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Publisher's Summary

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 education, 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 five foot three and five foot nine, between 105 and 140 pounds, and under 26 years of age at the time of hire.

Cooke’s intimate storytelling weaves together the real-life stories of a memorable cast of characters, from small-town girl 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 light 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.

©2021 Julia Cooke (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Come Fly the World

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Come see the world!

A truly enjoyable listen read by one of my favorite narrators, Andi Arndt.

As a little six year old girl, the first job I ever wanted was to be an airline stewardess. The potential to go fly the world and wear a crisp suit with a bow at the collar was the epitome of cool for me. This book provides such a wonderful peak into the lives of some of the flight attendants from Pan Am and the jet age. Their stories are told while giving the reader a historical account of what was happening in the world and the way their roles shifted throughout history. The way these women navigated the world and independence while getting to travel was such a wonderful read.

Thank you for sharing their stories!

3 people found this helpful

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Really enjoyable if you love travel and history!

Well read, very interesting. Good combination of women's rights and American history. Glad I bought it.

2 people found this helpful

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Not what I expected--in a good way!

Judging the book by its cover, I expected something light and fluffy--more like Coffee, Tea, or Me, which I read in the...70s? This was way better. I appreciate books that put things in historical context, and this one did. I had no idea about Pan Am and Viet Nam. I enjoyed the stories of the women, and in their cases, appreciated the view from a feminist lens. It was the perfect blend of history and memoiresque writing.

2 people found this helpful

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I Flew the World

As the daughter of a travel agent and a National/Pan Am agent, I did fly the world as a child. This book took me back to some of those experiences and destinations, as well as opening my eyes to the social issues through the decades. Not fathoming sexism at all, my sister and I would go from gate to gate trying to see the girls' names on the National planes in the 1970's. I enjoyed hearing the different life stories of each stewardess, too. Now, please buckle your seat belts, put your seats and tray tables in the upright and locked positions, and prepare for takeoff!

1 person found this helpful

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fabulous

went much deeper than I'd imagine with dealing with feminism, transcending race, and all of the Vietnam War stories that I've never heard of. definitely recommend to anyone with an interest in flight attendant history, war history, aviation, or life in the late 60s early 70s

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  • 05-17-21

Good Read

So much fun!! Very interesting great story!!! Love the 70s vibes........ Fun to hear about how. Glamorous life use to be!!!!

1 person found this helpful

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Eye-Opening, Informative and Entertaining

Come Fly the World is a fascinating read about the early days of flight attendants, and in particular, Pan Am "stewardesses". I had no idea of the language and education requirements nor of the training rigor beyond standard service and safety. This was an entertaining and eye-opening book.

From girdles to world politics, author Julia Cooke presents the life of a stewardess through the experiences of a handful of women who helped people "take the world by the tail" or "fly the friendly skies". While the role might seem quite sexist, the women featured in Come Fly the World viewed the job as their way out of the limited life offered to them during the 1950-1970 eras. They traveled alone, wore pants, and cashed their own paychecks. Granted, it wasn't all roses but these young women had more freedom than their friends at home.

This is not a "coffee, tea or me" expose; Ms. Cooke touches on world politics--including the Vietnam War, the women's liberation movement and its impact on both women and men in the industry, as well as the use of the image of stewardesses in selling the industry.

The audiobook is fabulously narrated by Andi Arndt.

1 person found this helpful

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History made personal

Not what I expected, it was so much better! History seen through the eyes of the women who lived it.

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Confusing

This book seemed convoluted to me. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be the history of flight attendants or a memoir on various women who worked in the industry. It went back-and-forth and never really came altogether.