View Gallery

High, Wide, and Frightened

Louise Thaden
Foreword by Patty Wagstaff

Published Date: March 8, 2004

Available in



183 pages
52 black and white photographs
6” X 9”

About this book

Born in 1905 and raised in Arkansas, Louise Thaden attended the University of Arkansas from 1921 to 1925 before moving to California, where she earned her pilot’s certificate in 1927. Within the year, she had broken the women’s world record for altitude and endurance. In 1929 she won the first Women’s Air Derby, a transcontinental race. Over the next several years, Thaden continued to set records and win awards until 1938 when she retired to spend more time with her family and write these memoirs.


“Adventure, history, danger, intrigue, death. Tom Clancy? No, Louise Thaden, and it’s all true. The unassuming contemporary of Amelia Earhart describes the dangers of racing and setting records in the fragile and precarious aircraft of aviation’s youth. Flashy bravado is out. Quiet excellence is in. This is a must-read.”

—Gene Nora Jessen, author of The Powder Puff Derby of 1929: The First All-Women’s Transcontinental Air Race


“Although other women pilots of her era—like Amelia Earhart and Jacqueline Cochran—are better known, it was Louise who, in her own quiet way, was blazing a trail for others to follow. I can think of no finer example for young women today than Louise.”

—Claudia Oakes, former curator, Aeronautics Department, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution and author of United States Women in Aviation Before World War I and United States Women in Aviation 1930–1939


“The Golden Era of Aviation was a time of great adventure and personal sacrifice for flyers—particularly women flyers. Louise Thaden was, by far, the most skilled and accomplished aviatrix of that era. In her book, High, Wide, and Frightened, Louise gives us a firsthand account of the life that she and other women pilots pursued in their quest for the thrill and romance of flight.”

—Capt. Susan Dusenbury, Airborne Express

Related Products