Jacqueline Cochran

Biography of a Pioneer Aviator


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About the Book

Although Amelia Earhart remains the best-known female pilot of the 1930s, Jacqueline Cochran stood as the more important aviation pioneer and America’s top woman pilot. Among her many accomplishments, Cochran was the first female aviator to win the Bendix Air Race, to fly a bomber, to break the speed of sound, and to participate in astronaut training. This revealing biography explores Cochran’s childhood in an impoverished Florida mill town, her early career as a pilot, and her role in creating and leading the WASPs during World War II. It also chronicles her postwar exploits, including her participation in the NASA space program, her unsuccessful 1956 bid for Congress, and her surprising reluctance to crusade for the advancement of women. This detailed profile, removing Cochran from Earhart’s shadow, firmly establishes the aviatrix as a pivotal figure in the history of women in aviation and in war.

About the Author(s)

Rhonda Smith-Daugherty is an associate professor of history and history department chairperson at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky.

Bibliographic Details

Rhonda Smith-Daugherty

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 221
Bibliographic Info: 7 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6275-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8996-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix
Introduction      1

1. The Making of Jacqueline Cochran      9
2. The Lady Is a Pilot      20
3. America’s Number One Woman Flier      35
4. An Unusual Life      54
5. Women in War      65
6. Jacqueline Cochran and the WASPs      80
7. The WASP Experience      98
8. The End of the WASPs      117
9. High Flying      132
10. Postscript      151

Appendix One: Biographical Sketches
General Henry Harley Arnold, 1886–1950      155
Vincent Hugo Bendix, 1882–1945      158
Amelia Earhart, 1897–1937      159
Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby, 1905–1995      161
Nancy Harkness Love, 1914–1976      162
General of the Army George Catlett Marshall, 1880–1959      164
Floyd Odlum, 1892–1976      166
Alexander Nikolaivich Prokofieff de Seversky, 1894–1974      167
Lieutenant General Barton Kyle Yount, 1884–1949      169
Appendix Two: Major Aircraft Flown by Jacqueline Cochran      172
Chapter Notes      173
Bibliography      193
Index      205

Book Reviews & Awards

“an in-depth biography…excellent addition…recommended”—Midwest Book Review