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Born in 1906 in Muskogee, Florida, Jacqueline "Jackie" Cochran was America's greatest woman pilot: the first to break the sound barrier, first to fly a bomber across the Atlantic, possessor of more than 200 aviation records and the commander of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II. Born in 1906 in Muskogee, Florida, Cochran left school when she was eight to work in a textile factory, became a beautician then a salon owner before she was twenty, moved to New York four years later and earned her pilot's license, becoming a flying saleswoman for her own cosmetics company. Some 25 years later, Cochran reached Mach 2--twice the speed of sound--in a Lockheed F-104, having already become a colonel in the Air Force Reserve. Intelligent, brash, determined, courageous, and ambitious, she counted presidents Eisenhower and Johnson among her friends, as well as national leaders in business, Congress, and military and commercial aviation. Drawing upon previously unpublished information about Cochran's early years and her first marriage, and on her extensive correspondence with U.S. presidents, Air Force generals, aircraft designers, test pilots, and business tycoons, Rich shows Cochran's many contrasts. Seen by enemies as an egotistical master of self-promotion, she was nevertheless capable of loyal and abiding friendships. And although her personality was sometimes abrasive, she used it to accomplish impressive results, including her work on behalf of an independent Air Force. She actively opposed early feminists and, though she was responsible for the groundbreaking formation of the WASP, she was instrumental in delaying the acceptance of women as astronauts. Rich bringsclarity, detail, and objectivity to a life story that had until now remained vague, contrived from hearsay and controversy. This first extensive critical biography puts Cochran's great talents and achievements in the context of her turbulent personal life to create a portrait of a remarkable, complicated woman.