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Glamour, danger, liberation: in a Mad Men–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 degree, 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 5′3" and 5′9" Glamour, danger, liberation: in a Mad Men–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 degree, 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 5′3" and 5′9", between 105 and 140 pounds, and under 26 years of age at the time of hire. Julia Cooke’s intimate storytelling weaves together the real-life stories of a memorable cast of characters, from 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 life 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 Babylift—the dramatic evacuation of 2,000 children during the fall of Saigon—the book’s special cast of stewardesses unites to play an extraordinary role on the world stage.


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Glamour, danger, liberation: in a Mad Men–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 degree, 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 5′3" and 5′9" Glamour, danger, liberation: in a Mad Men–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 degree, 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 5′3" and 5′9", between 105 and 140 pounds, and under 26 years of age at the time of hire. Julia Cooke’s intimate storytelling weaves together the real-life stories of a memorable cast of characters, from 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 life 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 Babylift—the dramatic evacuation of 2,000 children during the fall of Saigon—the book’s special cast of stewardesses unites to play an extraordinary role on the world stage.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Esta Montano

    In 1979 I became a flight attendant for Pan Am, The ten years that I spent traveling the world were perhaps the most exciting of my life, and by far the greatest learning experience I have every had. The airline's demise was devastating for us and many of us remain connected through Facebook pages. A number of books have been written by flight attendants, (including Pan Am flight attendants), and most of these have been on the frivolous side. When I saw Come Fly the World on NetGalley, I immedia In 1979 I became a flight attendant for Pan Am, The ten years that I spent traveling the world were perhaps the most exciting of my life, and by far the greatest learning experience I have every had. The airline's demise was devastating for us and many of us remain connected through Facebook pages. A number of books have been written by flight attendants, (including Pan Am flight attendants), and most of these have been on the frivolous side. When I saw Come Fly the World on NetGalley, I immediately wanted to read it, as belonging to Pan Am is to belong to a family. The book chronicles the lives of several Pan Am flight attendants as they joined the airline and journeyed around the world. What is different about these women is that their experiences are narrated with the backdrop of American history and the manner in which Pan Am was involved. For instance, Pan Am transported Vietnam Vets to and from their R&Rs in Hong Kong, and also airlifted children out of the country. Pan Am also was on the ground during coups, major conflicts, and other historical events. It was amazing to read about the experiences of these women, and to remember the places that I also traveled to and loved. Most interesting and meaningful to me was that Tori, my primary flight attendant instructor in my initial training in Honolulu, is one of the women whose lives are chronicled in this book. I had not expected that. If you are interested in learning more about the history of aviation juxtaposed with historical events over the past 50 years as well as the manner in which the career of flight attendants evolved in its initial years, then I highly recommend this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    Stewardess Wanted. Must Want the World. This book not only takes an interesting look at the lives and lifestyles of Pan Am stewardesses in the 60s and 70s but also at the world at large during that time. The Vietnam War and the fight for equal female rights are most prominently covered. And, perhaps a little surprisingly, the three stewardesses through whose eyes we mainly see this story unfold had been largely involved in both. The author, over the span of five years, has conducted several inte Stewardess Wanted. Must Want the World. This book not only takes an interesting look at the lives and lifestyles of Pan Am stewardesses in the 60s and 70s but also at the world at large during that time. The Vietnam War and the fight for equal female rights are most prominently covered. And, perhaps a little surprisingly, the three stewardesses through whose eyes we mainly see this story unfold had been largely involved in both. The author, over the span of five years, has conducted several interviews with five Pan Am stewardesses and we get an account of their time working at the company. However, three of them get a lot more coverage than the remaining two and the book almost reads like a biography of Lynne Rawling, Karen Walker and Tori Werner at times. Almost. Cooke chose to tell the history of Pan American World Airways mostly through their stories. Through the stories of three women that wanted to see the world and experience a feeling of independence that was not available to many women at the time. A time when acceptably feminine roles where pretty much limited to nurse, teacher, librarian, secretary. On the one hand airlines offered them the chance to live a life that was not available to other women, but the flipside of course were the questionable hiring policies. ”Attractive appearance will be foremost in importance,” read a 1963 American Airlines supervisor handbook, the sentence underlined for emphasis and elaborated on in excruciating detail: “We can sometimes pretend a person is attractive, if we admire them for some other reason. [Hiring such people] should be avoided.” And don’t get me started on regular weigh-ins and the fact that these women actually had to quit their jobs if they got married or reached the age of 32 or 35 (depending on the airline). But these were confident and educated women (10 percent of Pan Am stewardesses had attended graduate school at a time when only 6 to 8 percent of American women had graduated from college). The public image of stewardesses (created in no small part by the advertising campaigns of the airlines) might have been one of glorified Playboy Bunnies, but they were anything but. And change was about to come. Although it needed hard work to make it happen. And change was needed in more ways than one. Delta put on a comprehensive defense in one of the first suits, filed by a stewardess who was terminated when her marriage was discovered. In another suit, United submitted an eighty-page brief detailing the reasons why only young, attractive women could address the “legitimate” business of meeting the social and psychological needs of its passengers: “Men can carry trays, and hang up coats and assist in the rare event of an emergency — they cannot convey the charm, the tact, the grace, the liveliness that young girls can — particularly to men, who comprise the vast majority of airline passengers … [men cannot] add to the pleasure of the trip, the loveliness of the environment or the ego of the male passenger.” However, even though it touches on it, this book is not about the discrimination of men in the profession of flight attendant. It is (amongst other things) about the discrimination of women in nearly all walks of life and how the women of Pan Am also stood for that change that was about to come. And of course the job of a stewardess was about far more than carrying trays and hanging up coats. It was a life of responsibility and excitement. And also danger, as is shown by several chapters about the Vietnam War and the conditions under which Pan Am flew soldiers in and out of warzones. The developments around the war are as extensively covered here as is the battle for equal female rights and those two themes are perhaps even more prominent in this book than the development of the airline industry and of Pan Am in particular. Sometimes it feels like Cooke couldn’t quite make up her mind about what she wanted to write exactly. All the themes she covers are interesting, but she’s jumping around a lot, sometimes making it hard for the reader to keep up. I also wish she had given a little more room to the one Black stewardess among the five women she is telling us about. Her chapters were interesting and sometimes infuriating: Airline executives openly admitted that they feared losing their market share if the women who served mostly white passengers were Black. They were also concerned, as one New York Times article explained, that “existing and potential ranks of white stewardesses would dwindle fast if the ‘glamor’ of the job were ‘down-graded’ by the employment of Negro girls.” … There are still some battles to be fought. The thing this book does best is to show how these women, regardless of the color of their skin, were striving for something greater, for a life of more opportunities, for excitement and adventure. It made me long to get onto an airplane and visit other countries again. But it also made me better understand what challenges these women were facing. A very few of the stewardesses, especially those who crewed the more dramatic and dangerous flights, self-identify as veterans of war. Relatively few place their work in historical context or speak openly with civilians about the job’s more difficult moments. It is too much effort to address the disconnect between the perception of the job as all glamour and access amid optimistic globalism of the 1960s and its actual context, which also entailed objectification and misunderstanding, war and danger — the dark side of that globalist vision. 3.5 stars Overall this is a surprisingly deep and educational book that is a little rough around the edges, which is likely down to it being a review copy that was still under review by the author and publisher. Therefore, I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt and round up. The content is certainly worthy of a four-star rating. I hope the final product will also include some pictures. My review copy didn’t. If you bought this one, let me know. Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    Focusing on the Pan Am Airline, Julia Cooke takes a deep dive into the back stories, dreams, and experiences of a handful of their flight attendants. All were hired just before or early in the Vietnam era and the rise of the iconic 747. I loved reading their stories and the ways they dealt with discrimination while also doing their jobs well. The three most heavily covered were also a part of the Vietnam flights for soldiers and the Babylift project. Seeing that time from their perspective is a Focusing on the Pan Am Airline, Julia Cooke takes a deep dive into the back stories, dreams, and experiences of a handful of their flight attendants. All were hired just before or early in the Vietnam era and the rise of the iconic 747. I loved reading their stories and the ways they dealt with discrimination while also doing their jobs well. The three most heavily covered were also a part of the Vietnam flights for soldiers and the Babylift project. Seeing that time from their perspective is a reminder that there is so rarely a single solution to the problems of the world. As we continue to connect globally, we share more than just a plane ride. It was a treat to see the world with these women and view the 60's and 70's through their eyes. The story of the African American stewardess (Hazel Bowie) and her Moscow flights was a revelation. Loved this cover, but wished there were some photos in the book. I had a roommate who was a flight attendant for Braniff in the late 80's. In fact she was working for them when they went bankrupt and she no longer had a job. I have not logged as many flight miles as she did, but another memorable airline story is being booked for a return flight from Chicago on Midway Airlines when they stopped operations. My husband and I were given first class seats on another airline to get us back home -- my one and only first class experience. If you are fascinated by the ways women assisted in Vietnam, I also recommend to you 'Vietnam Nurse: Mending and Remembering' by Lou Eisenbrandt. Thank you to Houghton Mifflin and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erin

