materials through the Chinese and other nefarious back alley characters including of course, Bulgarians!

As readers of this blog are well aware, I am a long time Clancy fan. However, POINT OF CONTACT is a little thin by comparison, but nonetheless, fans may wish to add it to their list. There is still plenty of action though you will find the gripping suspense a little lacking.

 

A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW/ A MUST SUMMER READ

A friend recommended Amor Towles first novel Rules of Civility. I loved the book. (See gordonsgoodreads). She then alerted me to the release of Towle’s second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow.  To say I enjoyed the book would be a gross understatement of my enthusiasm for this author.

It  would be an  injustice to the reader if I even attempted to steal Towle’s story.  Let me simply  place a prominent Russian Count from the world of former privilege under house arrest in the elegant Metropol hotel in the center of Moscow. Now, a few lines of Towle’s prose:

For several days, in fact, he had been fending off a state of restlessness. On his regular descent to the lobby, he caught himself counting the steps. As he browsed the headlines in his favorite chair, he found that he was lifting his hands to twirl the tips of moustaches that were no longer there. He found that he was walking through the doors of the Piazza for a 12:01 lunch.  And at 1:35 he climbed the 110 steps to his room, calculating the minutes until he could come downstairs for a drink.

Then, the girl in the yellow dress appears and the Count’s world changes forever.

Enjoy. I promise you will to the fullest!

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TRAJECTORY/RICHARD RUSSO/SHORT FICTION

Trajectory, Richard Russo’s latest literary offering,  is not what the reader might expect after reading Empire Falls, Bridge of Sighs or Everybody’s Fool.  In Trajectory Russo offers four separate works of short fiction all with unique characters in disparate plots. Of the four, I liked  Intervention best, perhaps because it is set in Russo’s familiar home state, Maine.

Short Fiction is an open-ended read as compared with the short story. Nice for Russo to demonstrate his talent in this genre but if I were picking up Russo for the first time I would  choose from among his stack of wonderful novels. (see gordonsgoodreads.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRISHAM/THE WHISTLER/ANOTHER SUMMER THRILLER

This may be the strangest whistle-blower case ever!  No problem for John Grisham in plotting THE WHISTLER. Lawyers(of course), rogues, Indian Casinos, and Florida.

A most worthy heroine pitted against a female corrupt judge.  The Florida Panhandle becomes the perfect setting for crime and corruption with a whistle-blower protected by tiers of wannabes in on the action of a big, big payout.   That’s enough  from me.  No one tells this tale better than Grisham.  Pair up with Grisham’s Camino Island ( see gordonsgoodreads.com) and you  can cover half the state of Florida and be off with two great fun summer reads.

 

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON/DAVID GRANN/THE OSAGE TRAGEDY

David Grann’s extraordinarily researched work of non-fiction, Killers of the Flower Moon, The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, details  yet another contemptible and murderous abuse of  Native Americas.  The killing of many dozens of Osage Indians in Osage County, Oklahoma were conceived and carried out by the white establishment over a period of two murderous  decades.  The motive?  A common theme of greed, in this case stealing from the Osage the mineral rights to the booming oil field discovered on their reservation  in the early 1900s.

When J. Edgar  Hoover  was first named head of what was  later to become the Federal Bureau of Investigation he prioritized the solving of the Osage Indian murders and turned to Texas Ranger Tom White to lead the investigation. The details of this tragedy are shocking. It was a conspiracy the specific purpose of which was to kill Osage and their descendants in order to steal the valuable mineral rights that had made the Osage among the wealthiest per capita people in America.  Local law enforcement was major part of the conspiracy.

Grann spares no detail in uncovering the horror of this injustice.  The accolades he has received from the literary  community speak to the importance of this work. High praise from Jon Krakauer, Erik Larsen, John Grisham and S.C. Gwynne.

David Grann also authored The Lost City of Z and The Devil and Sherlock Holmes.

 

 

 

CAMINO ISLAND/ JOHN GRISHAM/AUTHORS REPLACE LAWYERS

Again, John Grisham proves himself among the great storytellers in American literature.  CAMINO ISLAND fits the bill for a wonderful summer read and Grisham leaves the lawyers  behind and writes of authors, writers and the theft of  the original  F. Scott Fitzgerald  manuscripts from their safekeeping at Princeton University.  He is so compelling in his prose,  of course, you believe it may have  actually happened.

And so the story begins  and the twists and turns roll through the pages. As is my custom, I will allow you to discover the conclusion. The good news is that the novel m,reads so well you will arrive at the finish in four sittings or less.

A refreshing good read,  An enjoyable break from some heavier selections on your summer list.