Thursday, December 3, 2009

Review: No Limits: A woman pilot's search for the real Amelia Earhart



This is a slim volume, only 113 pages long, and it is extremely disappointing.

In 1996, Linda Finch, a wealthy aviator, flew around the world in a recreation of Amelia Earhart's final flight. No Limits was the book published just before she took off on the two weeks long journey.

So how much of this 113-page tome has to deal with how Finch made her money, got interested in aviation, did in aviation, set up the World Flight, and so on?

A whole 20 pages. That's it. 20 pages, for a story that would have been fascinating in its own right.

Instead, we are given an 85-page biography of Amelia Earhart. Now, it's well-written, but it's nothing that wasn't told by Doris Rich in her biography in 1989 (in hardcover, brought out in paperback only in 1996, if Amazon.com is to be believed. I wonder if they brought it out in paperback to coincide with Earhart's 100 birthday which would be in 1997. (She was born in 1897).

There's another book, Amelia Earhart, world flight 1937, world flight 1997, Linda Finch, by Paul Duffy, which is perhaps the story of Finch's flight, but that's a slim tome too, only 100 pages. (Unfortunately, Amazon wants $20 for that, a price I'm not prepared to pay for such a slim tome. I'll try interlibrary loan).

Anyway, Wikipedia has a detailed article on Linda Finch, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_Finch, and includes the story of the flight.

Finch met with groups of school children at all her stops in the United States and many of her stops overseas. The World Flight 1997 official web site had a multimedia school program that used the flight to teach geography, science, weather and mathematics to students. As well, the high-tech computer and communication equipment in her aircraft allowed children in some 200,000 classrooms around the world to chart her progress via the Internet.[2][7] The website was accessed approximately 30 million times. Finch said she used a laptop in the cockpit of the Electra to answer e-mail messages and she spent four or five hours every day after landing to keep in touch with her businesses and her three children: Julies, Leslie and Katie (ages 28, 21 and two at the time).


The website is unfortunately no more, which is too bad. It would have been interesting to have it as an archive.

Anyway, I can't advise purchasing this book, although it can be had inexpensively through Amazon.com. Gt it via Interlibrary Loan.

But Linda Finch, her career and her flight, and her life, sure seem like a story that deserves a real autobiography or biography. Perhaps she'll share that with us some day.

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