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Book follows women pilots across Atlantic

Author to speak at Waunakee Public Library Oct. 25In an election year when a woman is aspiring to break the ultimate glass ceiling, a newly published book reveals the story of other pioneering women who reached new heights.“Crossing the Horizon,” by Laurie Notaro, a work of historical fiction, tells of three women who attempted to fly across the Atlantic prior to Amelia Earhart.In 1927, only seven years after women were granted the right to vote, Elsie Mackay, Ruth Elder and Mabel Boll decided to learn to fly and attempt a transatlantic crossing.“They were criticized and made fun of and told to go home and wash dishes for their husbands,” Notaro said.The author said the idea for the book came to her while watching a television show about three women who had vanished while attempting to fly over the Atlantic prior to Amelia Earhart. She began an internet search and realized actually six separate women had attempted the flight.“History had forgotten these women. They had done more for aviation than Earhart,” Notaro said.All had attempted to move into positions previously held only by men.“They had the guts and the wherewithal to fly 40 hours over the Atlantic,” Notaro said.Inspired by their stories, Notaro began researching the book in 2010 and took two years to write it.“Every day I was amazed at what these women had accomplished, not only the physical feat of flying but the country’s reaction to them,” Notaro added.The planes were wooden; ice formed on the wings; they had no radios on board. Flying in storms was a physical challenge, not to mention staying awake for 40 hours at a time.In the late 1920s, they made the front pages of the New York Times and London Times, Notaro said.“Ruth Elder was the most famous woman in the world. They have a song written about her. Everyone knew who they were. To see them fade so quickly and off the radar is sad,” Notaro said.Notaro made contact with the aviatrixes’ family members and found it fascinating to share her research with them, she said.“I think this is an important book for young girls,” Notaro said. “This is a really good example of women who had a dream and let nothing stop them.”Notaro is the author of 14 other books, including 12 humorous memoirs. A former reporter and columnist for the Arizona Republic, she lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her husband.She will present some of her research and read from her book at the Waunakee Public Library at 7 p.m. Oct. 25. Comments (0)

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