Finding Dorothy Scott: Letters of a WASP Pilot. By Sarah Byrn Rickman. Lubbock TX: Texas Tech University Press, 2016. Photographs. Notes. Appendices. Bibliography. Index. Pp. xxiii, 243. $24.95 ISBN: 978-089672972-8 (hard cover); 978-089672973-5 (e-book).
Sarah Byrn Rickman has established herself as the foremost expert on the women who flew for the Army Air Forces during World War II. This work, her sixth on the subject, examines the brief, but very full life of the 25th of the original 28 women recruited for what became known as the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. Thanks to a suggestion from Nancy Harkness Love, William Tunner, who would later manage airlift operations over the Himalayas to China (the Hump) and the Berlin Airlift, accepted the idea in 1942 that highly experienced women pilots could replace desperately needed men for moving factory-fresh aircraft to operational bases throughout the United States.
In Rickman's earlier books, she discusses in considerable detail how the women's contributions evolved over two years until the decision was made to terminate their services in December 1944. During that time, 38 women would perish in accidents while flying for the military. Other writers already had published biographies of the two "originals," Evelyn Sharp and Cornelia Fort, who died before Scott in 1943. With access to Scott's numerous letters to family members, Rickman decided it was time to share this woman's story.
Placing Scott's contributions in context, Rickman begins by discussing the role of American women in aviation up to World War II. From there, she details Scott's upbringing in the remote community of Oroville, Washington, just south of the Canadian border and east of the Cascade Mountains. Scott's father hugely influenced his daughter's outlook on life.
After Scott enrolled at the University of Washington in Seattle, she was accepted into the Civilian Pilot Training Program. She soloed...