'Still Missing' is a fascinating biography of one of the most intriguing women of modern history. In it, Susan Ware recovers the parts of Earhart's life that have been obscured by the emphasis on her disappearance. Setting her in her place and times, Ware speaks of the woman who set aviation records, who endlessly promoted the ability of women to enter any and all professions, who served as a dynamic role model because of her charm and spirit. Ware's portrait of Earhart is of a woman we all need to rediscover.
Basing her analysis of early 20th-century feminism on aviator Amelia Earhart, Ware's interesting, innovative portrait initially becomes mired in biographical information. After building a historical framework, however, the author moves efficiently between Earhart's activities and the achievements of such other individualistic heroines as Eleanor Roosevelt. Earhart is presented as a courageous, poised figure as Ware ( Beyond Suffrage ) examines her membership in women's organizations, including a group of women pilots called the Ninety Nines, and explores public reaction to her record-breaking flights. While acknowledging that Earhart's then-unconventional balance of career and marriage (to publisher G. P. Putnam) was eased by having household staff, Ware nonetheless praises her as a champion of new roles for women. That Earhart is remembered primarily for her disappearance at age 39 on a 1937 round-the-world flight is indicative of American culture's inattention to female accomplishments then and now, argues Ware: ``The intent here is to rescue Amelia from the clutches of the cult of her disappearance and refocus on her life itself, especially its sense of . . . endless possibility where women are concerned.'' Photos. (Nov.)