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  5. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I found the cover of this book misleading in what was between the covers. I thought it was going to be a light, gossipy read. A Coffee, Tea, or Me kind of book. Boy, was I wrong. This is a fascinating dissertation of the real lives of Pan Am stewardesses in a time that was very different for women. I lived during those times so I knew them well. I couldnt get enough of this book. The Vietnam stories were hard to read because I remember those years so vividly. The stewardess played a big part in o I found the cover of this book misleading in what was between the covers. I thought it was going to be a light, gossipy read. A Coffee, Tea, or Me kind of book. Boy, was I wrong. This is a fascinating dissertation of the real lives of Pan Am stewardesses in a time that was very different for women. I lived during those times so I knew them well. I couldnt get enough of this book. The Vietnam stories were hard to read because I remember those years so vividly. The stewardess played a big part in our soldiers lives both going but especially their coming back. I really recommend this book. It is truly fascinating.

  6. 4 out of 5

    lori light

    ***thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book*** Wow! I was drawn to this book because of the cover and the title. I'm a 15-year flight attendant and have always loved to read stories of the days when the job was glamorous. I thought it would be a fun read for these horrible times, especially with all the mask policing I'm doing at work these days. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for with this book. I am floored by how much education I've gained from this book. I had no idea ***thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book*** Wow! I was drawn to this book because of the cover and the title. I'm a 15-year flight attendant and have always loved to read stories of the days when the job was glamorous. I thought it would be a fun read for these horrible times, especially with all the mask policing I'm doing at work these days. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for with this book. I am floored by how much education I've gained from this book. I had no idea how instrumental Pan Am was in the Vietnam war and what these women went through when they put on their uniforms and went to work. From RR flights carrying soldiers out of warzones to tropical islands in the South Pacific to Operation Babylift flights at the end of the war, these incredible women were doing what they knew how to do best, put on a brave face and smile through it all. I loved the way the author told these heroic stories and painted their pictures as women fighting for a place in the world while they're also navigating war on foreign land, as well as the fight for female equality in the US. I have so much respect for the lives that these women lived and the way they carried themselves through their experiences. My experiences as a flight attendant for a domestic, low-budget carrier are nothing like the experiences of these stewardesses of the jet age, but there is a thread of commonality in their love of their job and the lifestyle that it provided that made my heart swell. It reminded me of what has made me stick around for so long, which if I'm completely honest, has been difficult to remember as of late. Here are a few quotes that stood out: She wanted to know about people - how they lived, who they were, something beyond what a taxi driver with passable English could tell her. Passengers offered Lynne the best shot at constructing a scaffolding of knowledge around which her experiences on the ground could grow. Every plane was a vessel filled with people and their stories. Lynne taught them everything she knows about travel: how to move as a woman through the world with curiosity and confidence and deference for local perspectives and customers and how, whether she is near or far from home, that stance erases fear. "My mother," her elder girl says, "has no fear of the other." Loved it!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    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 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 ma 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 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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sandra "Jeanz"

    I love the cover! It has a really glam, yet retro look to it. It brings to mind all the great things you associate with air hostesses. This cover certainly attracts your eye to it and encouraged me to think that the book would be from the point of view or at least solely about air hostesses. The book does follow a few women, Karen, Lynne and Tori being the ones that stay in my mind. All these women have to fit/fill certain expectations such as weight and looks which would most likely be frowned u I love the cover! It has a really glam, yet retro look to it. It brings to mind all the great things you associate with air hostesses. This cover certainly attracts your eye to it and encouraged me to think that the book would be from the point of view or at least solely about air hostesses. The book does follow a few women, Karen, Lynne and Tori being the ones that stay in my mind. All these women have to fit/fill certain expectations such as weight and looks which would most likely be frowned upon, in the era we live in now. The uniforms, rules and expectations varied slightly depending on which Airline the women worked for. Though this book is centred more on the Pan Am Air Hostesses it does reference other airlines too. Pan Am ran “grooming classes” which one of the ladies featured in this book called Karen wrote home about to her mum saying the course would cost £500!! Karen also revealed to her mum in the same letter that she had never known that blue eyeshadow de-emphasized her blue eyes — she should choose a greenish hue — or that a hint of a bright white below the eyebrows would highlight the arch. One of the grooming supervisor’s had reshaped her eyebrows, and they now looked so much better. In 1969 the spring trainees were the very first ones to be allowed to keep their hair long but it was on the condition they should keep it clipped neatly at the nape of their neck. This new freedom didn’t bother Karen as she had her hair cut into a bob, the same style she has worn it in during her time working for the US Army. The women were also given four pages of “packing tips” which contained gems like building a core wardrobe in drip dry fabrics as they are easier to manage and do not need a lot of extra work ironing. The tips also contained a note on wearing comfortable shoes! The Pan Am Stewardess manual gave advice on things like lip shape, lipstick/make-up application, correct posture, skin care, and haircuts. It says in the book that these grooming lessons took nearly as much time as the first aid training! For makeup, a natural look with red, rose red or coral for lips and nails. Pan Am wanted their hostesses to look pretty, feminine and sophisticated. They employed people to ensure the stewardesses were meeting their specific guideline. If a stewardess wanted to change her hair, she needed to have permission from the airline. Stewardesses were expected to have clear skin, be between 5’3 and 5’9, and be willing to follow the rules. The stewardess skirt had to be exactly one inch below the knee, so it doesn’t raise and be too revealing when the stewardesses were reaching over head lockers and doing their jobs on the plane. The book also covered difficult journeys the Air Stewardesses had to cope with such as transporting young men from America over to fight the Vietnam war. Also, the evacuation effort made and how integral the Air Stewardess’ willingness and professionalism to come up with solutions as quickly and efficiently as possible. The conditions these air hostesses had to cope with in the air whilst helping ill, scared children was awful. I should imagine if this occurred in the present day the Air Stewardesses would be treat for a form of PTSD. Not in those days though they were expected to pick themselves up, put a fresh smile on their face and continue on. The book also covers some Airline history and also the many lawsuits for women’s rights, for job progression etc, and men’s rights to become Air Stewards, sexism, racism etc. Some of the articles covered were ones that I honestly wouldn’t of necessarily thought of. I guess in the present day we take a lot for granted, as being our rights to have/do. I’ll totally admit I really enjoyed all the Air Stewardess grooming and training details, it would have been great to have some photographs or illustrations too. I even found the military filled flights fascinating to read about, and the evacuation of orphans though harrowing it was something I wouldn’t necessarily of thought of the Air Stewardesses having to do. Some of the Airline history in places felt a tad long winded and I could feel myself losing interest, but luckily the different chapters are kind of mixed up a little with the more serious history, regulations interspersed with anecdotes from actual Air Stewardesses. My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were quite mixed, though I found parts of the book really interesting others seemed to drag on in minute detail on things I didn’t find particularly noteworthy. To sum up I really enjoyed some parts of the book yet felt some parts were somewhat drawn out in my opinion. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting . . . but it was still an okay, fairly interesting read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    William Harris

