Review of: Dragon Lady

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Dragon Lady

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Dragon Lady

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Well, that is something I didn't see coming I highly recommend this novel. Jun 03, Roman Clodia rated it it was ok.

I do wish bubble-bath books stayed away from 'big' topics like s Rhodesia and apartheid-in-all-but-name if all they can do is wring their hands and whimper about why can't people just get on nicely View all 5 comments.

May 24, Penny Literary Hoarders rated it really liked it Shelves: netgalley , own-it. Really excellent read! A complex character study focused on Virginia Ginie Courtauld, and sometimes told by a young girl named Catherine.

There is an element of mystery to it, in the overall story, but also as to why Ginie has a tattoo of a snake running up her leg.

This tattoo is why she was called the Dragon Lady. Feb 13, Claire Douglas rated it it was amazing. This is a wonderful book! The writing is so rich and descriptive I felt totally immersed in this novel and in Rhodesia.

Louisa Treger cleverly blends fact and fiction to tell us Lady Virginia Courtauld's story. She is a fascinating character, forced to leave society for being a foreign divorcee and trying to make a new life for herself in Rhodesia.

I knew nothing about Virginia Courtauld before reading The Dragon Lady but the history, and what she achieved is amazing. I felt the author really br This is a wonderful book!

I felt the author really brought all this to life, and as well as a wonderful, emotive, sometimes shocking story I felt I learned something.

Evocative, imaginative with a mystery at its heart. This book really does have everything. I couldn't wait to find out who shot The Dragon Lady, but at the same time it was so beautifully written that I didn't want it to end.

Highly recommended. Jun 28, Karen Mace rated it it was amazing. A sumptuous and scintillating story that has a wonderful mix of fiction and fact and allows you as a reader to get a fascinating glimpse at the lives of some extraordinary characters set over a number of years.

The Courtaulds did some amazing things in their lifetime so it was so interesting to get this part of their lives looked at more closely, especially the time they spent in Rhodesia and to see the turmoil that was around then - both socially and personally for them to deal with, just becaus A sumptuous and scintillating story that has a wonderful mix of fiction and fact and allows you as a reader to get a fascinating glimpse at the lives of some extraordinary characters set over a number of years.

The Courtaulds did some amazing things in their lifetime so it was so interesting to get this part of their lives looked at more closely, especially the time they spent in Rhodesia and to see the turmoil that was around then - both socially and personally for them to deal with, just because they had a more liberal outlook on the world.

The story starts with Catherine in the 's looking back at the time she first encountered the 'Dragon Lady' - a reference to Lady Virginia Courtauld who had become infamous for the rather outlandish tattoo on her leg.

Very unbecoming for a lady of that time! But did she care?! And with her husband Stephen, Lady Ginie had a life worth reading about!

This story looks back at how they met, the standing they took in society, the royalty and famous people they became friends with, and what caused them to end up in Rhodesia in the first place.

I loved the ever changing timelines which gave you insights into their lives at different points - so much history to look back on and changes in society for them to have witnessed.

Their time in London before moving abroad, meant time spent rebuilding Eltham Palace and the labour of love that became for them both and I've loved looking at things online since, seeing the impact they had on it and just imagining them living there along with their pet lemur!

But the story really comes alive when the author describes their time in Rhodesia - their exotic lifestyle in exquisite surroundings are vividly described and brought to life.

How they tried to fit in with the other English families around at the time who stuffy, prejudiced views on the locals, and how the Courtaulds were just so different and were harrassed and threatened for trying to do the right thing and being inclusive.

Many people would have crumbled under the provocation but they stayed true to their beliefs in very unpredictable times.

I raced through this book as I just became so wrapped up in the lives of these remarkable people and found the whole story beautifully written and a wonderful piece of historical fiction, mixed with romance and crime!

A little bit of something for everyone!! My thanks to the author for the copy in return for a fair and honest review. While the book primarily focuses on their time in Rhodesia, the complex social and political situation in which they became so deeply involved, and an imagined series of events that drive the story, I did particularly enjoy the s story — the glimpses of the family relationships, the renovation of Eltham Palace, the development of the medieval hall, the establishment and love of the gardens, the introduction of pet lemur Jongy but so much more than a pet and his living arrangements.

I loved the way historical fact was combined with imagined reality. I really have no idea whether Queen Elizabeth or Wallace Simpson were ever guests at Eltham Palace, but those encounters, imagined or otherwise, are so wonderfully handled: the first emphasising the social gulf it proved so difficult to cross, the latter providing interesting parallels between the ambitions of both women.

The war brings about changes in their lives — the leaving of Eltham Palace after a dramatic incident bringing the threat rather close to home, an uncomfortable time in Scotland, then the chance decision to leave for Rhodesia.

Unsurprisingly, their very different approach brings enemies and threats, and Ginie experiences more ostracisation for the society and recognition she craves, but for wholly different reasons.

The opening chapter reveals that Ginie is shot in her garden, and the Rhodesian scenes slowly build up to return to that point, with steadily mounting tension and an oppressive atmosphere of dread and foreboding and a small touch of signs and the supernatural , as the finger of guilt moves and fails to settle.

The detail in the dramatic moments is striking too — and sometimes the moments of greatest impact have that ability to sear their imagery in a way that makes them difficult to forget, however shocking or graphic.

Quite a book — and I have to say how very much I enjoyed it. I also learned a little — about the Courtaulds themselves, but particularly about the troubled past of the future Zimbabwe.

And I have the utmost admiration that the author took the bones of a fascinating life story, researched the background so impeccably, embroidered on it, drew you into the history and made it live, then turned the whole into such an enthralling story.

Highly recommended — and quite possibly one of my books of the year. Jan 25, Mary Yarde rated it it was amazing. When she was a teenager, Virginia had a large snake tattooed down the front of her leg.

Virginia never told anyone what possessed her to do it although she liked to make up wonderful stories about the reasons why she had done something so irresponsible.

Only it did not. Instead, it brought scandal. The Vatican eventually annulled their marriage. Not in Italy. Not in London. Not in Africa.

However, there was something about Virginia. Something that drew men towards her. Perhaps it was her quest for adventure or her deep and generous nature.

One thing was for sure, this rebellious marchioness was not the kind of woman one could easily forget. Treger writes with a great deal of empathy towards historical controversy and a keen eye for what makes historical fiction great.

