Seventy-five years after she vanished in the South Pacific, the mystery of hometown hero Amelia Earhart’s disappearance remains unsolved. It also remains a fascinating mystery that still attracts researchers and scientists determined to determine what happened and why.
The most recent expedition by The International Group For Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) mounted their “Earhart Search 75” on July 2, 2012, the anniversary of the disappearance. For Earhart devotees, heading to the Pacific on such an endeavor would be a dream come true, but it’s a trip that few will ever make. For those that have to do their researching a little closer to home, here are four books that you will want to put on your reading list.
Finding Amelia: The True Story of the Earhart Disappearance, by Ric Gillespie – As an executive director of TIGHAR and a former aviation accident investigator, Gillespie is in a unique position to lay out the story of Earhart’s final flight. He has made use of thousands of previously unpublished primary source documents, and while he supports the theory that Earhart successfully landed on Gardner Island, the book doesn’t argue for any particular theory.
Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, by Mike Campbell – Just released in June 2012, Campbell’s book also disagrees with the theory that Earhart died in a crash at sea, but he doesn’t agree with TIGHAR’s hypothesis of a landing on Gardner Island. Instead, he makes the case for an alternate theory – that Earhart’s disappearance was a myth created by the government, and that the famed aviatrix and her navigator, Fred Noonan, died many years later on Saipan.
Amelia Earhart: The Turbulent Life of an American Icon, by Kathleen C. Winters – While Gillespie and Campbell are focused on the disappearance, Winters takes a look at Earhart’s life, a life that is as surrounded by myth as the final flight itself. Making use of responsible sources as well as Earhart’s own writings, Winters’ story will be a surprise to many.
No Place to Put a Stone: An Analysis of the Facts Concerning the Disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, by Sherman A. Meeds Jr. – Meeds also focuses on the disappearance, but in a slightly different manner than either Gillespie or Campbell. Unlike these two authors, who each have theories that they espouse, Meeds came into the endeavor with no specific theory of his own. Instead, he looks at the facts that are known, and compares them to the various theories in an effort to see which ones can be supported.
Locally, the anniversary will be commemorated at Atchison’s annual Amelia Earhart Festival, held each year in the third week of July. This is the sixteenth year for the festival, and the festivities will kick off on July 20 with a concert featuring Chris Young, Jerrod Niemann and Sunny Sweeney. Advance tickets at $25.00 and available through the LakeFest website. Tickets at the gate will be $30.00. Children 10 and younger are free.