    I just finished reading a delightful book entitled "Come Fly the World: The Jet Age Story of the Women of Pan Am," by Julia Cooke. I wish to extend my gratitude to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for making an electronic ARC available to me for review. Many of you are aware that there has been a great deal of interest in Pan American Airlines per se as well as the women who made careers as stewardesses during the 50's, 60' and 70's. Perspectives and narrative approaches have varied widely, and I have I just finished reading a delightful book entitled "Come Fly the World: The Jet Age Story of the Women of Pan Am," by Julia Cooke. I wish to extend my gratitude to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for making an electronic ARC available to me for review. Many of you are aware that there has been a great deal of interest in Pan American Airlines per se as well as the women who made careers as stewardesses during the 50's, 60' and 70's. Perspectives and narrative approaches have varied widely, and I have read a number of these. None were more fascinating and nuanced than this text. Looking at Pan Am's role in the lives of the young women who served as stewardesses (flight attendants in modern parlance) through the eyes and experiences of a number of the women who actually served in Pan Am at that time and with a sensitivity to the cultural context of those transformatory decades following World War II and ending with the trauma of the fall of Saigon makes for an interesting book indeed. Without overlooking Pan Am's obvious sexism and biases in hiring policies and terms of employment, the author, carefully situating this within the cultural norms of the time, focuses on the transformations that international travel with relatively competitive salary structures afforded to those adventurous souls who were fortunate enough to take advantage of what was on offer. Travel, money, access to a lifestyle largely denied to young women of their time, all of these things characterized Pan Am for these young women. At the same time, many of them found it to be, in the lexicon of the time, a consciousness raising exercise through their encounters with the beginnings of international terrorism and the omnipresent Vietnam War. I was, literally and unexpectedly, reduced to tears as the role of the young women in assisting in evacuating orphans and other refugees from the South Vietnamese collapse and the precipitate withdrawal of U.S. officials and dependents played out before me, the tragedy of it all heightened by the sensitivities of the young women who bore witness. I enjoyed this book enormously, not least for its nuanced and balanced presentation of a group of young women who, despite the way they and their employer are frequently caricatured in popular literature, were in many ways, at the forefront of what we now call the Women's Liberation Movement. They deserve acknowledgment from those who followed down the well worn paths they first trod.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bagus

    Olga Tokarczuk writes in her most celebrated novel Flights: “Fluidity, mobility, illusoriness-these are precisely the qualities that make us civilized. Barbarians don't travel. They simply go to destinations or conduct raids.” True to her message, many of us might not have realized how our daily lives are now shaped by the rise of the modern way of travelling: by plane. About a century ago, it was unthinkable how hyperconnected our world could be and how we could be in two vastly different place Olga Tokarczuk writes in her most celebrated novel Flights: “Fluidity, mobility, illusoriness-these are precisely the qualities that make us civilized. Barbarians don't travel. They simply go to destinations or conduct raids.” True to her message, many of us might not have realized how our daily lives are now shaped by the rise of the modern way of travelling: by plane. About a century ago, it was unthinkable how hyperconnected our world could be and how we could be in two vastly different places of the globe in only a matter of hours. In the funniest anecdote, the flight from Irkutsk to Moscow has a duration of 5 hours. It takes off at 8 am and arrives at exactly the same time in Moscow, at eight o’clock the same day since the time differences between the two cities are 5 hours. But the rise of international travel began with a single American airline: Pan Am Airways. The post-war United States gave stability to its citizens. Europe was just recovering from the atrocities of the Second World War, but the US was mostly unharmed with the war taking place in Europe. The disposable incomes gave people the chance to spend their money outside of the United States. The most preferred method was surely by flying. As an airline which focused on international routes, Pan Am could be said as arriving at the right time and the right place to the hyper-connectivity starting in the early 1960s with routes spanning from New York to Europe to Africa to Asia to Hawaii and finally back to Los Angeles. The different routes just took it westward from Los Angeles through similar hubs with the end in New York. As in every modern flight these days, the international flights operated by Pan Am were crewed by stewardesses, whose unique stories are being told in this book. Upon reading the word Pan Am, the first thing that comes to my mind was the story of how Frank W. Abagnale faked his way of being an impostor Pan Am pilot whose crime went unrecognized for several years. The film Catch Me If You Can, starred by DiCaprio in his prime, provides a wonderful depiction to an era that is both familiar and foreign to my generation. It is hardly thinkable in the present moment that someone could stay as an impostor as a pilot for several years, what with the compulsory security process required for flight crews. But in some other ways, it also gives us some scenes of what we have been missing since the rise of international travels. Julia Cooke, who happens to be the daughter of one of Pan Am formers executive provides us in this story partly history, partly journalism, and partly cultural analysis of the role of stewardesses in improving the state of international flights in the past few decades. The author presents us with a character like Lynne who has just earned her biology degree and was up for some challenges. There’s a whole world out there, she thought, and I need to get involved, was what she thought at that time. There are some other characters who got introduced such as Hazel Bowie who was the first African American stewardess who worked for Pan Am, or Tori who happened to be a Norwegian that ended up choosing to steward with Pan Am as a result of not fulfilling the requirement to join the Norwegian Foreign Service Academy at that time due to gender discrimination to foreign women. They faced similar epiphany, their job as stewardesses turned out to be liberating their status as women in the 1960s with the privileges that they received as flight crews such as discounted flight tickets for their families and countless hours of layovers in some most grandiose hotels around the globe. Yet their stories contain not only joyful memories, as the 1960s and the 1970s are the decades of the peak for American involvement in the war effort in Vietnam. I happened to be reading another book about the war in Vietnam around this time, and the efforts put by Pan Am and their crews during the war might be something unrecognized through these years with countless chartered flights to transport American troops and finally ended with Operation Babylift which transferred more than 2,000 Vietnamese orphans to the US for adoption. While this book is too focused on Pan Am and their roles in shaping post-war international aviation industry, it will surely be something of interest for people who travel a lot and those who could not travel due to the current pandemic situation which has been affecting us globally. === I received the electronic Advance Reader Copy from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    For those of you, like me who are fascinated by historical events, the evolution of the aviation industry, and specifically the seemingly glamorous days of flying on a Pan Am flight, this book is for you. I can cite several things that drew me into these topics - does anyone remember the Gwyneth Paltrow movie, View from the Top? Or what about that scene in Gilmore Girls where Lorelei gets the Pan Am stewardess bag? Are you obsessed with Mad Men? Or, in school, did you start in the Women of Locker For those of you, like me who are fascinated by historical events, the evolution of the aviation industry, and specifically the seemingly glamorous days of flying on a Pan Am flight, this book is for you. I can cite several things that drew me into these topics - does anyone remember the Gwyneth Paltrow movie, View from the Top? Or what about that scene in Gilmore Girls where Lorelei gets the Pan Am stewardess bag? Are you obsessed with Mad Men? Or, in school, did you start in the Women of Lockerbie play? These are the places my mind instantly went when I learned this book covered Pan Am stewardesses during the 60’s and 70’s and as a huge fan of history, I was drawn into learning about their role in major historical events (transporting soldiers from Vietnam to their R&R, evacuating children as a part of Operation Babylift). What’s more, is Cooke weaves together stories of real Pan Am stewardesses who were trailblazers, not taking the safe and traditional path of being a teacher or librarian, but living a glamorous and sometimes dangerous life, all while paving a new path that has contributed to women’s liberation movements, we reap the benefits of today. *huge thanks to @netgalley and @houghtonmifflinharcourt for providing me a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review*