Treger writes with a compelling style and a very impressive narrative that made this book impossible to put down.

I adored the characterisation of Virginia. Virginia is a woman who is born to a world that is ordered and has a sense of the proper.

Virginia is like Wallis Simpson, a gallant spirit, who is occasionally shaken but never gives up her fight to be accepted and treated as an equal.

When Virginia sees with her own eyes how the natives of Rhodesia were treated, there was no wonder that she wanted to help them any way she could, for she knows what it is like to be discriminated against.

This book touches on the terrible suffering caused by white supremacy in Rhodesia, and also the effects that this had, not only on the native population but also on the white settlers.

The amount of research that has gone into this book has to be commended. I knew next to nothing about the Courtaulds, but after reading The Dragon Lady, I felt compelled to learn more abut this remarkable couple.

And, of course, I have, for their descriptions were so elegantly described in The Dragon Lady that I would have recognised them without the captions under the pictures.

Treger has not only brought the Courtaulds back to life, but she has breathed life into the buildings and the time her novel is set in as well.

I could feel the heat of the midday sun, and I could hear the chatter of the monkeys in the trees. Wonderfully descriptive and totally mesmerising.

The story is written with a great deal of imagination and energy. I enjoyed every word and every sentence.

The Dragon Lady is a treat that no historical fiction fans will want to miss out on. I Highly Recommend. Review by Mary Anne Yarde.

The Coffee Pot Book Club. Jun 16, Vicki Antipodean Bookclub rated it really liked it. Ginie was born in , the daughter of a Romanian shipping merchant.

As a teenager, she had a snake tattooed on her leg from ankle to thigh, the inspiration for the book's title. Having had a disastrous marriage to an Italian Count annulled by the Vatican, Ginie met Stephen Courtauld and married him in During their time in London, Stephen and Ginie renovated Eltham Palace, an ex-royal residence, and bought Jongy, a ring-tailed lemur who travelled with them when they moved to Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia as it was known in the 's.

The Dragon Lady focuses mainly on the Courtauld's time in Zimbabwe: the development of their estate La Rochelle, their philanthropic work and their support of racial equality.

In the book, the Courtauld's are deeply unpopular with their ex-pat British neighbours and the target of a campaign to drive them out of Africa.

Encompassing the 1st and 2nd World Wars and the fledgling campaign for Zimbabwean independence, the author captures a large swathe of twentieth century history through the lives of this fascinating couple.

I was searching the internet for more information about Ginie and Stephen and would love to read a biography of Ginie in particular. A very special thank you to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ginie Courtauld is a difficult personality. Her mother, Rosa, openly disliked her for being spirited and excessive. Her father, Riccardo was more loving.

Her mother was thrilled when Gini was to be married to Paulo Spinola, who came from an aristocratic Italian family in Genoa.

As a young woman, Gini lied to and omitted giving important facts about herself to both of her husbands prior to marriage. These lies caused the failure of her marriage to Paulo.

She waited until years after being married to Stephen to finally be truthful. By then, Stephen was so full devoted to her, it did not matter. Gini longed for social status, and spent a great deal of effort in trying to achieve her place in the elite class.

As a divorcee, she was never fully accepted in England. She took each social rejection to heart. Pain had settled in and fused with her DNA.

She loved being mysterious and told many a different story about the origins of her snake tattoo, which eventually led to her being called The Dragon Lady.

She had such great hopes for achieving a new social prominence in Rhodesia, but again was met with scorn for her belief that the Africans were being treated unfairly by the white majority, who were racists and elitists.

While she worked hard to better the lives of those in her community, it felt like it was always being done with an expectation that others should be extremely grateful and glorify her.

Stephen Courtauld was the more likeable one of the Courtaulds. He was a lover of art, fine architecture, botany, music and theater.

Despite threatening letters ; physical harm to his personal property, and endless social shunning, Stephen continued doing what he believed right.

He was awarded his knighthood for his work and leadership in the establishment of the Rhodes National Gallery, for an outstanding contribution to the civic life of the community and for wide-ranging philanthropy.

Instead of seeking social status, Stephen desired social conscience. The results at time were terrible, and Gini was always mindless of how she set things into motion.

It is obvious that the author, Louisa Treger, meticulously researched the Courtaulds. The readers get to experience the grandeur of the Courtauld's homes.

I would have prefered the heading to give more specific years. That would have made it seem more biographical and less fictionalized to me.

I recommend this book to any one who loves historical fiction, especially the sub-category of fictionalized biography. Please follow my reviews at www.

Feb 02, Martine Bailey rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-novels , historical-research , travel , true-story , suspense.

The novel is a tale of colonial life in what was once Rhodesia, and the author tells it with ravishing bravura. It is the s when Ginie and her husband Stephen set up their estate in Africa and strive to improve conditions for the local people, thereby earning the scorn of the white population.

On one level it is a story of those wanting to do good bringing about unfortunate consequences, as it is clear from the opening scene that Ginie will be shot in her beloved garden.

In a feat of social ambition, she propels herself from her relatively modest Italian-Romanian background, to become the adored wife of wealthy philanthropist Stephen Courtauld.

She is a sympathetic and complex character — though vampish and desperate for the acceptance that eludes her, Ginie is artistic, generous and well-meaning.

She has painful secrets that eat away at her happiness, and throws her energies into her beloved pets and projects.

Despite their seeming limitless wealth the Courtaulds appear to be rootless and unlucky. Nationalism stirs the local population and their treatment by the white minority is at times deeply shocking.

Louisa Treger has written a ravishing book that evokes a lost, morally troubled world, where old and new values clash.

At its centre, Virginia Courtauld is an alluring character who mixes glamour and tragedy in a uniquely readable and thought-provoking way.

Jun 17, Ffion rated it liked it Shelves: blog-reviews , historical-fiction. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I think The Dragon Lady is one of those novels which tries to be too many different things at once, and therefore ends up not exploring each of its themes to their full potential.

Before picking up th Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Before picking up this book, I had never heard of Ginie Courtauld, so I was eager to learn more about this fascinating woman who defied the social customs of her time in more ways than deciding to get a shocking tattoo of a snake on her leg.

During her time in Rhodesia now Zimbabwe in the s, she and her husband fought for racial equality despite their liberal views making them unpopular amongst their European peers.

The Dragon Lady transported me to a place and period of history I previously had no knowledge of, which I always enjoy when reading historical fiction.

