History. Women's Studies. Military. Nonfiction. HTML:Glamour, danger, liberation: in a Mad Menâ??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 5â?˛3" and 5â?˛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 planeloads 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 Babyliftâ??the dramatic evacuation of 2,000 children during the fall of Saigonâ??the book's special cast of stewardesses unites to play an extraordinary role on the worl
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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 1980â€™s Cost-cutting and ruthless competition became the name of the game and we all know today exactly what flying is like â€“ Not fun. Itâ€™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 â€“ just for a little bit.
We follow the flying lives of four girls who wanted the same. As did many others, but standards were high and one needed to meet certain height, weight, age and language requirements. Still many applied, wanting a life that included excitement and travel. Their lives though we're not all glamour though and sometimes outright dangerous. Pan Am for years had a contract with the government to fly and return young soldiers to and from Vietnam. African countries were the of danger because of constant could and in Moscow, at the height of the cold war, the women were often followed by spies for the government.
There is also the changing faces, and rising needs of women. They wanted more than the airlines wanted to give. Not having to leave when one married, promotions that only men received, being able to return after having a child and a change of image. This book actually covered quite a bit.
Never realized as my mom always worked how narrow women's roles were defined in the sixties. I'm glad I wasn't adulting at that time.
Even though I think there could have been improvement in the execution of the writing of the book, I do think that if a person wants to understand more about the lives of stewardesses (as they were known during the events of the book) as well as the role they played in shaping the lives women in the US could lead, I do think it's worth picking up.
This could be of interest to those with an interest in the story of Pan Am and the story of flight attendants.