Pancho Barnes was a force of nature, a woman who lived a big, messy,
colorful, unconventional life. She ran through three fortunes, four husbands,
and countless lovers. She outflew Amelia Earhart, outsmarted Howard Hughes,
outdrank the Mexican Army, and out- maneuvered the U.S. government.
In The Happy Bottom Riding Club, award-winning author Lauren Kessler tells
the story of a high-spirited, headstrong woman who was proud of her successes,
unabashed by her failures, and the architect of her own legend.Florence "Pancho"
Barnes was a California heiress who inherited a love of flying from her
grandfather, a pioneer balloonist in the Civil War. Faced with a future of
domesticity and upper-crust pretensions, she ran away from her responsibilities
as wife and mother to create her own life. She cruised South America. She
trekked through Mexico astride a burro. She hitchhiked halfway across the United
States. Then, in the late 1920s, she took to the skies, one of a handful of
Author Lauren Kessler. 352 pages.