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    At 3% in I realized that this story was going to be fast. It took me a minute to believe it was a memoir/nonfiction read though, it reads like a "based on a true story" read. That is not bad, and I'll give it a high 3.5 stars for the story, but it gets rounded down to a 3 because of the pacing. It's a tad slow for my liking, but nonetheless, a good story. I really enjoy historical reads, I think more so now that stories are starting to happen closer to my *gasp* birth year. If you liked Mad Men At 3% in I realized that this story was going to be fast. It took me a minute to believe it was a memoir/nonfiction read though, it reads like a "based on a true story" read. That is not bad, and I'll give it a high 3.5 stars for the story, but it gets rounded down to a 3 because of the pacing. It's a tad slow for my liking, but nonetheless, a good story. I really enjoy historical reads, I think more so now that stories are starting to happen closer to my *gasp* birth year. If you liked Mad Men you might like this inside story of the Stewardesses of Pan Am. "This invitation to try out an unfettered version of oneself somewhere else had appealed to enormous numbers of women from the start of the commercial airline industry."

  13. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    Thank you Goodreads for letting me win this book. This was a good read. I didn’t read it verbatim but I did learn about women in the airline industry. I will definitely recommend for my Library get a copy of this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    I had the opportunity to review an advance copy of Come Fly the World, and I recommend that you go out and get a copy when it's published on March 2, 2021. Come Fly the World is a fascinating look at the world of flight attendants in a more glamorous age, although that age clearly was more challenging on a number of levels. Women took on the role of flight attendant ("stewardess" back then) for many reasons, among them the freedom to travel and see the world, personal independence, and the opport I had the opportunity to review an advance copy of Come Fly the World, and I recommend that you go out and get a copy when it's published on March 2, 2021. Come Fly the World is a fascinating look at the world of flight attendants in a more glamorous age, although that age clearly was more challenging on a number of levels. Women took on the role of flight attendant ("stewardess" back then) for many reasons, among them the freedom to travel and see the world, personal independence, and the opportunity for freedom that wasn't easily found for women decades ago. This is an era, not so long ago, when the career options for women were limited. Female employees of the State Department, looking to build careers in diplomatic service, had to retire when they got married. Throughout these decades, as the airline industry grew in a post-World War II world, the tough, smart women who worked for the airlines were witness to a changing world, including some of its glories and its horrors, like their participation in flights carrying soldiers to and from the Vietnam War, and the airlifts to save orphaned children as US involvement drew to a close. Focusing primarily on Pan Am and the culture that grew with this leading international airline--with discussions of the roles of other airlines, as well--Come Fly the World immerses the reader in the experience airlines, particularly Pan Am, looked to create for travelers in a very different era from today's travel experience. The onboard announcements were part of the "showmanship," as the book quotes a publication of the day pointing out. "Our passengers are starting out on an adventure and we are helping them to get the feel of it immediately." Of course, this also was an era when there was no question about the image the airlines wanted to project in their stewardesses. Applying lipstick the right way, grooming lessons, and so on, all were part of the job. This continued and only took on a cruder tone in the "fly me" era of sexually-charged airline advertising. While the exploitive nature of this airline-to-employee relationship is dubious, any number of these ladies also enjoyed the sexual and romantic freedom their profession offered. Happily, this book doesn't shy away from exploring this aspect of their careers, either. It's certainly not something that should bring shame. Rather, the freedom to live life as they saw fit is a great thing, and these pioneers of the professional world also helped usher in greater freedom for women in general. This is summed up well with the sharing of Helen Gurley Brown's favorite saying, "Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere." For those of us who wish we'd been able to experience the jet age and its classier approach to travel, being reminded of the days when airlines turned out guide books with tips on how to get the most out of visiting one city or another, Come Fly the World is a slice of happy time travel. Hitting an excellent balance between the glory of that era and the realities and challenges of life for those who lived it, the author does an excellent job of letting us experience life from the perspective of some of those who were on the front lines of the age. From the first American flights to Moscow and the stewardesses' watching out for KGB surveillance to experiencing Beirut before it was devastated, back when it was the jewel of the Mediterranean, these ladies had amazing experiences. Just reading about what they saw was an exciting trip. Pan Am is gone now, as are a number of its contemporaries, and travel looks different these days, for better or worse, but Come Fly the World is a great read, capturing that era of international travel and the experiences of women who changed not just their world but the face of society going forward.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erin Loranger

    Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The description of this book was immediately appealing to me and I was expecting a very light read about the early years of air travel and behind-the-scenes- stories of flight attendants from that era. I was surprised and delighted that it was so much more. Author Julia Cooke found a very interesting way to follow the career trajectories of a handful of Pa Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The description of this book was immediately appealing to me and I was expecting a very light read about the early years of air travel and behind-the-scenes- stories of flight attendants from that era. I was surprised and delighted that it was so much more. Author Julia Cooke found a very interesting way to follow the career trajectories of a handful of PanAm flight attendants and overlay their stories with contemporaneous events. The descriptions of the flights taking soldiers into and out of combat in Vietnam and the Bablylift flights were particularly gripping. Cooke also wove in the history of PanAm and the then-burgeoning airline industry in the 60s and 70s with the fights for equality in the workplace that were being waged at that time. This is a multi-layered, fascinating book that will appeal to people on a variety of levels. I am very excited to high recommend this book when it is published in March, 2021.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Mae

