Earhart did not handle the controls rather the two men with her piloted the craft manned the plane. Although Earhart gave ample credit to these men, their names are forgotten to history, and Earharts legacy lives on.
But Lovells tone is grating when she only grudgingly concedes that when Earhart crossed the Atlantic on the fifth anniversary of Lindberghs successful flight in 1932, Earharts accomplishment was her own. That time, no one else was in charge of the craft. Clearly, Earhart had improved as a pilot since her early foray into the air. Still, that does not stop Lovell from arguing that Earhart was not a natural pilot and her fame was based more in notoriety and sensationalism than her contribution to the aviation. For the first time, in national newsreels, and through clips seen in movie theaters, the American public could follow a celebrity, famed not for acting or politics, but for doing daring things — first Lindbergh, and now Earhart.
Finally, Lovell more convincingly argues that the practical value of the circumnavigation of the globe, the flight that resulted in Earharts disappearance, was also of more financial value to her husband than to the history of flight. Putnam and Earharts finances rested upon the lucrative speaking and celebrity endorsement engagements that Earhart would gain, if she completed the flight successfully. Lovell demonstrates that Earharts plane and route was hastily and poorly planned and equipped.
The routes navigator, Fred Noonan, also had a reputation for drinking. However, some of the details Lovell includes about the navigation, such as the fact the plane took off at exactly 00:00 Greenwich Mean Time suggests Noonan was more meticulous than Lovell might credit (Lovell 272).
Lovell believes there is no real documentation to support the outlandish theories that Earhart survived, was a spy for the American government, or was captured by the Japanese, or arranged her disappearance so she could live in seclusion, in refuge from fame after the flight (as most of the book is intent on portraying Earhart as a fame-seeker rather that someone who shied from publicity). Instead, Lovell believes the evidence on record supports the theory that Earhart and her navigator while flying from New Guinea to Howland Island during the last part of their journey did not have enough fuel to get to the island and instead crash-landed without enough supplies to survive. The science Lovell assembles in her book to discuss the history of aviation, navigation across the waters, and flight, is clearly and effectively deployed in his analysis of the final disappearance. However her texts refusal to acknowledge any of the contributions that Amelia Earhart made to the ability of women to pursue alternative careers, and to demonstrate the ability that both men and women could overcome, if only briefly, the constraints of the air, seems.