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** Uncorrected proof - please check review quotes against a final copy**
Travel writer Julia Cooke’s exhilarating portrait of Pan Am stewardesses in the Mad Men era.
Glamour, danger, liberation: in the Jet Age, Pan Am offered young women the world. Come Fly the World tells the story of the stewardesses who served on the iconic Pan American Airways between 1966 and 1975 – and of the unseen diplomatic role they played on the world stage.
Alongside the glamour was 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. Cooke’s storytelling weaves together the true stories of women like 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, as they embraced the liberation of a jet-set life.
In the process, 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.
Julia Cooke is a journalist, travel writer and contributing editor at Virginia Quarterly Review. Her work has featured in Time, Condé Nast Traveller, Salon and Best Women’s Travel Writing (Vol. 9), among many others, and she has taught writing at The New School and Columbia University. Her first book, The Other Side of Paradise (Seal Press) profiled young Cubans in post-Fidel Havana. Cooke’s writing shows a persistent interest in how people—and women, in particular—negotiate individual desires and ambitions within the culture, history, and politics of wherever they call home. She lives in Vermont.
‘…In confident, clear-eyed, multi-layered prose, Julia Cooke brings to life the true stories of unforgettable Pan-Am stewardesses who defied convention, to seek more from life than they were given. This is a well-researched and fascinating history of air travel, gender equality, and so much more.’
– Rachel Khong, author of GOODBYE VITAMIN
‘Come Fly the World is a pop passport to another time. Take a social history flight with the women of Pan Am.’
– Lily Koppel, author of New York Times bestseller THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB
‘Before second-wave feminism came along to challenge the admissions policies of law, medical, and business schools, there were stewardesses—women every bit as daring and determined as their later counterparts in the professions, and having more fun… [Come Fly the World is] a rollicking, rambunctious ride down the runway of mid-century modern life.’
– Megan Marshall, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning MARGARET FULLER: A New American Life and ELIZABETH BISHOP: A Miracle for Breakfast
‘This engrossing account, which reads like a novel, offers a combination of riveting personal stories and little-known history, and will draw in readers from the first page.’
– Library Journal