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Daughter of the Air: The Brief Soaring Life of Cornelia Fort Paperback – May 10, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (May 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802137911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802137913
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,161,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The first woman pilot to die on active duty in U.S. history, Cornelia Fort (1919-1943) was a member of the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), a civilian unit established during WWII to transport newly manufactured military planes from the factories to U.S. air bases. Raised in a wealthy Nashville family and slated to become a privileged Southern socialite, Fort had first flown in 1940 and "was happiest in the sky." She quickly earned her commercial and instructor's licenses and was in the air over Honolulu training a student pilot on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. This episode, dramatically recounted here, left her plane riddled with bullets and nearly ended her life. Although Simbeck details Fort's early years, this biography really only comes to life when he chronicles her experiences during the war. Although most of the women pilots entering the WAFS were better trained than their male counterparts, they were not only subjected to more coursework than the men, but were paid less and, despite their documented hard work, never received commissions as the male civilian pilots did. Simbeck effectively captures the seriousness and dedication with which Fort and her colleagues approached flying, and the camaraderie that developed between them. Fort died during a flight over West Texas, when her plane collided with another while flying formation (forbidden by the military) and crashed. Despite rumors that the other pilot was trying to impress or scare Fort, Simbeck, was convinced by interviews with witnesses that it was an accident. (Aug.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This slim volume documents the U.S. Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, a group of pilots who delivered aircraft wherever they were needed in North America during World War II. Simbeck tells the story through Cornelia Fort, the Sarah Lawrence-educated Southern belle who was the second woman to enlist and the first to be killed in the line of duty. The text is thoroughly grounded in Fort's own words and in the recollections of her family and friends. Unfortunately, Simbeck's analysis sometimes tends toward the simplistic: for example, in his eagerness to promote a forgotten history, he blames all the women's difficulties on misogynyAan argument that is contradicted by Marianne Verges's seminal history, On Silver Wings: The Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II, 1942-1944 (Ballantine, 1991). Simbeck also fails to mention the other squadron members who joined Fort in death. Still, this is an informally written, well-documented portrait of a fascinating, little-known figure. For public and high school aviation and women's studies collections.ABarbara Ann Hutcheson, Greater Victoria P.L., BC
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Simbeck has gathered all the facts--people, places, events--and presented them in a masterfully told story. The life of Cornelia Fort would make excellent fiction. The author has chosen to portray her in a clear, honest way which both draws her near, and amplifies the larger-than-life experiences that were hers.
Required reading for historians, feminists and pilots. A joy for everyone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harold R. Fann on February 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book brings the '30s and '40s to life, as only a handful of other authors have done. And what a story! A remarkable woman, who found herself IN THE AIR at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese launched their surprise attack... as a flight instructor, with a student pilot at the controls. There is so much more to this story, though-- how a woman in the '40s became a pro in what was a "man's profession"-- aviation. For those who have studied WWII, this book fleshes out the era with a personal testimony to the courage and commitment of America's unsung heros, the WAFS. And I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried like a baby when I read about Cornelia's death.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I'm from Nashville and I had no idea who Cornelia Fort was. The neighborhood I grew up in is practically on the land the family estate used to sit on, yet I had never heard of her. We didn't learn about her in school. I first learned of her existence on a public radio program here in Nashville that was interviewing Rob Simbeck. I was enthralled. I had to read this book. And I was not disappointed. What a fabulous role model for young women today. She never believed that being a woman prevented her from doing anything she desired- even if this meant bucking the rules of society. I can only hope that the memory of Cornelia's life lives on and inspires generations of young women for many years to come.
I had to opportunity to meet Mr. Simbeck a few weeks ago at a book signing. In our conversation, he told me what was involved in writing this book; the research, the documentation. You can rest assured that it is as accurate a piece of history as can be painted fifty years after the death of Cornelia Fort. Her life could easily have been sensationalized. He chose to stick with the truth as he knew it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "matrixzine" on January 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Cornelia Fort overcame all the barriers that were put in her way growing up female to be a pilot. Cornelia was flying trainers the day Pearl Harbor was attacked and was luckey to survive/ When the US government allowed women to fly Cornelia was there and gave her life for her country. The story of a short life and a woman who had the courage to live her dreams.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rebecca mckeever on January 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
what an inspirational book. it made me so proud of all the forgotten women of world war 11-------------a great read for everyone----------
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