The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975 Page: 230
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
inclusion of trivia in the narrative which ought to be relegated to footnotes.
Still the book has its merits, especially in its lucid treatment of the state of
aviation technology in the I93os, and anyone willing to plow through the
authors' leaden, relentlessly passive-voice prose will find nuggets of south-
western social history as well. For instance, Post named his airplane "Winnie
Mae" after the daughter of the wealthy Oklahoma oilman who owned it
and who sponsored his flights, which leads to the inescapable conclusion
that, for the southwestern nouveau riche, such endeavors were roughly anal-
ogous to a Medici prince's commissioning of a painting or a palace.
The authors depict Post as a disinterested aviation pioneer; but in fact
he was never much more than a stunt flier-an inspired dilettante pursuing
the main chance. Even his development of the world's first pressure suit
resulted from his desire to win prize money in a London-to-Australia race.
Post needed the suit in order to fly at high altitude, where he guessed that
the existence of the jet stream might assist him. Finances continually bedev-
iled Post, as his struggle to keep up the obsolescent Winnie Mae indicates
(he had purchased the airplane-with great difficulty-after a rift devel-
oped between himself and the oilman sponsor). It was financial necessity
which forced him to undertake the fatal Alaska flight (with Will Rogers
paying all the bills), and his amateurish cost-cutting in outfitting his new
airplane for the trip contributed directly to the crash.
Post had luck and nerve, but these qualities could carry him only so far.
He died at just the right moment: the early free-wheeling era of aviation
was over, and indeed had already passed him by. Unlike Lindbergh, Post
never realized it. In retrospect, the remarkable thing is that this one-eyed
former oilfield roughneck with only an eighth-grade education lasted as
long as he did.
University of Texas at Austin
GEORGE E. HOPKINS
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975, periodical, 1974/1975; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117149/m1/265/: accessed November 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.