    This was an excellent read. Not only a brief history of Pan Am flight attendants, but aviation in general. Lots of fun trivia about uniforms and training and routes. The author follows a few actual stewardesses through their careers in the 60s and 70s, involving the Vietnam baby lift and women’s rights and politics both domestic and abroad. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and can’t wait to tell my former Pam Am flight attendant aunt about it!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Julia Cooke Come Fly The World The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2021 Thank you, Net Galley, for the advance uncorrected proof sent to me for review. Firstly, I need to say that if this uncorrected proof is evidence of the standard that can be expected from a proofed copy the standard will be remarkably high. This uncorrected copy was well formatted, meticulously organised, with consistency in the chapter title design, and provided a read unhindered by numerous t Julia Cooke Come Fly The World The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2021 Thank you, Net Galley, for the advance uncorrected proof sent to me for review. Firstly, I need to say that if this uncorrected proof is evidence of the standard that can be expected from a proofed copy the standard will be remarkably high. This uncorrected copy was well formatted, meticulously organised, with consistency in the chapter title design, and provided a read unhindered by numerous typos. Secondly, these qualities of organisation and consistency are easily demonstrated with reference to the section and chapter titles. They also, more importantly, illustrate the fascinating journey Julia Cooke describes through the stewardesses (as they were during most of the period Cooke covers, the gender-neutral title ‘flight attendant’ being adopted only at the end of this era). There are three sections: THE WRONG KIND OF GIRL; YOU CAN’T FLY WITH ME; and WOMEN’S WORK. Within the sections there are chapters that include titles such as Horizons Unlimited, Foreign Service, One, Two, Three, What are we Fighting For? in Section 1. Section 2 covers topics such as What Do You Women Want? Open Skies for Negro Girls [initially I thought this term was perhaps, like ‘stewardess’ of the period. In reading the chapter it is apparent that the title was based on the headline in Ebony, a black newspaper, published in 1963. African American and Black American is used in the text.] Girls, De Facto Feminist and An Extension of the Airline. Under WOMEN’S WORK chapter titles identify the perhaps surprising range of events for which the flight attendants had trained: Everything flyable, War Comes Aboard, The Most Incredible Scene and The Only Lonely Place Was on the Moon. The EPILOGUE brings together the futures of Lynne, Karen and Tori’s stories which make a major contribution to the book; a range of stories, brief but telling, about the outcomes for many other flight attendants; and outcomes for may unnamed former stewardesses who remain in touch and continue to travel (with inside information). Cooke combines personal stories, most significantly those of Lynne, Karen and Tori, with events such as the Vietnam War and its impact on American politics, soldiers, stewardesses and Vietnamese. There is enough of Hazel Bowie’s story to personalise the chapter on the admission of black Americans to airline positions, the fight against racism, and eventual passage of legislation. The historical chapters, covering world and American events together with details about the changes in aviation; the role of women in working for the airlines, with a huge amount of detail in relation to Pan Am; changes in legislation and the events that led to such changes; and, on a lighter level, the ways in which social mores and women’s changing demands impacted on airline uniforms. I was encouraged to choose this book because of the short lived television series of Pan Am in which the Australian Margot Robbie starred early in her Hollywood career. The series showed the enthusiasm of the women who joined Pan Am, the strict controls on weight and appearance, and the lives they led on and off the planes. Cooke gives the reader all the glamour of the television series: it’s not hard to imagine Robbie and her companions in glamourous uniforms striding toward exciting destinations in sought after careers in the stories that fill Come Fly The World. However, events such as the baby flights from Vietnam as the Americans departed; the distress and necessity to entertain soldiers leaving Vietnam for short breaks, and then their return; the competition for promotions and discrimination that undermined women’s career prospects; the hard work some undertook to achieve legislation to improve conditions; the marriages and partnerships that prospered and foundered under flying conditions are also vividly described in this book. All these events are professionally researched, and there are numerous impressive endnotes. Julia Cooke has written a book that deftly combines serious material with loads of fun information; heart rending vignettes with glamorous adventures in exotic destinations; and a good dose of reality about what it meant to be a Pan Am stewardess. A thought for a possible addition - some photos of flight attendants’ uniforms, for example, over the period would be in keeping with the attention to appearance that is shown by the gorgeous cover.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    I was interested in this book as I grew up in the airline industry and worked as an airline pilot until I was laid off. My mother had been a “stewardess” for North Central Airlines until her marriage in 1958. She was forced to quit. She told me many times later “Oh, how I wished I had lied about getting married. Everybody I know tossed their wedding rings in the glove compartment of their cars before they went to work.” My dad worked as an agent for North Central, and later in the air freight de I was interested in this book as I grew up in the airline industry and worked as an airline pilot until I was laid off. My mother had been a “stewardess” for North Central Airlines until her marriage in 1958. She was forced to quit. She told me many times later “Oh, how I wished I had lied about getting married. Everybody I know tossed their wedding rings in the glove compartment of their cars before they went to work.” My dad worked as an agent for North Central, and later in the air freight department for NCA, Republic, and Northwest. He had wanted to be a pilot but his eyesight was too poor; I guess that transferred onto me as an only child. I flew as a passenger with my parents in the 1960’s and 1970’s, including doing the “Kai Tak Heart Attack” approach into Hong Kong with my parents in 1972, and later with my husband (an airline dispatcher) in 1990. I am very familiar with several airlines from the inside out, and know that being a flight crew member can be exhausting, lonely, boring, and frustrating. It also has flashes of brilliance. You can see places and meet people that you can’t begin to describe to people who don’t travel. Obviously, I was well aware of the incredibly strict rules governing flight attendant appearance before I read the book, so that was no surprise. I did appreciate the author recounting the rules in detail, though, as most people are not aware of how strict (and somewhat misogynistic) the airlines were. I also enjoyed the thorough recitation of Pan Am’s business side historically, with a bit of World Airways and Air America (Vietnam) thrown in. The references to what was going on in the United States and the rest of the world at the different points in the narrative was helpful as a guide so you had a point of reference for airline industry actions and reactions. I did not grow up knowing the inside scoop on Pan Am, but later, in the late 1980’s I did apply to them for a pilot position. A mechanic where I flew at the time was horrified; he had done some maintenance (at his other job) on a chartered Pan Am jet at the Humphrey Terminal (now called “T2”) in Minneapolis. He said “Don’t fly for them! The airplane had a bunch of holes in it!” Apparently there was corrosion from salt spray that he had seen on a portion of the aircraft not subject to cabin pressurization; something that should’ve been repaired but didn’t have to be as money was tight. How the mighty fall. Sad. I enjoyed the story and life arcs of the flight attendants as narrated by the author. Tori, Lynne, Karen: I crossed my fingers for you as I read your life stories, especially about the Vietnam “Operation Babylift.” Hazel Bowie: I applauded you for breaking barriers into the ranks of flight attendants at an international carrier and fully understood why you wanted to wander a ways from St. Paul and Mankato. I felt the same way when I was a teenager in a small town in western Wisconsin. There are parts of the book that recount a very long-term lawsuit (10 years) by a State Department employee which at first made me question why it was included. Later it became clear that that plaintiff’s tenacity, a woman who had been discriminated against in employment with the U.S. Government, opened doors for women in all fields. Her final win helped the large number of working women in the stewardess/flight attendant/cabin attendant field. And a further lawsuit opened the way for young men to serve as flight attendants as well. Thank you to the author for including information and explanation about where the rampant “Sexy Stew” image of the 1960’s came from. I even suffered from that in the 1980’s to 1990’s, and I was a pilot!! Come ON! I recommend this book for those who like interesting life stories, airline industry nerds, and those who like pop culture of the 60’s and 70’s.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Isabelle

    I received a free ARC of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am! As an international flight attendant working for a legacy airline in the US, we're bombarded with pictures and stories of what is referred to as The Golden Era of aviation. When everyone wore their Sunday best on airplanes and the first class meals weren't overrated frozen meals, but freshly cooked roa I received a free ARC of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am! As an international flight attendant working for a legacy airline in the US, we're bombarded with pictures and stories of what is referred to as The Golden Era of aviation. When everyone wore their Sunday best on airplanes and the first class meals weren't overrated frozen meals, but freshly cooked roast beef that was carved right beside your seat. Flight attendants, or stewardesses as they were called back in the day, were granted almost celebrity status within society. And those uniforms *chef's kiss*. This book is a history of the Pan Am flight attendants during the late 60s and early 70s. At that time Pan Am was the only airline in the US to be able to fly internationally, and it was considered one of the premier airlines in the world. Cooke interviewed a handful of flight attendants and weaved their stories into the broader picture of what was happening during those times. The fight for racial equality in hiring, the feminist movement, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War all played different roles within the lives of the Pan Am flight attendants. Cooke focuses on how Pan Am and the flight attendants played a huge role in the Vietnam War since they were constantly landing in Saigon and other South Vietnamese airports during the war ferrying soldiers into and out of Vietnam. Different flight attendants had differing views on the war, but all of their stories bring into focus the humanity of the Vietnam War, which isn't a topic that is typically discussed in non-fiction accounts. I really don't have any negatives about this book. I found it completely engaging, and very well written. It's obvious Cooke did her research into the aviation industry because her usage of our jargon was spot on. It was fascinating to read how layovers were in Moscow at the height of the Cold War and how flight attendants were essential in Operation Babylift at the end of the Vietnam War. Most people only think about the glamour of those flight attendants in Golden Age, and don't consider how they had a front seat view to the global political landscape of the 60s and 70s. It made me consider my job and how I've seen the devastation in Venezuela first-hand before we stopped flying there. Or how I learned the ups and downs of the Brazilian economy throughout the 2010s based on increases and decreases of the number of daily flights to the country. It really gave me a new perspective. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the aviation industry, feminist history, and the era of the 60s and 70s. This book is going to become one of those favorites that I recommend to everyone I know. 5 out of 5 stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Online Eccentric Librarian