Unfortunately the characters fell a little flat for me, though. It might have been the jumping around in the beginning, but I never quite managed to connect to the characters, giving this more the feel of a factual biography rather than a gripping novel.

Read more of my reviews at Sepia Tinted Window. Apr 26, Bebe Sarah Brechner rated it it was amazing. Readers will enjoy this stimulating novel based on a real life couple, the fabulously wealthy and mysterious Courtaulds, who defied the well entrenched social norms of British colonialism in South Africa Rhodesia during the s and s.

The author has developed a sensitive background and story on what motivated this couple, particularly Virginia, to step out and confront the standard and rampant prejudice of those times.

Recommended for public library collections and book clubs. Jun 27, Tessa Arlen rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. Five stars for this superbly wrought story of love, strife and forgiveness.

Seeking to escape the judgmental confines of post-war Britain, Stephan and Ginie move to what they hope is the freedom of Zimbabwe, t Five stars for this superbly wrought story of love, strife and forgiveness.

Seeking to escape the judgmental confines of post-war Britain, Stephan and Ginie move to what they hope is the freedom of Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia.

But Rhodesia in the s was a country on the point of great cultural and social change, precariously teetering on the edge of political unrest.

The liberal Courtaulds find themselves in a narrow, deeply prejudiced white society where the indigenous people are enslaved in poverty and oppression.

Their attempts to help the native population emerge from under their white oppressors was met with a dismissive scorn among the white Rhodesian farmers that escalated to violence particularly toward the unconventional Ginie.

Louisa Treger handles the claustrophobic prejudice of white Rhodesia with her customary deft prose. Her descriptions of the beauties of the African country, the sensitive but deeply candid Ginie Courtauld and her benign, philanthropist husband Stephen lift us above the hatred of a society that is determined to uphold segregation.

Superbly researched this is a beautifully told story about a time in recent African history that is even more relevant today as our world struggles to accept racial difference.

Aug 06, Joan Happel rated it really liked it. In Rhodesia, the couple turn to philanthropic endeavors while also trying to bring equality between the African and white populations.

The two built a theater which they insisted be desegregated and also contributed to the building of the Rhodes National Gallery now the National Gallery of Zimbabwe , to which they contributed many great works of art.

This was a fascinating story of a woman I was unfamiliar with. Her life and her achievements were enthralling and I found myself looking for more information about her.

She was a woman ahead of her time, even down to the tattoo she had on her leg thus the title. Refusing to adhere to the societal constraints of her time, Ginie followed her beliefs and her conscience often making enemies of those in her own class.

This will be a great addition to your monthly book club lists. Jan 07, Alison rated it it was amazing.

A haunting, evocative novel that explores what it is to be an outsider with its portrayal of a truly remarkable woman. Louisa Treger vividly brings to life both the historical characters of Virginia Ginie and Stephen Courtauld, and life in s Rhodesia, in a deeply moving blend of fact and fiction that is intimately personal while painting a broader picture of a divided society.

The novel begins with the shooting of Ginie Courtauld, known as the Dragon Lady because of her mysterious tattoo. The mystery of her death is a taut, compelling thread throughout, but the novel is much more, movingly portraying the life of the Courtaulds in Rhodesia, and the events that took them there.

When Ginie marries Stephen Courtauld, she dreams of being accepted into the London society he moves in, but her background is a barrier to acceptance.

They hope that a move to the beautiful estate of La Rochelle in Rhodesia will bring them a sense of belonging, but they find a country riven by division between the African population and the white settlers.

As the Courtaulds make numerous efforts to secure a fairer life, for their own employees and for the wider African community, they begin to receive threatening letters and once again find themselves outsiders in their society.

Growing tension also highlights the secrets they keep from each other — their mutual revelation was a particularly moving scene to me.

By contrasting the hardships and suffering faced by the Africans in Rhodesia with the personal losses and hurts of Ginie and Stephen, and their respective responses — growing political awareness among the African community, and the sponsoring of public works by the Courtaulds — The Dragon Lady explores how grief and tragedy can be experienced on many levels, each equally valid to the person suffering them, and how privilege is not always a blessing, but can be used for good.

As with Dorothy Richardson in her excellent debut, The Lodger, Louisa Treger takes a historical figure and weaves a compelling and thought-provoking story around her life, which I thoroughly recommend.

I received this from Netgalley. Good story, interesting and nicely written. Jan 01, Emma Curtis rated it it was amazing.

I was delighted to receive an advance copy of Louisa Treger's new novel from Bloombury, having loved The Lodger. The Dragon Lady is a gorgeous book, a beautifully written meld of fact and fiction.

Louisa Treger gets right into the heart of Rhodesian ex-pat society, with it's petty snobbery, racism and casual cruelty.

Ginnie and Simon Courtauld try their best to do right by the indigenous population and to find meaning in their own lives, but are thwarted by their white neighbours who resent the I was delighted to receive an advance copy of Louisa Treger's new novel from Bloombury, having loved The Lodger.

Ginnie and Simon Courtauld try their best to do right by the indigenous population and to find meaning in their own lives, but are thwarted by their white neighbours who resent the interference in the status quo and the threat it means to their comfortable and privileged way of life.

Things boil over with horrific results. A very good read! Sep 13, H. Callum rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction.

The Dragon Lady is an impressive piece of historical fiction, winding us through the amazing and ahead-of-the-time life and perspectives of Virginia Courtauld.

Louisa Treger has melded fact with fiction impeccably, and the language, detail, and mood of this book make it a perfect companion to the story of Virginia Courtauld.

The Dragon Lady is a reminder of how the past ghosts the present, and is a testament that fiction done well can make history relevant and alive for modern readers.

A superb The Dragon Lady is an impressive piece of historical fiction, winding us through the amazing and ahead-of-the-time life and perspectives of Virginia Courtauld.

A superb read. Aug 30, Ginger Pollard rated it it was amazing. What a fabulous book! It's based on true events, but the author has made a great story!

Takes place in South Africa which makes it wild and mysterious for anyone who has never visited. This book truly takes the reader on a trip to South Africa!

Writing is amazing, story is incredible and the author paints a beautiful picture of this beautiful land!

Something for everyone in this book! Enjoyed it so much! Impossible to put down, so I read it in one night. Don't miss it! One of the best books Wow!

One of the best books I've read this year! I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley!

