ONLINE: Julia Cooke - "Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am"

Event date: 
03/09/2021 - 7:00pm

Julia Cooke, travel journalist and author of The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba, joins us to discuss her latest book, Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am. “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.” —Library Journal

Julia will be in conversation with Lily Koppel, author of The Astronaut Wives Club.



Glamour, danger, liberation: in a Mad Men–era of commercial flight, Pan Am World Airways attracted the kind of young woman who wanted out, and wanted up

Required to have a college education, speak two languages, and possess the political savvy of a Foreign Service officer, a jet-age stewardess serving on iconic Pan Am between 1966 and 1975 also had to be between 5′3" and 5′9", between 105 and 140 pounds, and under 26 years of age at the time of hire.Cooke’s intimate storytelling weaves together the real-life stories of a memorable cast of characters, from small-town girl Lynne Totten, a science major who decided life in a lab was not for her, to Hazel Bowie, one of the relatively few Black stewardesses of the era, as they embraced the liberation of their new jet-set life. Cooke brings to light the story of Pan Am stewardesses’ role in the Vietnam War, as the airline added runs from Saigon to Hong Kong for planeloads of weary young soldiers straight from the battlefields, who were off for five days of R&R, and then flown back to war. Finally, with Operation Babylift—the dramatic evacuation of 2,000 children during the fall of Saigon—the book’s special cast of stewardesses unites to play an extraordinary role on the world stage.



JULIA COOKE’s journalism has been published in Time, Smithsonian, and Conde Nast Traveler.

She is the author of The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba.

The daughter of a former Pan Am executive, Cooke grew up in the Pan Am “family,” a still-strong network across the globe.

She lives in Vermont.



Lily Koppel is the New York Times bestselling author of The Astronaut Wives Club, which tells the story of the wives of America's first astronauts—from the Mercury missions that launched man into space through the Apollo moonwalkers. It provided the basis for the television miniseries. Koppel is also the bestselling author of The Red Leather Diary, a true story about finding a young woman's diary in an old trunk in a Manhattan dumpster and returning it to its owner, Florence Wolfson, over half a century later. Koppel has written for the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine. She lives in New York City.


Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am Cover Image
ISBN: 9780358251408
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - March 2nd, 2021

The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story Cover Image
ISBN: 9781455503247
Availability: Usually ships to store in 4-6 days (may take longer if sourced from further away)
Published: Grand Central Publishing - June 3rd, 2014

Event address: 
Online through Zoom