    More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ The bubbly looking cover may lead reader to believe this is a tell all about the life of a stewardess - salacious stories of famous passengers, men in every port, and dealing with strange people. But there have been plenty of those 'memoirs' written and this is a different animal altogether: a thoroughly researched view of Pam Am's stewardesses as told through three individuals with the emphasis on the historic milieu More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ The bubbly looking cover may lead reader to believe this is a tell all about the life of a stewardess - salacious stories of famous passengers, men in every port, and dealing with strange people. But there have been plenty of those 'memoirs' written and this is a different animal altogether: a thoroughly researched view of Pam Am's stewardesses as told through three individuals with the emphasis on the historic milieu. What we get is not stories of individual flight anomalies but the macrocosm in which Pan Am was operating and how the stewardesses dealt with world events. Pan Am was closely tied to the US Government in those early eras and as such, many stewardesses were pulled into wars, political turmoils, unstable countries, and especially changing laws/mores to women and races. As such, the three women whose stories we follow are smartly chosen: a European, an all-American Caucasian, and an African-American. It provides a broad context of the different experiences each stewardess had, especially through the lens of their own situations and perspectives. Yes, Pan Am in the jet age was glamorous and the stewardesses enjoyed the freedoms this new world provided. And despite the 'sex-symbol' and especially advertisements meant to turn them into objects of lust, they were highly educated and valued for that intelligence. The book makes interesting contrasts between the "Fly me" and "Coffee, Tea, or Me?" attitudes that came with other airlines and how Pan Am managed to maintain a higher standard of class for its cabin crew. The first part of the book covers the beginning of the jet age, cold war, Viet Nam war, and introduction of the world changing 747. In other words, the Juan Trippe era of Pan Am. The second book deals with the late 1970s forward, including airline jacking, changing cities (Beirut, Thailand, etc.) and a shift toward women having more rights and respects. In all, because it was so well researched and put everything into context, I found this to be an excellent read. There are enough books out there making stewardesses look like mercurial sex kittens. For once, it was a pleasure to read about aviation with a more grounded and realistic view toward the women who crewed what was, at the time, America's premier airline. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publishers.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    The advertisement went something along the lines of: woman between 5'3 and 5'9, less than 140 pounds, speak at least two languages, be under 26 years of age, want to travel and meet people. Thousands of young women applied for and went through interviews for each and every position. Training weeded out even more until eventually, they were stewardesses and ready to perform their duties - serving coffee and meals thousands of feet in the air. Most airplane travelers at that time - the late 1950's The advertisement went something along the lines of: woman between 5'3 and 5'9, less than 140 pounds, speak at least two languages, be under 26 years of age, want to travel and meet people. Thousands of young women applied for and went through interviews for each and every position. Training weeded out even more until eventually, they were stewardesses and ready to perform their duties - serving coffee and meals thousands of feet in the air. Most airplane travelers at that time - the late 1950's through the early 1970's - were men and the airlines felt that a pretty girl would calm any nervousness felt by their male passengers. The story of these four main characters - there are tales of a number of others as well - show a distinct flavor of how women were looked upon - they were only able to work as long as they remained unmarried and young looking. Appearance was everything and if they were married, they would eventually get pregnant, ruining the line of their designer uniforms or their husbands would inundate the company phone lines demanding to know where their wives were. Says something about discrimination as well as the trust issue that should be between spouses. Grooming tips from hair to makeup to creating a core wardrobe to minimalize packing and wrinkled fabric. How they should act even when off duty but on a flight as one of the perks of the job was air travel for themselves as well as certain members of their families. But this story is not only about the stewardesses of Pan Am but the world at that time. Vietnam was a part of every conversation - especially when Pan Am flights were chartered to take soldiers from Vietnam to R&R locations of Tokyo, Hawaii, Hong Kong and more. The sexual revolution was in full swing and these woman took advantage of it - dating and dancing and partying until daybreak. Women demanding equal opportunities for advancement. The demonstrations held by the blacks for equal opportunities. Demonstrations for the anti-war contingents that wanted the U.S> out of Vietnam. And the disintegrating governmental conditions in South Vietnam that eventually led to the infamous BabyLift project. Even the battle that men had to become stewards aboard planes that supposedly had male passengers feel confrontational as well as bias against servers that weren't quite 'real men'. It's a fast read and an interesting look behind the scenes as these women were complete professionals at their jobs, embodying the prevailing idea of a servile woman even as she was independent and confident, within a time period that is looked back on as one of social change and reform. 2021-059

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sugarpuss O'Shea

    I can remember my first flight as if it were yesterday: It was 1977 & we were flying up from FL to NY to see Grandma & Grandpa for Easter break. We were all dressed up--my sister & I wore similar corduroy pant suits with a pretty sweater vest over ruffled, collared shirts. (Mom wasn't sure if pants were dressy enough to fly, but she knew we would be cold when we got to NY & figured we could get away with not wearing dresses because we were just kids.) We were on an Eastern Airlines plane that ha I can remember my first flight as if it were yesterday: It was 1977 & we were flying up from FL to NY to see Grandma & Grandpa for Easter break. We were all dressed up--my sister & I wore similar corduroy pant suits with a pretty sweater vest over ruffled, collared shirts. (Mom wasn't sure if pants were dressy enough to fly, but she knew we would be cold when we got to NY & figured we could get away with not wearing dresses because we were just kids.) We were on an Eastern Airlines plane that had 2 aisles--sets of 2 seats on either side, with 4 seats down the middle--and a movie screen up front. I was in total awe. During our flight, the stewardess spilled soda on my sister & me. She felt terrible. She took us to get cleaned up (using more soda, as a matter of fact) and before you knew it, we got to go in the cockpit where the Captain gave us wing pins! I didn't stop talking about it for days. So for me, flying was wondrous & stewardesses were goddesses of the air. Enter this book.... This book is about as far away from the glamor I remember flying used to be. Sure, these women went off to far-away lands, but Ms Cooke introduces us to a completely different side of life as a stewardess. These are women who risked their lives to do their jobs. They are the women of Pan Am flying between 1966 and 1975; the same time that war is raging in Vietnam. What these women did was nothing short of ballsy. I had no idea that passenger airlines flew in & out of Vietnam during the war. They took troops in & out of combat--some heading to the frontline for the first time, some heading home, & some heading out for 5 days of R&R--but each time a plane went in & out, it was a target (The pockmarks on the tarmac & bullet holes in the fusillade proved that). The planes flew so close to the action, the Captain could give details of napalm explosions & firefights. In fact, each stewardess was issued a designation of 2nd Lieutenant & was given a Geneva Conventions ID card to carry so in case she was captured by the enemy, she would be treated as a prisoner of war. And all this while wearing heels & a skirt! I am so grateful to Ms Cooke for telling their stories. Not only were they heroes in changing how women were treated in the workplace and beyond, they were also active members of the Vietnam war effort; so much so, they are included in the Vietnam Women's Memorial in DC. I for one, am still in awe.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nabila