All opinions are my own! Feb 28, Sue rated it it was amazing. This is the story of the beautiful, exotic, socialite Lady Virginia 'Ginie' Courtauld - nicknamed The Dragon Lady for the unusual tattoo of a snake decorating the length of her leg.

We follow Ginie from her youth on the Italian Riviera before World War I, to England and the stylish Art Deco Eltham Palace, to the wilds of Scotland, and finally to her shooting at La Rochelle in Rhodesia of the s - through two marriages, her many homes and the enormous social changes that took place during her u This is the story of the beautiful, exotic, socialite Lady Virginia 'Ginie' Courtauld - nicknamed The Dragon Lady for the unusual tattoo of a snake decorating the length of her leg.

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Treger has not only brought the Courtaulds back to life, but she has breathed life into the buildings and the time her novel is set in as well. I could feel the heat of the midday sun, and I could hear the chatter of the monkeys in the trees.

Wonderfully descriptive and totally mesmerising. The story is written with a great deal of imagination and energy.

I enjoyed every word and every sentence. The Dragon Lady is a treat that no historical fiction fans will want to miss out on. I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde. The Coffee Pot Book Club. Jun 16, Vicki Antipodean Bookclub rated it really liked it. Ginie was born in , the daughter of a Romanian shipping merchant.

As a teenager, she had a snake tattooed on her leg from ankle to thigh, the inspiration for the book's title. Having had a disastrous marriage to an Italian Count annulled by the Vatican, Ginie met Stephen Courtauld and married him in During their time in London, Stephen and Ginie renovated Eltham Palace, an ex-royal residence, and bought Jongy, a ring-tailed lemur who travelled with them when they moved to Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia as it was known in the 's.

The Dragon Lady focuses mainly on the Courtauld's time in Zimbabwe: the development of their estate La Rochelle, their philanthropic work and their support of racial equality.

In the book, the Courtauld's are deeply unpopular with their ex-pat British neighbours and the target of a campaign to drive them out of Africa. Encompassing the 1st and 2nd World Wars and the fledgling campaign for Zimbabwean independence, the author captures a large swathe of twentieth century history through the lives of this fascinating couple.

I was searching the internet for more information about Ginie and Stephen and would love to read a biography of Ginie in particular.

A very special thank you to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review. Ginie Courtauld is a difficult personality.

Her mother, Rosa, openly disliked her for being spirited and excessive. Her father, Riccardo was more loving. Her mother was thrilled when Gini was to be married to Paulo Spinola, who came from an aristocratic Italian family in Genoa.

As a young woman, Gini lied to and omitted giving important facts about herself to both of her husbands prior to marriage. These lies caused the failure of her marriage to Paulo.

She waited until years after being married to Stephen to finally be truthful. By then, Stephen was so full devoted to her, it did not matter.

Gini longed for social status, and spent a great deal of effort in trying to achieve her place in the elite class. As a divorcee, she was never fully accepted in England.

She took each social rejection to heart. Pain had settled in and fused with her DNA. She loved being mysterious and told many a different story about the origins of her snake tattoo, which eventually led to her being called The Dragon Lady.

She had such great hopes for achieving a new social prominence in Rhodesia, but again was met with scorn for her belief that the Africans were being treated unfairly by the white majority, who were racists and elitists.

While she worked hard to better the lives of those in her community, it felt like it was always being done with an expectation that others should be extremely grateful and glorify her.

Stephen Courtauld was the more likeable one of the Courtaulds. He was a lover of art, fine architecture, botany, music and theater. Despite threatening letters ; physical harm to his personal property, and endless social shunning, Stephen continued doing what he believed right.

He was awarded his knighthood for his work and leadership in the establishment of the Rhodes National Gallery, for an outstanding contribution to the civic life of the community and for wide-ranging philanthropy.

Instead of seeking social status, Stephen desired social conscience. The results at time were terrible, and Gini was always mindless of how she set things into motion.

It is obvious that the author, Louisa Treger, meticulously researched the Courtaulds. The readers get to experience the grandeur of the Courtauld's homes.

I would have prefered the heading to give more specific years. That would have made it seem more biographical and less fictionalized to me.

I recommend this book to any one who loves historical fiction, especially the sub-category of fictionalized biography.

Please follow my reviews at www. Feb 02, Martine Bailey rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-novels , historical-research , travel , true-story , suspense.

The novel is a tale of colonial life in what was once Rhodesia, and the author tells it with ravishing bravura. It is the s when Ginie and her husband Stephen set up their estate in Africa and strive to improve conditions for the local people, thereby earning the scorn of the white population.

On one level it is a story of those wanting to do good bringing about unfortunate consequences, as it is clear from the opening scene that Ginie will be shot in her beloved garden.

In a feat of social ambition, she propels herself from her relatively modest Italian-Romanian background, to become the adored wife of wealthy philanthropist Stephen Courtauld.

She is a sympathetic and complex character — though vampish and desperate for the acceptance that eludes her, Ginie is artistic, generous and well-meaning.

She has painful secrets that eat away at her happiness, and throws her energies into her beloved pets and projects. Despite their seeming limitless wealth the Courtaulds appear to be rootless and unlucky.

Nationalism stirs the local population and their treatment by the white minority is at times deeply shocking.

Louisa Treger has written a ravishing book that evokes a lost, morally troubled world, where old and new values clash. At its centre, Virginia Courtauld is an alluring character who mixes glamour and tragedy in a uniquely readable and thought-provoking way.

Jun 17, Ffion rated it liked it Shelves: blog-reviews , historical-fiction. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I think The Dragon Lady is one of those novels which tries to be too many different things at once, and therefore ends up not exploring each of its themes to their full potential.

Before picking up th Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Before picking up this book, I had never heard of Ginie Courtauld, so I was eager to learn more about this fascinating woman who defied the social customs of her time in more ways than deciding to get a shocking tattoo of a snake on her leg.

During her time in Rhodesia now Zimbabwe in the s, she and her husband fought for racial equality despite their liberal views making them unpopular amongst their European peers.

The Dragon Lady transported me to a place and period of history I previously had no knowledge of, which I always enjoy when reading historical fiction.

Unfortunately the characters fell a little flat for me, though. It might have been the jumping around in the beginning, but I never quite managed to connect to the characters, giving this more the feel of a factual biography rather than a gripping novel.

