Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History Audiobook, by Keith O'Brien Play Audiobook Sample

Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History Audiobook

Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History Audiobook, by Keith O'Brien Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Erin Bennett Publisher: Highbridge Audio Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 8.17 hours at 1.5x Speed 6.13 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: August 2018 Format: Unabridged Audiobook ISBN: 9781684412594

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

66:56 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

09:04 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

31:53 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Keith O'Brien: > View All...

Publisher Description

Between the world wars, no sport was more popular, or more dangerous, than airplane racing. Thousands of fans flocked to multi-day events, and cities vied with one another to host them. The pilots themselves were hailed as dashing heroes who cheerfully stared death in the face. Well, the men were hailed. Female pilots were more often ridiculed than praised for what the press portrayed as silly efforts to horn in on a manly, and deadly, pursuit. Fly Girls recounts how a cadre of women banded together to break the original glass ceiling: the entrenched prejudice that conspired to keep them out of the sky.

O'Brien weaves together the stories of five remarkable women: Florence Klingensmith, a high school dropout who worked for a dry cleaner in Fargo, North Dakota; Ruth Elder, an Alabama divorcee; Amelia Earhart, the most famous, but not necessarily the most skilled; Ruth Nichols, who chafed at the constraints of her blue blood family's expectations; and Louise Thaden, the mother of two young kids who got her start selling coal in Wichita. Together, they fought for the chance to race against the men—and in 1936 one of them would triumph in the toughest race of all.

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"Just saw the author speak on C-SPAN2 Just listening to him you get the feeling this will be a book worth investing in."

— Scott Jennings (5 out of 5 stars)


  • “A riveting account that puts us in the cockpit with Amelia Earhart and other brave women who took to the skies in the unreliable flying machines of the ’20s and ’30s.”

    — People
  • “These stories of Amelia Earhart and other female pilots who fought to fly.”

    — Time
  • “Keith O’Brien has brought these women—mostly long-hidden and forgotten—back into the light where they belong. And he’s done it with grace, sensitivity and a cinematic eye for detail.”

    — USA Today
  • “Exhilarating.”

    — New York Times Book Review
  • “A fascinating chapter not just in feminism and aviation but in twentieth-century American history.”

    — Wall Street Journal
  • “[An] engrossing mix of group biography and technology history.”

    — Nature
  • “Narrator Erin Bennett’s clear, crisp articulation highlights the stories of five female pilots…Bennett reflects the author’s horror at the many accidents suffered by pilots over the years, as well as his indignation at the unfair treatment and prejudice aimed at female pilots. She speeds her presentation during races and the many scenes of fatal crashes, emphasizing the dangers. These moments contrast with the more contemplative stories of the women after ‘their time in the sky.’ This is an appealing title about strong women who were pioneers in their field.”

    — AudioFile
  • “A vivid, suspenseful story of women determined to defy gravity—and men—to fulfill their lofty dreams.”

    — Kirkus Reviews
  • “Spectacularly detailed…re-creat[es] a world that can still inspire us today.”

    — BookPage
  • “This book has it all: adventure, tragedy, and heroes who overcame cruel prejudice to rule the air.”

    — Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author


  • A BookPage Top Pick of the Month
  • New York Times bestseller
  • A #1 bestseller in aviation history
  • A Time Magazine Pick of Best Books of Summer
  • A Parade Magazine Pick of Must-Reads
  • A Bustle Pick of Must-Reads
  • A USA Today Pick of Weekend Reads for Book Lovers
  • A Library Journal Best Audiobook of 2018
  • A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice of Best Books Now in Paperback

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About Keith O'Brien

Keith O’Brien, an award-winning journalist, has written for the New York Times, Politico, and the Boston Globe. A longtime contributor to National Public Radio, he has appeared on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and This American Life, among other programs. Follow him on Twitter @KeithOB.

About Erin Bennett

Erin Bennett is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and a stage actress who played Carlie Roberts in the BBC radio drama Torchwood: Submission. She can be heard on several video games. Regional theater appearances include the Intiman, Pasadena Playhouse, Arizona Theatre Company, A Noise Within, Laguna Playhouse, and the Getty Villa. She trained at Boston University and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.