    One of my absolute favorite eras is the 1960s leading into the 1970s. If you're someone who loves Mad Men or anything from that time, this is the book for you. When the series Pan Am was cancelled, I always craved more stories from that time and experience in travel and aviation. Furthermore, the direct encounters and societal norms that women faced during the era are especially intriguing to me. Last year, I made a conscious effort to read more non-fiction. I achieved this by starting with readi One of my absolute favorite eras is the 1960s leading into the 1970s. If you're someone who loves Mad Men or anything from that time, this is the book for you. When the series Pan Am was cancelled, I always craved more stories from that time and experience in travel and aviation. Furthermore, the direct encounters and societal norms that women faced during the era are especially intriguing to me. Last year, I made a conscious effort to read more non-fiction. I achieved this by starting with reading at least one non-fiction book to my reading schedule every month. Pair my relatively new foray into non-fiction with a subject that has always fascinated me makes for a highly anticipated read. Happy to report that I was not disappointed - in fact, I absolutely loved this book. Having stated my efforts to read more non-fiction, I have to admit something. This read much more like a novel than I would have expected. A welcome surprise that only helped in imagining the stories of the stewardesses that set the history of travel in motion. What is clear no matter the scenarios faced is that these women were educated and self-assured in an era that is often recollected as a sea of "Betty Drapers". The women are a very diverse group, all who had a very different experience within the same uniformity of the airline and its rules. I was especially drawn to Hazel Bowie, one of the very few Black stewardesses during that time. Her experience as a woman of color was poignant and my only complaint about this book is that I could have read a lot more pages about her. Furthermore, the author goes into describing Pan Am's role during the Vietnam War. This was something I knew about, but not in the kind of depth described here. I appreciated the gripping accounts of soldiers being flown in and out of battle. The book is nothing short of exciting to say the least. I would highly recommend this to anyone. A captivating account about Pan Am and first hand accounts from the women who experienced it. Going off on a little tangent here but how beautiful is the cover? There have been a lot of beautiful ones lately, but the contents haven't been matching up. In this case, the glamour, power, and artistry depicted on front was ever present on the inside. Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through NetGalley for the advanced reader copy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Sokoloff

    I admit that the cover of Come Fly the World was one of the reasons I felt compelled to pick up Julia Cooke's book. But, once I started reading it, the stories about the lives of the stewardesses she profiled, all of whom worked for Pan Am International Airlines, were equally compelling (as the cover), if not more so. First and foremost, it must be understood that Pan Am was the only airline that flew EXCLUSIVELY, INTERNATIONAL flights. So, if you boarded a Pan Am flight, then you were getting o I admit that the cover of Come Fly the World was one of the reasons I felt compelled to pick up Julia Cooke's book. But, once I started reading it, the stories about the lives of the stewardesses she profiled, all of whom worked for Pan Am International Airlines, were equally compelling (as the cover), if not more so. First and foremost, it must be understood that Pan Am was the only airline that flew EXCLUSIVELY, INTERNATIONAL flights. So, if you boarded a Pan Am flight, then you were getting off in a foreign country. This is an extremely important detail, in that the stewardesses working for Pan Am, underwent rigorous training in order to be able to understand and best serve the many cultures of the customers who they would be serving. These stewardesses were, for all intents and purposes, actually "foreign diplomats" representing the United States. Her book, (which took her 6 years to write), on a broad level, is about the places the women flew to on Pan Am, the work culture of the airline, and also, the role that the women played in the Vietnam war (she covers this in GREAT detail, as Pan Am flew the draftees both to the war, to R&R breaks in their service, and back to the United States after they completed their tour). Cooke managed to become well acquainted with the 5 women she portrays in her book. It is clear from her writing that she was fascinated by them. These women did not fit any mold, says Cooke, describing them, in her own words, as being, "in between feminine and feminist". They were actually, both of these at once. They were women who were ahead of their times. In the book, Julia really shows that their jobs, as stewardesses for Pan Am (in particular), were at times incredibly dangerous, flying through war zones (Vietnam, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Africa). There is so much detail in this book that I can not include everything I found so fascinating while reading it. From fashion, to architecture, to politics, to food and friendships, and culture, this book is both broad in scope, and also extremely detailed. I really loved it and highly recommend it. Thank you #netgalley and @hmhbooks for my advanced copy of #comeflytheworld by @juliacooke in return for my honest review. #5stars

  25. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    I thought this was going to be a bit of fun and fluff. Not so. It was so much more. It took me from the 1950s ‘stewardess’ to today’s ‘flight attendant’. In 1960 I applied for a job as a stewardess with a major airline (not Pan Am). To me it offered glamour and free international travel. I did not get the job. If you thought this job was nothing but flying the ‘friendly skies' (as I did), you’d be wrong…Pan Am flew routes that placed crews in imminent danger in some very ‘unfriendly skies’. The tra I thought this was going to be a bit of fun and fluff. Not so. It was so much more. It took me from the 1950s ‘stewardess’ to today’s ‘flight attendant’. In 1960 I applied for a job as a stewardess with a major airline (not Pan Am). To me it offered glamour and free international travel. I did not get the job. If you thought this job was nothing but flying the ‘friendly skies' (as I did), you’d be wrong…Pan Am flew routes that placed crews in imminent danger in some very ‘unfriendly skies’. The training for a Pan Am stewardess was akin to a fancy finishing school in Switzerland at their training facility in Miami. It was rigorous and demanding. Courses dealing with safety, such as procedure(s) for leaving a disabled plane, were especially daunting. To become a stewardess in the 1950’s & 60’s the requirements were stringent for age, weight and height. Once employed there were frequent ‘weigh-ins’ to make sure one had not gone over the weight restrictions. One had to be bi-lingual. You could not get married and you pretty much knew that your flying days would be over by age 32. Pg. 107: “All airlines agreed on the perils of a visibly pregnant stewardess.” By the late 1960’s these young ladies began to buck these rules and started a campaign for change. Pg.151: "By the end of 1972, two groups of stewardess activists had formed….At a press conference, two women from each group told reporters that they were more afraid of being written up for talking back to a drunk passenger than they were of a hijacking.” I learned a bit of history about Pan Am and what led to the phrase the ‘jet set’. I learned that Pan Am was involved in associations with the US Government in several ways. They flew servicemen out of Vietnam for R&R and they flew new recruits into Vietnam who would be facing battle for the first time. Stewardesses would have to adjust their demeanor for the passengers they had on board. The book ends with the ‘orphan airlifts’ out of Vietnam. Pg. 208: “By the numbers, stewardesses had formed one of the largest groups of civilians to contribute to the Vietnam War.”