Read more of my reviews at Sepia Tinted Window. Apr 26, Bebe Sarah Brechner rated it it was amazing. Readers will enjoy this stimulating novel based on a real life couple, the fabulously wealthy and mysterious Courtaulds, who defied the well entrenched social norms of British colonialism in South Africa Rhodesia during the s and s.

The author has developed a sensitive background and story on what motivated this couple, particularly Virginia, to step out and confront the standard and rampant prejudice of those times.

Recommended for public library collections and book clubs. Jun 27, Tessa Arlen rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites.

Five stars for this superbly wrought story of love, strife and forgiveness. Seeking to escape the judgmental confines of post-war Britain, Stephan and Ginie move to what they hope is the freedom of Zimbabwe, t Five stars for this superbly wrought story of love, strife and forgiveness.

Seeking to escape the judgmental confines of post-war Britain, Stephan and Ginie move to what they hope is the freedom of Zimbabwe, then known as Rhodesia.

But Rhodesia in the s was a country on the point of great cultural and social change, precariously teetering on the edge of political unrest.

The liberal Courtaulds find themselves in a narrow, deeply prejudiced white society where the indigenous people are enslaved in poverty and oppression.

Their attempts to help the native population emerge from under their white oppressors was met with a dismissive scorn among the white Rhodesian farmers that escalated to violence particularly toward the unconventional Ginie.

Louisa Treger handles the claustrophobic prejudice of white Rhodesia with her customary deft prose. Her descriptions of the beauties of the African country, the sensitive but deeply candid Ginie Courtauld and her benign, philanthropist husband Stephen lift us above the hatred of a society that is determined to uphold segregation.

Superbly researched this is a beautifully told story about a time in recent African history that is even more relevant today as our world struggles to accept racial difference.

Aug 06, Joan Happel rated it really liked it. In Rhodesia, the couple turn to philanthropic endeavors while also trying to bring equality between the African and white populations.

The two built a theater which they insisted be desegregated and also contributed to the building of the Rhodes National Gallery now the National Gallery of Zimbabwe , to which they contributed many great works of art.

This was a fascinating story of a woman I was unfamiliar with. Her life and her achievements were enthralling and I found myself looking for more information about her.

She was a woman ahead of her time, even down to the tattoo she had on her leg thus the title. Refusing to adhere to the societal constraints of her time, Ginie followed her beliefs and her conscience often making enemies of those in her own class.

This will be a great addition to your monthly book club lists. Jan 07, Alison rated it it was amazing. A haunting, evocative novel that explores what it is to be an outsider with its portrayal of a truly remarkable woman.

Louisa Treger vividly brings to life both the historical characters of Virginia Ginie and Stephen Courtauld, and life in s Rhodesia, in a deeply moving blend of fact and fiction that is intimately personal while painting a broader picture of a divided society.

The novel begins with the shooting of Ginie Courtauld, known as the Dragon Lady because of her mysterious tattoo.

The mystery of her death is a taut, compelling thread throughout, but the novel is much more, movingly portraying the life of the Courtaulds in Rhodesia, and the events that took them there.

When Ginie marries Stephen Courtauld, she dreams of being accepted into the London society he moves in, but her background is a barrier to acceptance.

They hope that a move to the beautiful estate of La Rochelle in Rhodesia will bring them a sense of belonging, but they find a country riven by division between the African population and the white settlers.

As the Courtaulds make numerous efforts to secure a fairer life, for their own employees and for the wider African community, they begin to receive threatening letters and once again find themselves outsiders in their society.

Growing tension also highlights the secrets they keep from each other — their mutual revelation was a particularly moving scene to me.

By contrasting the hardships and suffering faced by the Africans in Rhodesia with the personal losses and hurts of Ginie and Stephen, and their respective responses — growing political awareness among the African community, and the sponsoring of public works by the Courtaulds — The Dragon Lady explores how grief and tragedy can be experienced on many levels, each equally valid to the person suffering them, and how privilege is not always a blessing, but can be used for good.

As with Dorothy Richardson in her excellent debut, The Lodger, Louisa Treger takes a historical figure and weaves a compelling and thought-provoking story around her life, which I thoroughly recommend.

I received this from Netgalley. Good story, interesting and nicely written. Jan 01, Emma Curtis rated it it was amazing.

I was delighted to receive an advance copy of Louisa Treger's new novel from Bloombury, having loved The Lodger.

The Dragon Lady is a gorgeous book, a beautifully written meld of fact and fiction. Louisa Treger gets right into the heart of Rhodesian ex-pat society, with it's petty snobbery, racism and casual cruelty.

Ginnie and Simon Courtauld try their best to do right by the indigenous population and to find meaning in their own lives, but are thwarted by their white neighbours who resent the I was delighted to receive an advance copy of Louisa Treger's new novel from Bloombury, having loved The Lodger.

Ginnie and Simon Courtauld try their best to do right by the indigenous population and to find meaning in their own lives, but are thwarted by their white neighbours who resent the interference in the status quo and the threat it means to their comfortable and privileged way of life.

Things boil over with horrific results. A very good read! Sep 13, H. Callum rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction.

The Dragon Lady is an impressive piece of historical fiction, winding us through the amazing and ahead-of-the-time life and perspectives of Virginia Courtauld.

Louisa Treger has melded fact with fiction impeccably, and the language, detail, and mood of this book make it a perfect companion to the story of Virginia Courtauld.

The Dragon Lady is a reminder of how the past ghosts the present, and is a testament that fiction done well can make history relevant and alive for modern readers.

A superb The Dragon Lady is an impressive piece of historical fiction, winding us through the amazing and ahead-of-the-time life and perspectives of Virginia Courtauld.

A superb read. Aug 30, Ginger Pollard rated it it was amazing. What a fabulous book! It's based on true events, but the author has made a great story!

Takes place in South Africa which makes it wild and mysterious for anyone who has never visited. This book truly takes the reader on a trip to South Africa!

Writing is amazing, story is incredible and the author paints a beautiful picture of this beautiful land! Something for everyone in this book!

Enjoyed it so much! Impossible to put down, so I read it in one night. Don't miss it! One of the best books Wow! One of the best books I've read this year!

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley! All opinions are my own! Feb 28, Sue rated it it was amazing. This is the story of the beautiful, exotic, socialite Lady Virginia 'Ginie' Courtauld - nicknamed The Dragon Lady for the unusual tattoo of a snake decorating the length of her leg.

