Sky Girls: The True Story of the First Women’s Cross-Country Air Race

Written by Gene Nora Jessen
Review by Ellen Jaquette

In 1929, nineteen pilots ventured into the open sky to compete in the first female cross-country air race. This competition captured the attention and imagination of spectators and media throughout the world and paved the way for many generations of female pilots. Their story is captured in remarkable detail in Sky Girls, a chronological retelling of the thrilling race from San Diego to Cincinnati. Jessen’s enthusiasm for the subject is infectious, and her knowledge and detail illuminate the trials and accomplishments of these women even further. The story, despite its dark periods, is optimistic in tone and accompanied by humorous quotes from media reports at the time. It is when the race concludes that this narrative structure falls aside, and the afterward is more difficult to wade through as a result. But, overall, Sky Girls gives well-deserved attention to the pilots who risked everything to do what they loved, and also banded and worked together to build each other up. Recommended.