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East to the Dawn [Paperback]

Susan Butler
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

27 Aug 2009
Amelia Earhart captured the hearts of the nation after becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1928. And her disappearance on an around-the-world flight in 1937 is an enduring mystery. Based on ten years of research, East to the Dawn provides a richly textured portrait of Earhart in all her complexity. It's the perfect complement to the October 2009 movie Amelia, starring Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, and Ewan McGregor.

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East to the Dawn + Amelia Earhart: The Sound of Wings + Amelia [DVD]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (27 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030681837X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306818370
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 15 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 441,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'The chapters detailing the last flight are riveting.'
--The Daily Telegraph, Saturday 22nd August 2009

Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. In 1937 she was attempting to fly round the world when she vanished in a Pacific storm. Her body was never found. Since then expeditions have been staged to find out what happened. Another is scheduled
for next year and this biography coincides with a film to be released this autumn.
--The Daily Express, August 28, 2009

"East to the Dawn, first published in 1999, is considered the most comprehensive account of Earhart's life, and is a primary assignment for the film Amelia."

--The Oldie, December 2009

About the Author

Susan Butler is a journalist who lives in Central Florida.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Ms. Butler's book, written more or less to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Earhart's birth and the 60th of her final flight, is a hagiography, almost without critical balance. Earhart's very real accomplishments as social pioneer and aviator are fully documented, but all too fulsomely presented. Apparently everything she did was brilliant, every man she attracted was a genius, every record-breaking flight a triumph. The author (descended from a flying contemporary of Amelia Earhart) claims to have spent ten years researching and writing this book. She would have done well to include more of the flip side of Amelia Earhart: the sometime publicity hound who spent more time in front of microphones and cameras instead of practicing her flying skills for the Bendix air races, for example. The book shows more competence in its accounts of the navigation and mechanical problems of early flyers, and here the account of Earhart's final flight is illuminating. There is a concise account of the farrago of radio navigation problems that led to the loss of the Lockheed 10 Electra and its crew. Also, the author rightly debunks the old theories of the flight's having been a mission to spy on the Japanese in the Pacific. After reading this book, you will know a lot more about a person of remarkable courage and class, who should be (and unfortunately is not) a model for the women's movement of today. The book does not treat her complexity with the depth it deserves, but the author's warmth and dedication to her subject are commendable.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes a familiar icon new and fascinating again. 28 May 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Susan Butler has combined faultless research with first-rate writing to bring Amelia Earhart into sharp focus. The book reads as though she knew Earhart, liked her, and understood what made her soar. One of the best biographies I have read in a long time.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars informative and absorbing 23 May 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
EAST TO THE DAWN not only gives the reader an incredibly detailed account of Amelia Earhart's life, but its presentation allows one to have a clear sense of the period, places and people of her life. From childhood in Kansas at the turn of the century, through an exciting adulthood which took her all over the world, you will feel that you are almost there. It is both informative and absorbing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting enough - eventually 18 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback
This is an interesting book about a fascinating woman. Unfortunately, first few chapters on her family's history are tedious in the extreme. Once the book gets beyond Amelia's childhood things quickly pick up and even though we all know how tragically things ended for Amelia the author does a good job of conveying the excitement and optimism that Amelia felt whenever she was plotting one of her airborne adventures.