We follow Ginie from her youth on the Italian Riviera before World War I, to England and the stylish Art Deco Eltham Palace, to the wilds of Scotland, and finally to her shooting at La Rochelle in Rhodesia of the s - through two marriages, her many homes and the enormous social changes that took place during her u This is the story of the beautiful, exotic, socialite Lady Virginia 'Ginie' Courtauld - nicknamed The Dragon Lady for the unusual tattoo of a snake decorating the length of her leg.

We follow Ginie from her youth on the Italian Riviera before World War I, to England and the stylish Art Deco Eltham Palace, to the wilds of Scotland, and finally to her shooting at La Rochelle in Rhodesia of the s - through two marriages, her many homes and the enormous social changes that took place during her unconventional life.

Although their company was often sought at the time of Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson's affair, and their glamourous Eltham Palace parties were well attended by the celebrities of the day, their star soon dimmed after Edward's abdication.

Drawn by the beauty of Africa, they decided to settle in far off Rhodesia, where their liberal ideals made them fierce campaigners for equality and an end to segregation, but this caused them much trouble among the other white settlers and led to Ginie becoming a target for violence.

Neither Bok nor Lilius had used the actual term "Dragon Lady. This was a part of the Yellow Peril movement. That later became the Chinese Exclusion Act that prevented Chinese laborers from entering the USA from until it was repealed in Since the s, when "Dragon Lady" became fixed in the English language, the term has been applied countless times to powerful Asian women, such as Soong Mei-ling , also known as Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Madame Nhu of Vietnam, Devika Rani of India , and to any number of racially Asian film actresses.

That stereotype—as is the case with other racial caricatures—has generated a large quantity of sociological literature.

Today, "Dragon Lady" is often applied anachronistically to refer to persons who lived before the term became part of American slang in the s.

Miss Saigon , is an American musical with examples of this as well. Another example of its usage is in the popular sci-fi film Avatar , where Corporal Jake Sully refers to his eventual mother-in-law Mo'at, high priestess of the Omaticaya Na'vi clan of Pandora, as Dragon lady while speaking about her to his boss Dr.

Grace Augustine. This follows his first meeting with Mo'at, during which she successfully cows all of her fellow Omaticayas, including her husband the chieftain , into submitting to her wishes for Sully when prior to her arrival they had clearly all been resolved to kill him for trespassing on their land.

In the film Gran Torino , Clint Eastwood 's character Walt Kowalski uses the term [18] in directing his Hmong neighbor to get him another beer.

Dragon Lady characters are visually defined by their emphasis on "otherness" and sexual promiscuity.

An example of headwear for Dragon Lady costumes is the Hakka hat or other headdresses with eastern inspiration.

Examples of this in The World of Susie Wong include Nancy Kwan 's character in cheongsam that accentuates her hips and breasts.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Dragon Lady disambiguation. This article needs additional citations for verification.

The new camera had a resolution of 2. JPTS is a high thermal stability, high altitude fuel , created specifically for the U Research was carried out to find a cheaper and easier alternative involving additives to generally used jet fuels.

Due to the small landing gear, a perfect balance in the fuel tanks was essential for a safe landing. Similarly to sailplanes , the U-2 had a yaw string on the canopy to detect slip or skid during the approach.

A skid during flight with no bank was the hint of an imbalance around the longitudinal axis which could be resolved by moving the fuel to the left or right wing tank.

This effort ultimately proved unsuccessful, and work began on a follow-on aircraft, which resulted in the Lockheed A Oxcart. Disclosed details say the design is essentially an improved U-2 airframe with the same engine, service ceiling, sensors, and cockpit, with the main differences being an optional manning capability something Lockheed has proposed for the U-2 to USAF several times but has never gained traction and low-observable characteristics.

The company's last attempt to create a stealth unmanned aircraft was the RQ-3 DarkStar , which never made it past flight testing and was canceled.

Its name was changed to mean "tactical reconnaissance" to reflect its purpose as an affordable peace and wartime ISR aircraft, distinguishing it from strategic, penetrating SRclass platforms; TR is a reference to the short-lived rebranding of the U-2 as the TR-1 in the s.

Size, and thus cost, is kept down by having less endurance than the Global Hawk at around 20 hours, which is still about the same time as a normal RQ-4 sortie even though it is capable of flying for 34 hours.

It would have increased power and cooling to accommodate new sensors, communication equipment, electronic warfare suites, and perhaps offensive or defensive laser weapons.

TR-X could be ready for service in the timeframe, with a fleet of 25—30 aircraft proposed to replace the nearly aircraft mix of U-2s and RQ-4s.

Lockheed Martin revealed more specifications about the TR-X concept at a 15 March media day, confirming the aircraft would be unmanned and air refuelable.

The TR-X is meant to be "survivable, not unnoticeable", operating outside of enemy air defense bubbles rather than penetrating into them.

The avionics upgrades are scheduled to be completed by The design that gives the U-2 its remarkable performance also makes it a difficult aircraft to fly.

Martin Knutson said that it "was the highest workload air plane I believe ever designed and built… you're wrestling with the airplane and operating the camera systems at all times", leaving no time to "worry about whether you're over Russia or you're flying over Southern California".

High aspect ratio wings give the U-2 glider -like characteristics, with an engine out glide ratio of about , [42] comparable to gliders of the time.

This narrow window is called the " coffin corner ", [43] [44] because breaching either limit was likely to cause airflow separation at the wings or tail.

A stall would cause a loss of altitude, possibly leading to detection and overstress of the airframe. The U-2's flight controls are designed for high-altitude flight; the controls require light control inputs at operational altitude.

However, at lower altitudes the higher air density and lack of a power-assisted control system makes the aircraft very difficult to fly: control inputs must be extreme to achieve the desired response, and a great deal of physical strength is needed to operate the controls.

The U-2 is very sensitive to crosswinds, which, together with its tendency to float over the runway, makes the aircraft notoriously difficult to land.

As it approaches the runway, the cushion of air provided by the high-lift wings in ground effect is so pronounced that the U-2 will not land unless the wings are fully stalled.

A landing U-2 is accompanied on the ground by a chase car , which is driven by a second U-2 pilot who assists the landing U-2 by reporting the aircraft's altitude and attitude.

Chase cars and live calling of aircraft altitude are necessary because the landing gear is not designed to absorb the weight of the aircraft when falling from altitudes much above two feet 0.

