Living Dangerously: American Women Who Risked Their Lives for Adventure

Doreen Rappaport, Author HarperCollins Publishers $14.95 (117p) ISBN 978-0-06-025108-6
Rappaport casts her fishing net over the vast and teeming waters of the 20th century and plucks out six American women who have little in common except grit. In a ``you are there'' reportorial style, she spotlights days in the lives of thrill seekers and explorers. But her book is dedicated to the woman whose story fills the final pages: Thecla Mitchell, who overcomes a physical handicap to run the New York City marathon. Children will be amazed by Rappaport's accounts of the first woman to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel (and live to write about it) and of a high-flying, reckless lady barnstormer who terrorized spectators. Other profiles include the first woman climber to conquer Huascaran mountain in Peru, an African explorer who hunted with the Pygmies, and a diver who discovered ancient fossils in an underwater cave. The variety of stories here could spark discussion on the difference between daredevil mania and thoughtful challenges to limits. Though the book's purpose is to dramatize lives lived on the edge, unfortunately it only hints at the curiosity, compulsion and inspiration that moved these women. Ages 9-12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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