In 1920 American women were finally equal in the voting booth but nearly nowhere else. They still had to fight for their rights on every other front, from the factory floor to the courts of law. But one of their battles for equality didn’t happen on land at all. It happened in the sky.
In “Fly Girls,” Keith O’Brien tells the story of America’s first female aviators. It’s a story much bigger than the name Amelia Earhart, though hers is the only one most readers will recognize. The other women—and the larger movement they were part of—have been forgotten. Mr. O’Brien, a former reporter for the Boston Globe now working in the tradition of “Hidden Figures” and “The Girls of Atomic City,” has recovered a fascinating chapter not just in feminism and aviation but in 20th-century American history.