Turbulence before Takeoff: The Life and Times of Aviation Pioneer Marlon Dewitt Green | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/turbulence-takeoff-life-and-times-aviation-pioneer-marlon-dewitt-green[12/8/2015 12:44:38 PM] Home Turbulence before Takeoff: The Life and Times of Aviation Pioneer Marlon Dewitt GreenTurbulence before Takeoff: The Life and Times of Aviation Pioneer Marlon Dewitt GreenSubmitted by jainlayconley on 7-22-2010 10:47 AMAuthor: Flint Whitlock Publishing: Cable Publishing, 2009. Photos. 416 pages. 9.5 x 6.1 $.24.95 hardcover, $17.95 paperback. Reviewer: Steve Klodt Reviewer Affiliation: Denver International Airport Lets do a little role playing. You are an Air Force pilotan excellent oneand flying is immensely satisfying. You have a family and it is growing. Many of your comrades are leaving the Air Force for lucrative jobs as commercial pilots. So, you quit the Air Force and apply to every U.S. airline for a pilot position. But, it is 1957, and you are African American. Only Continental Airlines grants you an interview. Although you are more qualified than any of the candidates, you are the only pilot not hired. This happened to a man too little known in the Denver community and in the United States. But, thanks to Flint Whitlocks new book, Turbulence before Takeoff: The Life and Times of Aviation Pioneer Marlon DeWitt Green, we get to know the man and his story. Marlon D. Green became the first African American to be hired as a commercial airline pilot in the United States. Like so many black Americans, Green had to fight for his due. His courage, perseverance, and endurance, plus his ultimate achievement, make him heroic by any definition and worthy of an honored spot in aviation history. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, Show me a hero and I will write a tragedy. Marlon Greens life, although full of tribulations and despair that almost consume him, seems neither tragic nor entirely triumphant. We sense that, as he recalls his life he is proud and content, but may also have regrets about his role as husband and father. Turbulence before Takeoff is more than Greens compelling story. It is his journey in contextthe context of his family and history. Concurrent with the civil rights movement in the late 1950s and 1960s, his tale belongs in chronicles of the continuing African-American sojourn. Whitlock has cleverly inserted civil rights news items throughout his text, almost like sidebars in a magazine. They bring Greens era alive, reminding us of events and informing us with forgotten stories. The namesEmmet Till, Addie Mae Collins, James Meredith, and scores of others; the placesBirmingham, EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanCasimiro Barela, state senator for over 37 years, fought to ensure Colorados first constitution was published in English, Spanish and German.
Turbulence before Takeoff: The Life and Times of Aviation Pioneer Marlon Dewitt Green | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/turbulence-takeoff-life-and-times-aviation-pioneer-marlon-dewitt-green[12/8/2015 12:44:38 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us Little Rock, Memphis, and Selma; and the atrocities provide the backdrop to Greens drama. Although we know the climax of Greens professional story before we read the book, we eagerly anticipate his agon his battlewith Continental Airlines. It is an epic legal drama in which the defense attorneys try to obscure the real issue: Did Continental Airlines deny Green a commercial pilot position because he was black? Despite the legal setbacks he encountered (any heroic saga must have obstacles); despite the crushing emotional and financial burdens; and despite no portent to guarantee success, he did not give up. Green did not set out to overcome an aviation color barrier. He was concerned only with getting a good paying job so he could support his family. But the job had to be one where he could use his skills and experience, doing something he loved. So, he would not let discrimination defeat him. Turbulence before Takeoff addresses two other heroes who contributed significantly to Greens life: Eleanor Gallagher Green, his first wife, and T. Raber Taylor, his Denver lawyer. They provided consummate support Eleanor working and raising a family within an interracial marriage; Taylor working on behalf of Green for six years, undaunted, at a rate much less than his usual fee. Whitlocks prose is spare and fluid, with well-crafted description. Heres Whitlocks opening paragraph in the prologue: His eyes expertly scanned the complex array of familiar dials, gauges, and switches before him. Off to his right, muffled by his headset, the grumbling roar of the two four-blade turboprop engines on the starboard wing was a comforting sound, the slight vibration he felt rumbling through the cockpit a reassuring reminder that this was what he had just spent the last nine years of life fighting If Whitlock perhaps adds too much detail about peripheral characters in Greens drama, it is a minor transgression and does not spoil the books pace and often tense narrative. Flint Whitlock should be congratulated for telling Greens story and bringing recognition to the man who opened the cockpit door for hundreds of black commercial pilots. Reviewer Info: Steve Klodt is director of publications for Denver International Airports Public Relations and Marketing Department. Among other duties, he edits DIAs online newsletter, WingTips Add new comment