100 books like Magnificent Women and Flying Machines

By Sally Smith,

Here are 100 books that Magnificent Women and Flying Machines fans have personally recommended if you like Magnificent Women and Flying Machines. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Fate is the Hunter: A Pilot's Memoir

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Author Of Bird

From my list on pioneering aviation.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for flying old aeroplanes led me to the pilots who flew them in history, and my particular fascination is with the interwar period and the ‘Golden Age of Aviation’, which saw the establishment of the early commercial air routes and the historic solo flights by pilots flying basic machines and pushing themselves and their aircraft to the very limits of endurance to prove that it could be done. I was absolutely mesmerised by the stories of their bravery and obsession. My recommended books all share the theme of pioneering aviation as this has been a consuming interest for much of my adult life, both in and out of the cockpit. 

Tracey's book list on pioneering aviation

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Why did Tracey love this book?

First published in 1961, this memoir may be the best book ever written about aviation by someone who was both a pilot and a terrific writer. 

I took the liberty of using this title as the heading for one of the chapters in my own book as a tribute to Gann. His visceral accounts of flying the early airliners in America during the 1930s in the burgeoning years of commercial aviation are literally heart-stopping. 

We take so much for granted in this modern age of airline flying but this wonderful book will forever change your perspective of the risks and challenges that went before.  

By Ernest K. Gann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fate is the Hunter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ernest K. Gann’s classic pilot's memoir is an up-close and thrilling account of the treacherous early days of commercial aviation. “Few writers have ever drawn readers so intimately into the shielded sanctum of the cockpit, and it is hear that Mr. Gann is truly the artist” (The New York Times Book Review).

“A splendid and many-faceted personal memoir that is not only one man’s story but the story, in essence, of all men who fly” (Chicago Tribune). In his inimitable style, Gann brings you right into the cockpit, recounting both the triumphs and terrors of pilots who flew when flying…


Book cover of Amy Johnson

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Author Of Bird

From my list on pioneering aviation.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for flying old aeroplanes led me to the pilots who flew them in history, and my particular fascination is with the interwar period and the ‘Golden Age of Aviation’, which saw the establishment of the early commercial air routes and the historic solo flights by pilots flying basic machines and pushing themselves and their aircraft to the very limits of endurance to prove that it could be done. I was absolutely mesmerised by the stories of their bravery and obsession. My recommended books all share the theme of pioneering aviation as this has been a consuming interest for much of my adult life, both in and out of the cockpit. 

Tracey's book list on pioneering aviation

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Why did Tracey love this book?

Originally released in 1967, a new edition of this book was published by Daredevil in 2021. 

Amy Johnson’s story has great personal resonance for me and I was very honoured to write a preface for the book. With less than a hundred hours in her logbook, Amy set out to Australia to break the world record for the fastest time in 1930 and what would become one of the most outstanding solo achievements in history. 

My own flight to Australia in 2015/16 re-tracing Amy’s route was done in homage.  

By Constance Babington Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Amy Johnson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Amy Johnson became a household name after her solo flight to Australia in 1930 which thrust her, ill-prepared and exhausted, into the limelight and almost constant media attention for the rest of her short life. She was to die in mysterious circumstances in 1941 crashing into the sea off Herne Bay. Lauded at the time as 'Amy, wonderful Amy', her achievements have captivated us ever since.


Constance Babington Smith was given access to all of Amy Johnson's private papers by the Johnson family and asked to write a posthumous account of the life of this most enigmatic heroine. Babington Smith's…


Book cover of Lady Icarus: The Life of Irish Aviator Lady Mary Heath

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Author Of Bird

From my list on pioneering aviation.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for flying old aeroplanes led me to the pilots who flew them in history, and my particular fascination is with the interwar period and the ‘Golden Age of Aviation’, which saw the establishment of the early commercial air routes and the historic solo flights by pilots flying basic machines and pushing themselves and their aircraft to the very limits of endurance to prove that it could be done. I was absolutely mesmerised by the stories of their bravery and obsession. My recommended books all share the theme of pioneering aviation as this has been a consuming interest for much of my adult life, both in and out of the cockpit. 

Tracey's book list on pioneering aviation

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Why did Tracey love this book?

This is about one of our most brilliant female aviators. 

Largely forgotten today, the Irish Lady Heath, one of our first female Olympians and the first woman in Britain to hold a commercial pilot’s licence, was also the first person to fly solo from Cape Town to England in 1928. 

Her flight was the inspiration for my first expedition up Africa in 2013, about which we made a documentary screened by the BBC, and this book is the moving story of Mary Heath’s exceptional but ultimately tragic life.

