Thursday, August 26, 2010

Goodbye Glamour Gals by R.J. Dailey

This is a historical novel about a real life cat fight...

Cat number one being Jacqueline Cochran, famous record breaking aviatrix...

Cat number two being Nancy Harkness Love, wife of an Army Major and a reknowned pilot herself.

During world war II, both women approached the U.S. government about the pressing need to permit women to fly military aircraft. The government was producing five thousand planes a month. All those planes needed to get from point A (the factory) to point B (the soldiers) and STAT. Every woman ferrying these planes freed a man up to go do the dirty work: fight. Both women had plans and both women wanted to be in charge. Promises were made from different higher ups to both women..

It ends up being a cat fight. I wanted to jump in this book and say, "Ladies, there is a war going on!! Instead of worrying about getting the glory, just get the job done!" But alas, that's not how women work...

Jacqueline forms the Women's Flying Training Department or WFTD. She demands a mere 200 (and later, less) flying time and trains women to be ferry pilots. Her base begins in Houston and ends up becoming the WASP located at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. What begins as a group of women staying in miscellaneous houses and using a hotel bus as transportation, becomes a complete base and barracks complete with top notch aircraft trainers.

Nancy Love, meanwhile begins the Women's Auxiliary Ferry Squadron and because she caves to the higher ups demands, her requirement of 500 flying hours limits the number of women she can have. After all, there is a war going on and recreational flying is banned so how are women going to obtain the required flight hours? Added to that complication, Nancy prefers to fly in the air rather than from behind a desk...

Another factor of note: Cochran believed in protecting the women, forming a union of women only pilots because she knew firsthand the difficulties the women would face at every base, the animosity from men. The first part of this book really shows how women were treated back then. (Love this quote: "If they'd just let me do this job and stop acting like children..." )

Hm.. May the best woman win.. or can they learn to work together to save the WASP? I really enjoyed this book, but I have a strong interest in the subject. My only complaints: 1. The last quarter went on too much about the Costello law, an attempt to militarize the WASP. (The WASP tho part of the Army Air Corps did not receive death benefits or health care.) 2. The novel did at times feel like a biography and didn't go much into the women's personal lives. If you want a romance, this is not for you. If you want to learn the story of the most ground breaking accomplishment in women's aviation, this is it. Both women opened what until their time, was pretty much a barred and locked door, women flying military craft. As Jackie says in this book, "We won't just be typists and secretaries and stenographers and housewives and nurses anymore. Women can do anything. And one day we will do everything."

These ladies proved it.

I bought this book on Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. That is what I like to hear. One day we will do everything! Yes we can! Too many women think they can't still today. I am so glad you liked this book Tara and that you put it on your blog. More women of today need to read this book. Great review as always and thanks for bringing to the fore front again.