Powering the Eagle...Over 90 Years and Counting. Pratt & Whitney's Inspirational Women. Ned Allen, Editor-in-Chief. Reston Virginia: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2017. Photographs. Pp 138. $29.95 ISBN 978-1-62410-383-4
In Powering the Eagle, Allen and a host of Pratt & Whitney production team volunteers tell the story of the roll and importance of women working at this important company. The story begins with Pratt & Whitney's founding and continues through the modern day. As the title indicates, women began working there over 90 years ago.
To tell the story of women at Pratt & Whitney, Allen and team divide the 90 years into four chapters: Early Years, War Years, Post-War Years, and Take off. To set the context for the four chapters, there are two timelines (1920s-1940s and 1950s-2000s) that highlight the major events in Pratt & Whitney history.
Known around the world as an aircraft engine company, Pratt & Whitney began as a precision machine tool company in 1860. It wasn't until 1925 that Pratt & Whitney became an aircraft company. One year later, in 1926, their first Wasp engine took to the air. Initially, women served primarily in clerical jobs; but with the shortage of men during the Second World War, women's roles in aviation expanded to engineering, manufacturing, and other related tasks.
The heart and soul of the book are the photographs and period captions. The combination of the two brings the story of women at Pratt & Whitney to life. Quite often the production team used text from period publications: "To provide an accurate depiction of the changing cultural perception of women in the workspace, a number of articles included in this book were copied exactly as they appeared in their archival source." As the book progresses, readers will certainly notice a change in how women were treated. As the authors explain after World War II, "The storyline changed again as...