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Honestly, I never read any reviews until after reading the book (and studying the photos too). So I have been absolutely flummoxed by the majority of the high ratings. Having lived through this period and having VERY good (1 best friend) become stewardesses, I don't see this as others. For sure. The book consistently loses its focus as it goes into 100 other tangents to Pan Am and the industry. And the times, and the war (Vietnam) and the baby rescuing operations etc. etc. etc. It IS the title in Honestly, I never read any reviews until after reading the book (and studying the photos too). So I have been absolutely flummoxed by the majority of the high ratings. Having lived through this period and having VERY good (1 best friend) become stewardesses, I don't see this as others. For sure. The book consistently loses its focus as it goes into 100 other tangents to Pan Am and the industry. And the times, and the war (Vietnam) and the baby rescuing operations etc. etc. etc. It IS the title in one sense but whose story. At 4 or 5 individuals? Not necessarily average either. I knew many stewardesses and none of them had any college degrees and VERY few had 1 semester. Regardless, this gives a picture that is atypical, IMHO. And also holds dozens of the positives with quite few of the negatives. Health being #1. It was not a lifestyle that engendered health. Every one I knew was used up, got sick- or was thrown away for age or weight or some other hierarchy squabble. It covers somewhat of the struggle to change "the rules" but not much to the extent of how the women were used to depletion. Every one I heard the tale from 1st hand left the services worse off than when they started. While in business during this exact time, much less frou-frou of "dynamic" looks measures were so specified. Being fully adult through the last half of the '60's- I fully remember who earned, rose or established in careers and who didn't. Paid ones and unpaid ones, at that. The pictures were posed for the most part, IMHO. The women of today of that same age group would not at all be subjected to the rigid indignities of norm. The trailer says Mad Men??? Believe me Joanie had it ALL OVER these women. She actually got to use her intelligence as much as her looks. A much more even and organized novel could have been done. Hodgepodge at the most. 2.5 stars and never rounded up for the level of "user" connotated here. Or realistically how one sided the user feature worked out. It was much worse to psyches and health than this book implies.

  27. 5 out of 5

    3 Things About This Book

    Pan Am was living its last days when I was born, so I didn't get to experience Pan Am glory. But one thing lived on: Pan Am girls! Their glory beating that of Pan Am itself was something that was talked about even year's after company's dissolution. Even today when I dress up certain way and people jokingly ask "when is your next flight?", I tell them I took a page from Pan Am girls' book. They were the highlight of the flight industry. Now looking back though all I can see is how they were obje Pan Am was living its last days when I was born, so I didn't get to experience Pan Am glory. But one thing lived on: Pan Am girls! Their glory beating that of Pan Am itself was something that was talked about even year's after company's dissolution. Even today when I dress up certain way and people jokingly ask "when is your next flight?", I tell them I took a page from Pan Am girls' book. They were the highlight of the flight industry. Now looking back though all I can see is how they were objectified. And no one really talked about who they really were and what it took to be them. This book comes to rescue. This is a recount of experiences of several Pan Am stewardesses when Pan Am was taking over the skies. I, not American, did not know the role these people and their services were playing during Vietnam War. I had no clue about the Operation Babylift. These ladies pretty much witnessed (maybe more than just witnessing) any major event that US government decided to involve in. Imagine the trauma that could come with it! They were not these bubbly, bimbo girls - they had to be well versed, educated people who could speak several languages and while reading the cabin work as a network builder for passengers. I'm glad that we get to hear about the actual experiences of these women and fights they had to fight to get where they were. Their battle to make people acknowledge them as a human being, a woman, an individual instead of certain body type with pretty face requires more screen time than it's getting now. This is a book on feminism. This is a book on demanding rights!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Slightly on the fence with how to rate this one because sometimes it's fascinating and other times it gets lost from its focus (as stated in the title) of Women of Pan Am. I loved the parts stemming from interviews with Lynne, Tori, Karen, and Clare. The part about the training they went through, the amount of education most stewardess had, the bits about foreign travel and the 'family' welcome given to Pan Am employees by former employees, the types of flights the ran, the sexism and the fight Slightly on the fence with how to rate this one because sometimes it's fascinating and other times it gets lost from its focus (as stated in the title) of Women of Pan Am. I loved the parts stemming from interviews with Lynne, Tori, Karen, and Clare. The part about the training they went through, the amount of education most stewardess had, the bits about foreign travel and the 'family' welcome given to Pan Am employees by former employees, the types of flights the ran, the sexism and the fight back, more--interesting and enjoyable to read up. Other times Cooke gets very into history--wow was there a lot on the war in Vietnam, for example, it's very biographical of the woman's lives outside of Pan Am--that slow the pace and drag it down. I absolutely believe historical context is important. Yes, I want to know about the women's lives outside of their job. I LOVE the amount of source notes at the close and the index. But, it's sold as a trip along with Pan Am women and 1/2 of this book (rough guess) is not that. Ignoring the gigantic connection between Pan Am and Vietnam wouldn't have been right, but the balance feels off for a book that doesn't have any Vietnam subject headings. I like that this exists, the women and the cover are boss, but I finished wishing I'd learned more about several of the topics briefly covered. I wish there were more photos and even more interviewees. If you're interested, it's worth it. If you're wavering, well, knowing that there's lots of contextual information ahead of time may be helpful. Flight attendances have STORIES and it's too bad this doesn't grab as much excitement and general fun as it potentially has. 3.5

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    It started for me with those fabulous blue and white square travel bags... I was enamored with Pan Am Airlines. Sadly, I wasn't old enough for their heyday of two-story flights with a lounge, bar, and warm meals at any given time of the day. Come Fly The World is the epitome of those fabulous bags and more! I read this in March which in the United States is National Women's History month — a perfect time to celebrate and read about the women who served customers, consoled Vietnam Soldiers, picke It started for me with those fabulous blue and white square travel bags... I was enamored with Pan Am Airlines. Sadly, I wasn't old enough for their heyday of two-story flights with a lounge, bar, and warm meals at any given time of the day. Come Fly The World is the epitome of those fabulous bags and more! I read this in March which in the United States is National Women's History month — a perfect time to celebrate and read about the women who served customers, consoled Vietnam Soldiers, picked up war orphans in the middle of danger, fought for Women's Rights, lived throughout the world learning about self-identity, strength, and even bravery all while wearing heels at heights unimaginable 50 years before when the Wright Brothers attempted their first flight. Julia Cooke weaves world history, social construct, and fashion into this novel and does it while folding out a tale that not only educates but entertains. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the women who changed the world for generations of women (and men to be honest,) no matter their age, ethnicity, gender, physical appearance, or relationship status. Pan Am was a great airline. It was very sad to have their company shut down before I was of an age to explore the world myself. "Stewardesses" lived large, lived how they wanted, and created a camaraderie that lasted beyond their work years. As a teen, I dreamed of traveling the world by working up and down the aisle of a plane. This book makes me regret not achieving that dream. Thank you, NetGalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Julia Cook for the opportunity to read Come Fly the World in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a DRC of this book! All I know about the golden age of flying is from the movies and TV shows. And as we all know, Hollywood often doesn't exactly tell the truth. So I was eager to learn more about the stewardesses of this age, known for their glamour and somewhat loose morals. Come Fly the World delivered. Come Fly the World is the story of the stewardesses of Pan Am airlines, an airline that flew exclusively international flights and was the leader of Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a DRC of this book! All I know about the golden age of flying is from the movies and TV shows. And as we all know, Hollywood often doesn't exactly tell the truth. So I was eager to learn more about the stewardesses of this age, known for their glamour and somewhat loose morals. Come Fly the World delivered. Come Fly the World is the story of the stewardesses of Pan Am airlines, an airline that flew exclusively international flights and was the leader of the jet-age American airline industry. The book focuses primarily on the stories of four stewardesses, but only loosely as they relate to the larger narrative. It was interesting to learn about the life of a stewardess, which offered more in terms of independence than was typical of a woman of that time. The role that these stewardesses played in the Vietnam War was also new, and very interesting, as was the rules that the stewardesses had to live by (weight checks, uniform requirements, retire when married, no pregnancies, etc.). While I enjoyed learning new things, I found the narrative of the book rather disjointed. I hard a hard time keeping track of all of the people mentioned, especially the four women that formed the nucleus of the story. Someone would be introduced, we would stick with them for a chapter, and then meet up with them again several chapters later, by which time I'd forgotten where we'd last left them. In all, a good read for anyone interested in learning about airlines and women's history.

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