Instead of the typical tricycle landing gear, the U-2 uses a bicycle configuration with a forward set of main wheels located just behind the cockpit, and a rear set of main wheels located behind the engine.

The rear wheels are coupled to the rudder to provide steering during taxiing. To maintain balance while taxiing and take-off, two auxiliary wheels called "pogos" are attached under the wings.

These fit into sockets underneath each wing at about mid-span, and fall off at takeoff. To protect the wings during landing, each wingtip has a titanium skid.

After the U-2 comes to a halt, the ground crew re-installs the pogos, then the aircraft taxis to parking. If put in the mouth and bitten, the "L-pill"—containing liquid potassium cyanide —would cause death in 10—15 seconds.

After a pilot almost accidentally ingested an L-pill instead of candy during a December flight, the suicide pills were put into boxes to avoid confusion.

When in the CIA realized that a pill breaking inside the cockpit would kill the pilot, it destroyed the L-pills, and as a replacement its Technical Services Division developed a needle poisoned with a powerful shellfish toxin and hidden in a silver dollar.

Only one was made because, the agency decided, if any pilot needed to use it the program would probably be canceled.

A portable oxygen supply is used during transport to the aircraft. Factors increasing the risk of illness since include longer mission durations and more cockpit activity.

Conventional reconnaissance missions would limit pilot duties to maintaining flight path for camera photography.

Operations over Afghanistan included more real time activities, such as communication with ground troops, increasing their bodies' oxygen requirements and the risk of nitrogen bubble formation.

U-2 pilots now exercise during oxygen pre-breathing. The urine collection device also was rebuilt to eliminate leakage. Ground resolution of 9.

The cameras were specially designed by James G. It was a panoramic camera which took pictures of an extremely large area of the earth's surface.

The lens design consisted of a single aspheric singlet lens. This is common practice in high resolution cameras in later systems also, where the large image helps localize the small high-resolution images.

The aircraft carries a variety of sensors in the nose, Q-bay behind the cockpit, also known as the camera bay , and wing pods.

The U-2 is capable of simultaneously collecting signals , imagery intelligence and air samples. Imagery intelligence sensors include either wet film photography, electro-optic, or radar imagery—the latter from the Raytheon ASARS-2 system.

It can use both line-of-sight and over-horizon data links. Nonetheless, the USAF substantially participated in the project; Bissell described it as a "49 percent" partner.

The USAF agreed to select and train pilots and plot missions, while the CIA would handle cameras and project security, process film, and arrange foreign bases.

Beyond not using American military personnel to fly the U-2, Eisenhower preferred to use non-U. Seven Greek pilots and a Polish expatriate were added to the U-2 trainees although only two of the Greek pilots were subsequently allowed to fly the aircraft.

Their flight proficiency was poor. The language barrier and a lack of appropriate flying experience proved problematic; by late , foreign pilots had been dropped from the program.

The program only recruited fighter pilots with reserve USAF commissions, as regular commissions complicated the resignation process.

The program offered high salaries and the USAF promised that pilots could return at the same rank as their peers.

As no two-seat trainer model was available for the program's first 15 years, training was done before the trainee's first solo flight and via radio.

Pilots had to adjust to the U-2's unusual combination of jet engines and enormous, high-lift glider wings; because of the "coffin corner" they learned of the need to pay complete attention to flying when not using the autopilot.

This was intended to reduce the chances of a security breach as part of a compartmented security system. These three digit numbers were factory assigned.

The lake bed had no markings, making it difficult for LeVier to judge the distance to the ground, and the brakes proved too weak; he bounced the U-2 once before it stopped rolling, but the aircraft suffered only minor damage.

LeVier again found landing the U-2 difficult during the first intentional test flight three days later. On his sixth try, he found that landing the aircraft by touching down on the rear wheel first was better than making the initial touchdown with the front wheel.

Pilots continued to have difficulty during landing, due to the ground effect holding the aircraft off the runway for long distances.

Meanwhile, U-2s conducted eight overflights of the U. As often happens with new aircraft designs, there were several operational accidents.

One occurred during these test flights, when a U-2 suffered a flameout over Tennessee; the pilot calculated that he could reach New Mexico.

Every air base in the continental U. The commander of Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, New Mexico was told to open his orders, prepare for the arrival of an unusual aircraft making a deadstick landing , and get it inside a hangar as soon as possible.

Not all U-2 incidents were so benign, with three fatal accidents in alone. The first was on 15 May , when the pilot stalled the aircraft during a post-takeoff maneuver that was intended to drop off the wingtip outrigger wheels.

The second occurred on 31 August, when the pilot stalled the aircraft immediately after takeoff. On 17 September, a third aircraft disintegrated during ascent in Germany, also killing the pilot.

The U-2 project received the list and drew up flight plans, and the committee provided a detailed rationale for each plan for the president to consider as he decided whether to approve it.

Before the aircraft became operational, however, USAF's Project Genetrix , which used high-altitude balloons to photograph the Soviet Union, China, and eastern Europe, led to many diplomatic protests from those countries and for a while CIA officials feared that the U-2 project was at risk.

While Genetrix was also a technical failure—only 34 of the balloons returned usable photographs—the balloon flights gave the United States many clues on how the Communist countries used radar to track overflights, which benefited the U-2 program.

U-2s flew some real weather-related missions, taking photographs that appeared in the press, [67] [68] and sometimes had civilian government decals, [69] but few believed in the cover story; in May the UK's Daily Express newspaper reported the U-2 operating east of the Iron Curtain.

The civilian advisers Land and Killian disagreed with the cover story, advising that in case of an aircraft loss, the United States forthrightly acknowledge its use of U-2 overflights "to guard against surprise attack".

Their advice was not followed, and the weather cover story led to the disaster that followed the May U-2 loss. The death in April , however, of British agent Lionel Crabb while examining Soviet ships in Portsmouth harbor embarrassed the British government, which asked the United States to postpone the Lakenheath flights.

To avoid delays, in June , Detachment A moved to Wiesbaden , Germany, without approval from the German government, while Giebelstadt Army Airfield was prepared as a more permanent base.

Eisenhower remained concerned that despite their great intelligence value, overflights of the Soviet Union might cause a war.

While the U-2 was under development, at the Geneva Summit he proposed to Nikita Khrushchev that the Soviet Union and the United States would each grant the other country airfields to use to photograph military installations.

