The Sound of Wings (Hutchinson, London) Publication date 1989 Hardback
ISBN 0 09 173596 3
The Sound of Wings (Arrow Books, London) Publication date 1990 Paperback
ISBN 0 09 970870 1
The Sound of Wings (St Martins Press, New York) Publication date 1989 Hardback
ISBN 0 312 03431 8
The Sound of Wings (St Martins Press, New York) Publication date 1990 Paperback
ISBN 0 312 03431 8
When Amelia Earhart disappeared in 1937 during her attempt to fly around the world, she was already known as America's most famous female aviator. Her sense of daring and determination, rare for women of her time, brought her fame from the day she became the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an aeroplane.
Previous biographies have concentrated on trying to explain Earhart's disappearance. In this definitive biography, Mary Lovell takes a different approach and delivers a brilliantly researched report of Earhart's life.
The Sound of Wings describes Earhart's tomboy childhood in Kansas at the turn of the century; her close relationship with an alcoholic father; her early fascination with aeroplanes; the impact of Lindbergh's 1927 transatlantic flight on her life; her first meeting with G. P. Putnam, Lindbergh's publisher and public relations agent; and the peculiar business/matrimonial relationship that Earhart and Putnam formed between 1927 and her disappearance ten years later.
Lovell adds to the drama and mystery of Earhart's story by examining Putnam's role in her rise to fame: his literary and social connections, his huge appetite for publicity, and his overwhelming ambition for both himself and Earhart that culminated in her last fateful flight. Just as Straight on Till Morning, her best-selling biography of Beryl Markham, explored the milieu of British East Africa in the 1930s, The Sound of Wings vividly captures the romance and reckless daring of the fifteen- to twenty-year period that was 'The Golden Age of Flight'.
The biography is based on original documents, letters, and logbooks of Earhart and her contemporaries, along with press reports, interviews with Earhart's and Putnam's families, and recently declassified U.S. Navy records. Spanning the years from Earhart's birth to Putnam's death in 1950, this absorbing biography presents the life of an uncommon woman, and of the man who both aided and took advantage of her dreams.
What the reviewers said:
"Vividly evokes the tragic aspect of Amelia Earhart, as well as the moxie and grit of her personality and the hair raising atmosphere of pioneering aviation."
New York Times Book Review.
"A private glimpse beneath the surface of public lives."
"The inevitability of a great romantic tragedy ... In this book, for the first time, the little things and the great mingle, and somehow explain each other. This is what biographies are about."
"Offers fascinating new insights into Earhart's relationship with Putnam."
"A realistic full-bodied portrait."
"Has the expertise and understanding one would expect from Lovell ..."
New York Magazine.