Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday book: West to the Sunrise, by Grace Harris

West to the Sunrise, by Grace Harris
Iowa State University Press, 1980
209 pages, no index. A few b&w photos scattered throughout the book

Grace Harris is one of those rare people who made her dreams become a reality. Ever since her first exposure to airplanes - a ride with a barnstorming pilot in a World WAr I "Jenny"-the thrill of flight has never left her. That initial flight was only the start of an adventurous life and illustrious career not only in aviation, but also ballooning, motor racing, and business. Her experiences, as told in West to the Sunrise, provides fascinating reading and present a first-hand story of aviation from Pear Harbor to the present.

Harris recalls all the tension and drama of airplane racing. She describes her feelings after winning the Kendall trophy at the 1948 National Air Races for women in Cleveland and then repeating her victory in 1949. She also introduces the reader to such aviation notables as Jimmy Doolittle, Jacqurline Cochran and Arlene Davis.

Joining the Sports Car Club in 1955, Harris drove an English Elva MKII and an Italian Maserati 200 S to the championship of the women's division Midwest Region in 1958, 1959 and 1960. Another part of her life was spent amidst the smoke and noise of competitive auto racing in such places as England, the French Riviera, and Monte Carlo.

Also, Harris was the first F.A.A.-licensed balloonist in the United States. Anyone who has ever risen in a hot-air balloon or wished they could will enjoy her vivid portrayal.

West to The Sunrise is a true-to-life adventure story as told by a champion woman pilot and racing car driver. Aviation and auto racing buffs of all ages will enjoy her captivating tales that span an era of rapid development of our flying and driving machines.

Table of Contents
Foreword by Major Brooke E. Allen, retired
1. Takeoff
2. The War Years
3. Wet WAter - Dry Desert
4. Pylon Polishing
5. Wreaths of Victory and Sorrow
6. The Glamourous World of Motor Racing
7. Federation Aeronautique Internbationale
8. Water, Water Everywhere
9. The Silent World
10. Spaghetti and Swiss Chocolate
11. Mexico City and Tel Aviv
12. Oktoberfest in Munich
13. Behind the Iron Curtain
14. Holding Pattern

No comments: