Alaska's Skyboys: Cowboy Pilots and the Myth of the Last Frontier (Hardback)Katherine Johnson Ringsmuth (author)
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This fascinating account of the development of aviation in Alaska examines the daring missions of pilots who initially opened up the territory for military positioning and later for trade and tourism.
Early Alaskan military and bush pilots navigated some of the highest and most rugged terrain on earth, taking off and landing on glaciers, mudflats, and active volcanoes. Although they were consistently portrayed by industry leaders and lawmakers alike as cowboys-and their planes compared to settlers' covered wagons-the reality was that aviation catapulted Alaska onto a modern, global stage; the federal government subsidized aviation's growth in the territory as part of the Cold War defense against the Soviet Union. Through personal stories, industry publications, and news accounts, historian Katherine Johnson Ringsmuth uncovers the ways that Alaska's aviation growth was downplayed in order to perpetuate the myth of the cowboy spirit and the desire to tame what many considered to be the last frontier.
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Number of pages: 280
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 30 mm
Ringsmuth's thoroughly engaging look at the development of this phenomenon is a fascinating peek at how uniquely American the Alaska bush pilot truly is.-- Colleen Mondor * Alaska Dispatch News *
Ringsmuth's book is as thrilling and brilliant as the skyboys she writes about. . . . Alaska's Skyboys lays scholarly groundwork to further explore aviation as an interpretive framework necessary for understanding Alaska's multidimensional frontier history.-- Russ Vanderlugt * Alaska History *
Ringsmuth's book is something of a revelation.-- David Fox * Anchorage Press *
Ringsmuth provides a comprehensive history that follows the early days of flying through World War II, the Cold War, and the transition to commercial air travel. She artfully balances the tragedies and triumphs of flying and suggests provocatively that a flying culture emerged in the parts of Alaska that depended on bush planes. She also tactfully points out the contradiction between Alaskans who cherish their autonomy and living off the grid and the planes and technology required to do so. . . . Those interested in the personal stories of flying greats will appreciate this book.-- Diana L. Di Stefano * Western Historical Quarterly *
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