By Lindie Naughton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lady Icarus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Birth of British Aviation: Prisoners of Hope

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Author Of Bird

From my list on pioneering aviation.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for flying old aeroplanes led me to the pilots who flew them in history, and my particular fascination is with the interwar period and the ‘Golden Age of Aviation’, which saw the establishment of the early commercial air routes and the historic solo flights by pilots flying basic machines and pushing themselves and their aircraft to the very limits of endurance to prove that it could be done. I was absolutely mesmerised by the stories of their bravery and obsession. My recommended books all share the theme of pioneering aviation as this has been a consuming interest for much of my adult life, both in and out of the cockpit. 

Tracey's book list on pioneering aviation

Tracey Curtis-Taylor Why did Tracey love this book?

I loved reading about these very early pioneers who today are largely forgotten or never known, notably Frank McLean, who met the Wright brothers, and went on to cut an irresistibly romantic, dare-devil figure. 

He became an overnight celebrity when he flew a flimsy seaplane between the towers of Tower Bridge in London in 1912. After the First World War, he was one of the first pilots flying to Africa and down the Nile in what would become one of the early air routes for Imperial Airways in the 1930s.  

Also, Charles Rolls, of Rolls-Royce fame, who was tragically killed in a freak incident at the Bournemouth air display in 1910, the first Brit to be killed in a flying accident. 

By Helen Landau,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Birth of British Aviation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Birth of British Aviation: Prisoners of Hope


Book cover of Bury Us Upside Down: The Misty Pilots and the Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail

Nishi Giefer Author Of The Captured

From my list on Twentieth Century POWs.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a western mystery writer, rancher, veterinarian, wife, mother, farrier, horse trainer, gardener, seamstress, pilot, homeschooler, tractor jockey, and all-around hand, I conclude that every experience in life is grist for the mill leading to settings, scenery, plots, and character motivations.

Nishi's book list on Twentieth Century POWs

Nishi Giefer Why did Nishi love this book?

As a pilot and an American, I found the content of this extremely well-written book mesmerizing. As a writer and editor, I was blown away by the clean copy. More impressively, both authors replied to my emails. Rick Newman is the wordsmith, and I daresay perfectionist. Upon learning I found only two typos in over five hundred pages, he begged to know where. Major General Don Shepperd, USAF Retired, was a Misty pilot in Vietnam who graciously agreed to be a technical consultant on my novel. His inside knowledge of the continuing struggle to return remains of US service members was invaluable. 

By Rick Newman, Don Shepperd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bury Us Upside Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

They had the most dangerous job n the Air Force. Now Bury Us Upside Down reveals the never-before-told story of the Vietnam War’s top-secret jet-fighter outfit–an all-volunteer unit composed of truly extraordinary men who flew missions from which heroes are made.

In today’s wars, computers, targeting pods, lasers, and precision-guided bombs help FAC (forward air controller) pilots identify and destroy targets from safe distances. But in the search for enemy traffic on the elusive Ho Chi Minh Trail, always risking enemy fire, capture, and death, pilots had to drop low enough to glimpse the telltale signs of movement such as…


Book cover of The Tibbets Story

Robert O. Harder Author Of The Three Musketeers of the Army Air Forces: From Hitler's Fortress Europa to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

From my list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Why am I passionate about this?

In May 1968, I arrived at my first duty station as a new B-52 navigator-bombardier. Later, at the bar, I was hailed by a booming voice from behind the beer taps. "Hi ya, lieutenant!" Moments later, he asked what I thought of the USAF so far. I said I was career-minded. ‘‘Hell, only the pilots get promoted; navigators get diddley-squat. Get out as soon as you can.” After he departed, the bartender came over. “Know who that was, lieutenant? He’s Tom Ferebee, the man who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima." The colonel had both underscored my dismal career prospects and instilled a lifelong passion for the subjects discussed in this book.

Robert's book list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Robert O. Harder Why did Robert love this book?

While researching my book, I was fortunate to become acquainted with the Tibbets family, including his second wife Andrea Quattrehomme and his grandson Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV (USAF Ret.). Their co-operation, coupled with the details in this autobiography, was instrumental in revealing what the man was really like.

In 1937, Tibbets graduated from the Kelly Field, Texas pilot school, the “West Point of the Air." Among the first to deploy to Europe in 1942, he flew the lead plane in the initial heavy bomber raid against Fortress Europa. Additionally, he often flew as personal pilot to flag officers, including Gen. Dwight Eisenhower. After 43 combat missions he was rotated home to help development of the troubled B-29 program, which directly led to his selection as commander of the world’s first atomic bomber force.

By Paul W. Tibbets,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tibbets Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1 HARDCOVER BOOK WITH DUST COVER


Book cover of A Flying Tiger's Diary

Daniel Ford Author Of Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942

From my list on the Flying Tigers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became enchanted with the Flying Tigers as an eighth-grader in 1945, and when our daughter needed a topic for her high-school history paper forty years later, I suggested the AVG. The books (including Olga Greenlaw’s) flooded into our house. Kate was a Harvard freshman the following year, her Chinese roommate gave me a rough vocabulary, and I flew to China and Burma to walk the ground and quiz the locals. In all the years since, I’ve never stopped learning about these men and their great moment in military history.

