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Over time, American airline pilots have achieved prestige and prosperity, as suggested by an annual salary scale that can exceed $50,000 and a customary three-day work week. Their situation, the author suggests, results less from the responsibility they bear or the technical skill they possess than from the protected position they have achieved through a union—the Air Line Pilots Association of the AFL-CIO—one of the most powerful labor organizations in the country. George Hopkins examines the evolution of the pilot’s profession and the founding and development of the union. He traces the complicated transformation of the pilots from outspoken individualists to close-lipped advocates of union solidarity. For his research he had unrestricted access to the union’s archives. He also interviewed surviving founders of the union, former barnstormers, and other aviation experts.