Finding Amelia: the true story of the Earhart disappearance
by Ric Gillespie
Inspired by the fine movie starring Hillary Swank as Amelia, and my general lack of knowledge about America’s most famous missing person’s last flight, I decided to read a few books on the topic. This one stood out as the best of the three I read.
Her last flight, with somewhat dubious navigator Fred Noonan (I always thought it was a solo flight) went wrong somewhere over the Central Pacific after they left New Guinea on July 2nd, 1937 with the intention of landing on a recently built runway on tiny Howland Island.
This book is a comprehensive, detail-packed account of the last few legs of the flight and is particularly strong in presenting information about the communication transmissions, the attempts at rescue by the Coast Guard and Naval ships and possibilities about what may have happened to lead to this disappearance, without much trace.
Mr. Gillespie, an internationally recognized expert on the Earhart disappearance, debunks some myths and speculations with numerous factual references in a very readable and compelling style. He definitely makes you feel the urgency of husband George Putnam’s many communications in trying to expand and extend the fruitless searches.
I was also really intrigued with the included DVD which contains numerous diagrams of search patterns, radio transmission logs, telegrams, Naval and Coast Guard documents and most fascinating, “Betty’s Notebook.” This is a scan of what 16 year old Betty Klenck is to have jotted down while listening to a shortwave radio broadcast in early July 1937 in St. Petersburg, Florida (her father rigged a super strong antenna in their yard). It presents fragments of what appears to be a distressed Earhart and Noonan communicating in their crashed plane, exact location unknown.
A very well done book on one of America’s most enduring mysteries.