Daniel's book list on the Flying Tigers

Daniel Ford Why did Daniel love this book?

Charlie Bond was a career aviator and retired as a two-star general, so his account is discreet and clearly edited for publication. But he was more serious than most of the buccaneers who joined the American Volunteer Group; he paid attention to what was going on at headquarters high and low, and he had a keen eye for his fellow pilots. History professor Terry Anderson provided the background, and R. T. Smith some of the photographs.

By Charles R. Bond Jr., Terry H. Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Flying Tiger's Diary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

" Draws aside the curtain of mythology and shows the AVG members--pilots, mechanics, nurses, and Chennault himself--as recognizable humans with a full spectrum of virtues and faults. Yet, the glory remains undiminished . . . A Flying Tiger's Diary is highly readable and is wholeheartedly recommended."—Military Review

The Flying Tigers, under the leadership of Claire Chennault, fought legendary air battles in the skies over Burma and China. This journal of ace pilot Charles Bond, now in its fifth printing, vividly preserves his experiences in aerial combat against the Japanese, all recorded within twenty-four hours of the action. It also documents…


Book cover of The Flight Girls

Sara Ackerman Author Of The Lieutenant's Nurse

From my list on remarkable women in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised in Hawai’i on her grandparents’ first-hand accounts of the war, Sara was deeply affected by the scars left behind. She believes that the best way to honor the past is by bringing these stories to light and making sure the sacrifice of those who came before us is never forgotten. She is the USA Today bestselling author of four WWII Hawai’i historical novels with a fifth on the way.

Sara's book list on remarkable women in WW2

Sara Ackerman Why did Sara love this book?

The Flight Girls captivated me from the first page and never let go. Salazar’s writing is lively and fresh, as we ride shotgun with a cast of memorable characters, an epic love story, and a powerful tale of courage and sacrifice by the Women Airforce Service Pilots during WWII. This book is on the lighter side, but still packs an emotional punch. A spectacular first novel!

By Noelle Salazar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Flight Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A USA TODAY BESTSELLER

A PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER

“I read well into the night, unable to stop. The book is unputdownable.”—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Heart-breaking, validating, exciting.”—Hypable

“Rich historical detail...this saga has it all.”—Woman’s World

Shining a light on a little-known piece of history The Flight Girls is a sweeping portrayal of women’s fearlessness, love, and the power of friendship to make us soar.

1941. Audrey Coltrane has always wanted to fly. It’s why she implored her father to teach her at the little airfield back home in Texas. It’s why she signed up to train…


Book cover of Daring Mary Aviation Pioneer

Susan Coryell Author Of Kiki's Dream

From my list on that show young children to dream for themselves.

Why am I passionate about this?

My expertise and passion for the theme of children’s dreams for themselves and how they achieve them began with reading wonderful children’s picture books to my kids and grandkids when they were very young. After writing one young adult novel and four cozy mysteries for adults, I realize my true calling as a writer is to create books that little readers will not only love but return to again and again to reinforce their own dreams and sense of worth as well as awareness of others. Many picture books dwell on what elders dream for their children rather than what young ones wish for themselves.

Susan's book list on that show young children to dream for themselves

Susan Coryell Why did Susan love this book?

Young Mary had a dream so big that nobody, for the longest time, believed she could achieve it.

She wanted to become an airline pilot. I so admired her courage and determination, against all odds and society’s refusal to accept that women could fly commercial airplanes. This, too, is based on a true story; author, Mary Shipko is the actual little girl who dreamed big, big, big.

Book cover of Warriors

Stefan Vučak Author Of F/X-26

From my list on military aviation and its effect on the modern political era.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had an interest in military aviation and the impact this had on US and world geopolitics since my college days, and devoured these books at the university library. Once I started my professional career and could afford to buy my own, my library of techno thrillers grew. This reading enriched my knowledge, entertained, and provided ideas for writing my own books. As a book reviewer for Readers’ Favorite, I try to pick – among other genre – works that deal with this theme.

Stefan's book list on military aviation and its effect on the modern political era

Stefan Vučak Why did Stefan love this book?

This book is a thoughtful, in-depth expose of a US Navy aviator that set me thinking about Middle East conflicts and politics. I absolutely loved how the main character grasped an opportunity to prove his theories about how to train aviators for aerial combat.

I enjoyed the skillful narrative on flying, personal relationships, and inevitable politics. The author’s unmatched depth of subject-matter knowledge made the book eminently readable. I couldn’t put it down. This book has a prominent place in my collection. 

By Barrett Tillman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Warriors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Military


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in pilots, aviation, and WW2 aviation?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about pilots, aviation, and WW2 aviation.

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