Jet Set: The People, the Planes, the Glamour, and the Romance in Aviation’s Glory Years by William Stadiem

Jet Set: The People, the Planes, and the Romance in Aviation’s Glroy Years tells us exactly that, and in that order or importance. It’s mostly about the people: from Frank Sinatra and his anthem “Come Fly With Me” to Juan Trippe of Pan Am, to the gossip rags, movie stars, and socialites of Atlanta and New York.  This isn’t a coffee table picture book or a technical manual of airplanes from the 1960s; this is a fully researched look at the era, people first.

The book is comprehensive and well researched and I greatly enjoyed the writing and tone of the author. What cold have been a drone of facts and technical instead becomes a conversationally friendly recount of everything about the jet age. It’s like having an Uncle who lived through the period giving his memories – sure, they deviate and side track a lot but that ends up making it much more personal and endearing as a result.

I typically have a lot of questions raised when reading an informative book like this. But with Jet Set, the only thing I used Google for was to see the pictures of the interesting people, places, and of course planes.

As the title suggests, this really is mostly about the people first. The planes, the glamour, and the romance are products of the incredible personalities of the time (from airplane engineers to the new tourist). The author’s point of view is that anything that came from the era, came from the people who lived and breathed and worked their own particular magics at the time. That is the story (or stories) that he wants to tell.

Reviewed as an ARC.

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