• Last modified 497 days ago (Feb. 13, 2020)


'Fly Girls' library's annual community book selection

“Fly Girls,” by Keith O’Brien, is the book participants in Marion City Library’s One Community, One Book reading event will read.

Myrta Billings will lead a discussion of the book at 7 p.m. March 24 in the Kansas Room at the library.

“Fly Girls” is the untold story of five women who fought to compete against men in the high-stakes national air races of the 1920s and 1930s — and won.

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 competed to host them.

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.

O’Brien weaves together the stories of 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 blueblood 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 would triumph in the toughest race of all.

Copies are available for checkout at Marion City Library.

For more information, call the library at (620)382-2442.

Last modified Feb. 13, 2020