Daughter of the Air: The Short Soaring Life of Cornelia Fort

In Daughter of the Air, Rob Simbeck paints a vivid portrait of Army pilot Cornelia Fort--a passionate, brave, intelligent, and charming woman--and provides insight into the political and social atmosphere of her era. He cites Fort's letters and diaries, various historical documents, and interviews of people who knew her personally and also flew with her. Cornelia Fort's (1919-1943) barrier-breaking life included membership in the first trained women's flight squadron, the WAFS. In a remarkable coincidence of fate, she was flying over Oahu on the morning of December 7, 1941, and was one of the few to witness the bombing of Pearl Harbor from the air. Her brief career was marked by the prejudices of the era toward women pilots. Raised on her parent's Nashville estate and educated at a prestigious finishing school, Fort cast off her role as a member of Southern aristocracy to become a pilot. She persevered in her courageous career despite rampant prejudice toward women, noting -because there were and are so many disbelievers in women pilots, especially in their place in the Army, all of us realized what a spot we were in. We had to deliver the goods or else.- Tragically, it was a male pilot's practical joke that clipped her wing and sent Fort into a fatal spin. This biography is a must read for historians, military specialists, or those interested in the role of women in the military.