Sunday, January 8, 2017

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
by Candace Fleming
Published 2011 by Schwartz and Wade
Borrowed from the library

While I knew that Amelia was lost at sea during a flight around the world, I had no idea she had another crewmate, and I had no idea all that led up to her flight. Fleming opens the book with a note about the complexity of researching a person who put forth intentional misinformation about themselves. This was an interesting bit to me. We don't think about how people can choose to represent themselves in any way, how the stories they tell may be nothing more than fiction. I don't read a lot of biographies, but I have enjoyed Fleming's The Family Romanov, a book where she didn't feel the need to make such a note. Now I'm wondering how often misinformation becomes fact because someone creates it as their own truth.

Back to Amelia. I enjoyed learning about Amelia's youth. How she worked as a nurse during World War I, how she went to college (briefly), and how she fell in love with the idea of becoming a pilot. I also love how Fleming works hard to paint Amelia honestly. Amelia was not infallible, and according to Fleming's sources, she was not even that good of a pilot. She was, however, an excellent press piece. And I enjoyed reading about the many ways Amelia and her friend-then-husband George made money off of America's desire to make a spectacle of a female pilot.

However, my favorite part of this book is the way Fleming presents Amelia's final day. She notes the many people in various places who claim to have heard Amelia calling on the radio. She notes where Amelia could have possibly been in order for the signal to travel that distance. She also explains why most of these people were not believed at the time. 

I would highly recommend this book to people who love an unanswered mystery as well as to those who love learning about historical figures.

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