The Earhart Enigma: Retracing Amelia's Last Flight. By Dave Horner. Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing, 2013. Photographs. Bibliography Pp. 480. $19.94. ISBN: 978-145561781-4
Google Amelia Earhart and you get 1.5 million hits. Google Amelia Earhart Disappearance and it's still a staggering 147 thousand hits. For more than seventy-five years, Earhart's disappearance has been discussed in print, film, and, now, on line. Webster's Dictionary defines enigma as someone or something that is difficult to understand or explain. Amelia and Fred's disappearance somewhere in the South Pacific is clearly an enigma!
There are three scenarios on the ultimate fate of Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan: 1) Flying from Lea, New Guinea, to Howland Island (near the Equator and International Date Line intersection) they landed due to fuel exhaustion in the Marshall Islands and were picked up by the Japanese. 2) Flying from Lea to Howland they landed due to fuel exhaustion on an island or ditched at sea and died awaiting rescue that never came. And 3) They were alive and well with her living in New Jersey as late as 1970.
A careful reading of his Acknowledgments suggests where Homer will end up: the first scenario. A lifelong diving enthusiast, he became interested in Earhart's disappearance when a friend invited him along on a search of the waters surrounding Howland. Over the years he has studied books, U.S. Government reports, and other reports and papers. He makes no mention of Elgin Long (who believes Earhart disappeared near Howland) or of Ric Gillespie (who believes she landed on Gardner Island, 300 miles south of Howland and died awaiting rescue that never came). The one person he is most indebted to is Fred Goerner, author of The Search for Amelia Earhart. Goerner, a KCBS-radio personality, hosted a weekday afternoon talk show during the 1960s. One afternoon he interviewed several residents of Saipan who remembered seeing a white woman and man being escorted by several Japanese soldiers. These residents describe how the soldiers talked of how they were "rescued" and then hearing gunshots. These...