... an engaging work of cultural history ... This engrossing account, which reads like a novel, offers a combination of riveting personal stories and little-known history, and will draw in readers from the first page. A must-read.
... fascinating ... Cooke has created a sweeping account of not only the airline industry and its cultural history but also women’s evolution in the workforce. She blends an overview of the job with the personal stories of several (real!) flight attendants, dispelling ludicrous myths and showing how Pan Am presented adventurous, curious women with a way to see the world at a time when their opportunities were limited ... An entertaining and informative narrator, Cooke has a big story to tell and excels at painting her panorama in broad strokes. At times, however, readers may find themselves wishing for a few more anecdotes, as well as more direct quotations from the women she profiles. Nonetheless, many of her accounts are memorable ... Come Fly the World is an eye-opening account of female flight attendants’ successes and struggles in the not-so-distant past.
Much of Cooke’s engaging narrative focuses on the unheralded role of these women during the Vietnam War ... The book culminates with a gripping account of the women’s involvement in Operation Babylift, which, at the war’s end, evacuated several thousand Vietnamese orphans from Saigon to the U.S.
Journalist Cooke (The Other Side of Paradise) recounts in this dramatic history the surprising role Pan Am stewardesses played in the Vietnam War ... Skillfully intertwining jet-age excitement with the tumultuous politics of the era, this is a unique and compassionate portrait of barrier-breaking women in the 1960s and ’70s.
A breezy account of Pan American World Airways in its glory days is smoothly interwoven with the engagingly complex stories of several longtime flight attendants ... Cooke excels at placing their individual stories within this context without turning them into object lessons. She also examines, clearly but without a heavy hand, the close relationship between Pan Am and the U.S. government, particularly in regard to Pan Am's role in transporting military personnel to and from Vietnam and to various cities for rest and relaxation trips. Readers will be delighted with the author’s inclusion of many behind-the-scenes details ... An entertaining, insightful look into a gritty and glamorous era in air travel.