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

by Julia Cooke

Hardcover, 2021




Mariner Books (2021), 288 pages


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… (more)


½ (64 ratings; 3.5)

User reviews

LibraryThing member etxgardener
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
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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.
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LibraryThing member Mnpose
This is a great history of Pan Am and how the airline and flight attendants were vital during the Vietnam war.
LibraryThing member Beamis12
3.5 When I was a young girl, my friend had an older sister who was a stewardess. She kept a room in her family home that she returned to sporadically. I remember loving her outfit and all the stories she told us about her travels. That was it! When I grew up I wanted to fly. Life of course, had
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other plans.

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.
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LibraryThing member Sara_Cat
I think I'd actually give this book 3.5 stars. It was very interesting and I feel like I learned a lot from reading it. I do like that it choose to focus on a few women's personal stories while also giving historical context to what was going on at the different points in time. However, I did not
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think the transitions between these was always smooth. In addition, even though I didn't put it down for long lengths of time, I still found it hard to keep track of who was who and where the story was in history.

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.
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LibraryThing member bereanna
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
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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.
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LibraryThing member briandrewz
This was something I picked up on an airport layover. "Come Fly The World" seemed to be just what I should be reading as I jetted over the United States. However, I just couldn't get interested. The ladies profiled in this book undoubtedly led full and adventurous lives, breaking barriers and
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changing the way the role of flight attendant as they did. They find themselves in exotic locales, war zones, and exciting cities worldwide. Sadly, it wasn't very exciting to read about. Of interest, though, were the very demanding job requirements that each woman was subjected to, i.e. height/weight/age requirements.

This could be of interest to those with an interest in the story of Pan Am and the story of flight attendants.
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Original language


Physical description

288 p.; 9 inches


0358251400 / 9780358251408
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