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Jet Set: The People, the Planes, the…
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Jet Set: The People, the Planes, the Glamour, and the Romance in…

by William Stadiem

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walking a fine line between technical and popular history, the book covers a lot of ground and highlights many events that are still to recent to be history but to far removed to be in (my) living memory. ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
What to say about this book that reads like an extended article for Vanity Fair? The parts that outline the history of teh aviation business as it moved into the age of the jet, the jumbo 747 and the Concorde are very interesting indeed. But then there is the writing in obsessive detail about celebrities and scandals from fifty and sixty years ago, and one has to wonder, is anyone really interested?

Author William Stadiem is especially enamored with Igor & Oleg Cassini, who traded on their dubious European titles to fame and fortune - at least for a while - and he manages to squeeze one of both of their names into each chapter whether it's relevant or not. Again, does anyone care anymore?

The book is also riddled with historical inaccuracies that should have been corrected if any kind of editing had been done on the copy (e.g. The Duke of Windsor did NOT become King Edward VIII; it was the other way around). I suppose this can be a fin book if you're amused by the antics of Euro-trash in the 1950's & 1960's and titillated by how they to bilk the American establishment, but these days the money and the accompanying are much bigger ( )
  etxgardener | Oct 10, 2014 |
If you like gossip columns or websites, this is the book for you. While it begins with the major airlines of day, the main focus is the movers and shakers and the places to see and be seen at. All of the name dropping can be a little tedious at times, but if you like that sort of thing you will have a ball.

Free review copy. ( )
  mrmapcase | May 12, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345536959, Hardcover)

In October 1958, Pan American World Airways began making regularly scheduled flights between New York and Paris, courtesy of its newly minted wonder jet, the Boeing 707. Almost overnight, the moneyed celebrities of the era made Europe their playground. At the same time, the dream of international travel came true for thousands of ordinary Americans who longed to emulate the “jet set” lifestyle.
 
Bestselling author and Vanity Fair contributor William Stadiem brings that Jet Age dream to life again in the first-ever book about the glamorous decade when Americans took to the skies in massive numbers as never before, with the rich and famous elbowing their way to the front of the line. Dishy anecdotes and finely rendered character sketches re-create the world of luxurious airplanes, exclusive destinations, and beautiful, wealthy trendsetters who turned transatlantic travel into an inalienable right. It was the age of Camelot and “Come Fly with Me,” Grace Kelly at the Prince’s Palace in Monaco, and Mary Quant miniskirts on the streets of Swinging London. Men still wore hats, stewardesses showed plenty of leg, and the beach at Saint-Tropez was just a seven-hour flight away.
 
Jet Set reads like a who’s who of the fabulous and well connected, from the swashbuckling “skycoons” who launched the jet fleet to the playboys, moguls, and financiers who kept it flying. Among the bold-faced names on the passenger manifest: Juan Trippe, the Yale-educated WASP with the Spanish-sounding name who parlayed his fraternity contacts into a tiny airmail route that became the world’s largest airline, Pan Am; couturier to the stars Oleg Cassini, the Kennedy administration’s “Secretary of Style,” and his social climbing brother Igor, who became the most powerful gossip columnist in America—then lost it all in one of the juiciest scandals of the century; Temple Fielding, the high-rolling high priest of travel guides, and his budget-conscious rival Arthur Frommer; Conrad Hilton, the New Mexico cowboy who built the most powerful luxury hotel chain on earth; and Mary Wells Lawrence, the queen bee of Madison Avenue whose suggestive ads for Braniff and other airlines brought sex appeal to the skies.
 
Like a superfueled episode of Mad Men, Jet Set evokes a time long gone but still vibrant in American memory. This is a rollicking, sexy romp through the ring-a-ding glory years of air travel, when escape was the ultimate aphrodisiac and the smiles were as wide as the aisles.
 
Advance praise for Jet Set
 
“The only thing more delicious than the idea for this book is William Stadiem’s execution. Rich in incident, set among the glitterati of America’s most glamorous era, Jet Set is first-rate history that reads like a novel.”—Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City and American Rose
 
Jet Set is a fast-paced, jauntily written excursion back to a more glamorous era, when people dressed up for airplane flights and onboard meals might include fois gras and champagne—the historical moment when Americans first began to think of themselves as citizen-travelers. William Stadiem provides a knowing account of the pioneering airline executives who built the planes that made luxury affordable, and high-flying gossip-column staples like Frank Sinatra, Ian Fleming, and Jackie Kennedy. You’ll never look at air travel the same way again.”—Matthew Goodman, author of Eighty Days

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:28 -0400)

"In October 1958, Pan American World Airways began making regularly scheduled flights between New York and Paris, courtesy of its newly minted wonder jet, the Boeing 707. Almost overnight, the moneyed celebrities of the era made Europe their playground. At the same time, the dream of international travel came true for thousands of ordinary Americans who longed to emulate the "jet set" lifestyle. Bestselling author and Vanity Fair contributor William Stadiem brings that Jet Age dream to life again in the first-ever book about the glamorous decade when Americans took to the skies in massive numbers as never before, with the rich and famous elbowing their way to the front of the line. Dishy anecdotes and finely rendered character sketches re-create the world of luxurious airplanes, exclusive destinations, and beautiful, wealthy trendsetters who turned transatlantic travel into an inalienable right. It was the age of Camelot and "Come Fly with Me," Grace Kelly at the Prince's Palace in Monaco, and Mary Quant miniskirts on the streets of Swinging London. Men still wore hats, stewardesses showed plenty of leg, and the beach at Saint-Tropez was just a seven-hour flight away. Jet Set reads like a who's who of the fabulous and well connected, from the swashbuckling "skycoons" who launched the jet fleet to the playboys, moguls, and financiers who kept it flying. Among the bold-face names on the passenger manifest: Juan Trippe, the Yale-educated WASP with the Spanish-sounding name who parlayed his fraternity contacts into a tiny airmail route that became the world's largest airline, Pan Am; couturier to the stars Oleg Cassini, the Kennedy administration's "Secretary of Style," and his social climbing brother Igor, who became the most powerful gossip columnist in America--then lost it all in one of the juiciest scandals of the century; Temple Fielding, the high-rolling high priest of travel guides, and his budget-conscious rival Arthur Frommer; Conrad Hilton, the New Mexico cowboy who built the most powerful luxury hotel chain on earth; and Mary Wells Lawrence, the queen bee of Madison Avenue whose suggestive ads for Braniff and other airlines brought sex appeal to the skies. Like a superfueled episode of Mad Men, Jet Set evokes a time long gone but still vibrant in American memory. This is a rollicking, sexy romp through the ring-a-ding glory years of air travel, when escape was the ultimate aphrodisiac and the smiles were as wide as the aisles. Advance praise for Jet Set "An interesting, entertaining read, full of colorful characters and the author's thoughtful contemplation of the world of aviation."--Publishers Weekly "What a book! The Kennedys, the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra himself, and early financiers like Eddie Gilbert are dealt with in depth. It was the beginning of the frenetic, desperate world we now seem to be living in. I lived intimately through it all in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, and I have yet to find a mistake in William Stadiem's amazing book. All the players are here: Bobby Kennedy, as a menace to much of the fun; Joe Kennedy, his father, having young ladies procured for him; lawyers making millions getting 'socialites' out of hot water. And the changes: the creation of disco and rock and roll, the rise of Great Britain's popular music and fashion appeal, plus New York as the so-called 'Four Hundred' became the four million, and on and on."--Liz Smith, gossip columnist"--… (more)

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