Well worth the initial struggle.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new veiw of Amelia 14 Mar 2001
By C. Ellen Connally - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
I grew up hearing bits and pieces about Amelia Earhart. There was always the slight inference that she may have been a lesbian and the stories about her possible capture by the Japanese. I found EAST TO THE DAWN illuminating and informative. The author makes Amelia much more of a feminist and political person than I had ever imagined. For example, I did not know about her friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt. But Amelia's friendship with Nancy Cook and Lorena Hitchock and involvment in the Val Kil project made me think that there may have been some validity to the rumors about her life style. It's also interesting how much the government did for her on her flights. The possible capture by the Japanese seems to me looking back in retrospect that it could be a form of very suttle anti Japanese propaganda. One of the previous reviewers commented that EAST TO THE DAWN finds no fault with Amelia - she was perfect in every way. Thinking about the book in retrospect, there is a lot of validity to that statement. But all in all the book gives a good view of women and their roles in society in the 1920's and 30's. It also give a whole new side of Amelia. As a result of this book I want to read more about Amelia. The author's conclusion that Amelia became bigger in death than she may have been in life is also valid but Amelia is one of those American icons that will live on and on because she died so young and under strange circumstances.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent descriptions of her flights; short on criticism. 23 Jan 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Ms. Butler's book, written more or less to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Earhart's birth and the 60th of her final flight, is a hagiography, almost without critical balance. Earhart's very real accomplishments as social pioneer and aviator are fully documented, but all too fulsomely presented. Apparently everything she did was brilliant, every man she attracted was a genius, every record-breaking flight a triumph. The author (descended from a flying contemporary of Amelia Earhart) claims to have spent ten years researching and writing this book. She would have done well to include more of the flip side of Amelia Earhart: the sometime publicity hound who spent more time in front of microphones and cameras instead of practicing her flying skills for the Bendix air races, for example. The book shows more competence in its accounts of the navigation and mechanical problems of early flyers, and here the account of Earhart's final flight is illuminating. There is a concise account of the farrago of radio navigation problems that led to the loss of the Lockheed 10 Electra and its crew. Also, the author rightly debunks the old theories of the flight's having been a mission to spy on the Japanese in the Pacific. After reading this book, you will know a lot more about a person of remarkable courage and class, who should be (and unfortunately is not) a model for the women's movement of today. The book does not treat her complexity with the depth it deserves, but the author's warmth and dedication to her subject are commendable.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars informative and absorbing 23 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
EAST TO THE DAWN not only gives the reader an incredibly detailed account of Amelia Earhart's life, but its presentation allows one to have a clear sense of the period, places and people of her life. From childhood in Kansas at the turn of the century, through an exciting adulthood which took her all over the world, you will feel that you are almost there. It is both informative and absorbing.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hagiography [ha-jee-OG-ruh-fee]: a worshipful or idealizing biography 21 Jan 2010
By J. Green - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
A few years ago, when I first began reading and reviewing biographies, I came across an unfamiliar word I had to look up in the dictionary - "hagiography." The first definition said "a biography of Saints" and the second "a worshipful or idealizing biography." And this book is an excellent example of a hagiography, especially that second definition.

Most people have heard of Amelia Earhart, famous aviatrix who vanished somewhere over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to fly around the world in 1937. I wasn't aware she was also a social worker and pioneer for women's rights. And parts of this book were interesting, such as her upbringing and efforts to reach new milestones of air travel, and the book description claims to have previously unknown information. The account of her disappearance was interesting, and doesn't wander excessively far into unsubstantiated theories. But the tone of the book is far too worshipful. Ms. Butler paints an Amelia Earhart who was always a self-assured, unflappable, imperturbable, cool and collected woman in easy control of all aspects of her life; who never had doubts or second-thoughts, regrets or misgivings. She portrays her marital infidelity as courageous, strong, fearless, and even practical. She seems to take all quotes at face value rather than showing any healthy skepticism expected of a historian. She spends too much time discussing Earhart's genealogy while the ending feels a bit abrupt. And it all seems too much to believe.

I'm not saying a biography has to expose dirt to be believable, but when the subject is portrayed as perfect it just doesn't feel realistic. In fact, reading between the lines, Earhart almost comes off as unpleasantly conceited and something of a celebrity press hound. Also, most of her flights seem mostly unremarkable. That may not be a fair conclusion, but a reader couldn't tell from this book. I'd rather learn about the struggles the person surmounted, personal and public, that makes their life and accomplishments worth reading about. I'd like to know the person was human. And this is too substantial of a book to invest time in (nearly 19 hours in audio book format) if it's not balanced or honest. If you're only interested in one Earhart biography like me, I recommend looking for a better one.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life overshadowing Death 30 Aug 2009
By Barscoinc - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Reading this book I realized that most of what I knew about Amelia Earhart concerned her famous disappearance and presumed tragic death. Author/journalist Susan Butler wants us to know so much more about this girl genius who built her own roller coaster at age seven and started flying as soon as she was old enough to step inside a cockpit, despite the obvious risks to limb and life. She was attractive to everyone who met her, a prolific and skilled writer and a tireless dedicated social worker. She was also a feminist who never lost her zeal to help the downtrodden or her determination to encourage women to be strong and stand up for their right to succeed on their own. The book is an inspiration, reminding us that the living breathing Earhart is the one we should remember. Barbara Bamberger Scott
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