FLY GIRLS is the true story of women willing to risk everything, even their lives, to do the thing they loved. It’s the hidden history of women striving to change the world, despite defeat after defeat. These female fliers – sometimes called “fly girls” – shattered the original glass ceiling, battled injustices which feel alltoo timely today, fought the men trying to stop them, and ultimately prevailed. These air races, many believed, were no place for a woman. In the late 1920s, there were less than a dozen women with a pilot’s license. And while the male pilots were hailed as heroes, female pilots were more often ridiculed than praised for what the press portrayed as silly efforts to horn in on a manly, and deadly, pursuit. But a small cadre of female fliers – the “Fly Girls” of the book’s title– set out to prove their mettle in the air, flying across oceans and continents. First they broke into the men-only races, and then they sought to beat the greatest male pilots in one of the most prestigious and grueling competitions, the Bendix Trophy Race. In 1936 (spoiler alert!), one of them would do just that, beating the closest man by 50 minutes, and earning recognition as one of America’s best pilots. FLY GIRLS weaves together the stories of five remarkable women who came from all classes and all over the country.
Author Keith O’Brien is a former reporter for the Boston Globe and a frequent contributor to National Public Radio. He has written for the New York Times Magazine, Politico, and Slate, and is the author of Outside Shot: Big Dreams, Hard Times, and One Country’s Quest for Basketball Greatness.
“Mr. O'Brien . .