Khrushchev rejected the "Open Skies" proposal. Knutson later said that "the U-2 was really quite invisible to American radar, but Russian radar were a little different — better, you might say".

Although the Office of Scientific Intelligence issued a more cautious report in May that stated that detection was possible, it believed that the Soviets could not consistently track the aircraft.

Dulles further told Eisenhower, according to presidential aide Andrew Goodpaster , that in any aircraft loss the pilot would almost certainly not survive.

With such assurances and the growing demand for accurate intelligence regarding the alleged " bomber gap " between the U.

The first U-2 overflight had already occurred, using existing authorization of air force overflights over Eastern Europe. The fact that radar had—contrary to the CIA's expectations—successfully tracked the aircraft worried Eisenhower, but he approved the first Soviet overflight, Mission on 4 July.

U-2 Article 's main targets were the Soviet submarine construction program in Leningrad , and counting the numbers of the new Myasishchev M-4 "Bison" bomber.

A second flight on 5 July continued searching for Bisons, took photographs of Moscow the only ones taken by the program , and flew over cloud-covered [73] rocket factories at Kaliningrad and Khimki.

Eisenhower knew from the earlier overflights that his hope of no Soviet detection was unrealistic, but ordered that the overflights stop if the aircraft could be tracked.

The CIA found that the Soviets could not consistently track the U-2s, and they therefore did not know that Moscow and Leningrad had been overflown.

The aircraft's photographs showed tiny images of MiGs and MiGs attempting and failing to intercept the aircraft, proving that the Soviets could not shoot down an operational U Repeatedly failing for years to stop the aircraft embarrassed the USSR, which made diplomatic protests against the flights but did not publicize the penetration of Soviet territory.

U-2 missions from Wiesbaden would depart westward in order to gain altitude over friendly territory before turning eastward at operational altitudes.

On 10 July, the Soviets protested what they described as overflights by a USAF "twin-engine medium bomber", apparently believing that it was a Canberra.

Beyond the Soviet protests, the president was concerned about American public reaction to news that the U. The eight overflights over communist territory, however, had already shown that the bomber gap did not exist; the U-2s had not found any Myasishchev M-4 Bison bombers at the nine bases they had visited.

Because the Eisenhower administration could not disclose the source of its intelligence, however, Congressional and public debate over the bomber gap continued.

The presidential order did not restrict U-2 flights outside eastern Europe. Before the new detachment was ready, however, Detachment A in late August used Adana as a refueling base to photograph the Mediterranean.

The aircraft found evidence of many British troops on Malta and Cyprus as the United Kingdom prepared for its forthcoming intervention in Suez.

As the crisis grew in seriousness, the project converted from a source of strategic reconnaissance, which prioritized high quality over speed the film was processed by its maker, then analyzed in Washington , to a tactical reconnaissance unit that provided immediate analysis.

On 1 November a flight flew over the Egyptian air base at Almaza twice, 10 minutes apart; in between the British and French attacked the base, and the visible results of the attack in the "minute reconnaissance" impressed Eisenhower.

Beginning on 5 November, flights over Syria showed that the Soviets had not sent aircraft there despite their threats against the British, French and Israelis, a cause of worry for the U.

In the four years following the Suez Crisis, repeated U-2 missions over the Middle East were launched, particularly in times of tension.

The end of the Lebanon crisis saw a decline in U-2 operations, although Detachment B U-2s operating from Turkey still sometimes overflew the Middle East along with occasional missions over Albania to check for Soviet missile activity.

Israel was a major target of U-2 missions during this period, with U-2 missions detecting the construction of the Negev Nuclear Research Center in , first bringing Israel's nuclear program to the attention of the US.

The overflights drew the attention of the Israeli Air Force. Its radars detected and tracked the overflights, and on numerous occasions Israeli fighter aircraft were scrambled to intercept them, but were unable to reach them due to their altitude.

The Israeli government was baffled by the overflights. However, Israeli fighter pilots were twice able to spot the intruding aircraft.

On 11 March , two Israeli Super Mystere fighters were directed to intercept a U-2 detected over Israel by Israeli ground-based radar. Although the aircraft were unable to make an intercept, the formation leader, Major Yosef Alon , managed to get a good look at the aircraft.

He subsequently identified it out of a book as a U-2, registered as a weather reconnaissance aircraft to the US Weather Service.

On 22 July , after an overflight was detected, an Israeli Air Force Vautour jet was deployed to photograph the mysterious aircraft. The Vautour came within visual range and the U-2 was successfully photographed.

In spite of this, it was not until the shootdown of a U-2 over the Soviet Union and its subsequent public exposure as a spy plane that the Israeli government understood the identity of the mystery aircraft.

Eisenhower refused CIA pleas in September to reauthorize overflights of Eastern Europe but the Hungarian Revolution in November, and his reelection that month , caused the president to permit flights over border areas.

Soviet interceptors could still not reach the U-2s but, after the Soviets protested a December overflight of Vladivostok by RBDs, Eisenhower again forbade communist overflights.

In May , Eisenhower again authorized overflights over certain important Soviet missile and atomic facilities. He continued to personally authorize each flight, closely examining maps and sometimes making changes to the flight plan.

The U-2's large wingspan slowed its descent during crashes, often leaving its remains salvageable; Lockheed was able to rebuild the wreckage from the incident into a flyable airframe, but that it could do so should have been evidence to the CIA that its cover story might not be viable after a crash in hostile territory.

Others originated from Lahore, Pakistan. A Lahore flight on 5 August provided the first photographs [83] of the Baikonur Cosmodrome near Tyuratam : the CIA had been unaware of its existence until then.

Other flights examined the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and the Saryshagan missile test site. The president sought to avoid angering the Soviets as he worked to achieve a nuclear test ban ; meanwhile the Soviets began trying to shoot down U-2 flights that never entered Soviet airspace, and the details in their diplomatic protests showed that Soviet radar operators were able to effectively track the aircraft.

The Soviets developed their own overflight aircraft, variants of the Yak , which in addition to photographing various parts of the world through the early s acted as a target for the new MiG and MiG interceptors to practice for the U The source of the leak was never identified, although there was speculation that it was Lee Harvey Oswald , then a radar operator at a U-2 base in Japan.

The successful launch of Sputnik 1 on 4 October gave credence to Soviet claims about the progress of its intercontinental ballistic missile program, and began the Sputnik crisis in the United States.

The U-2 intelligence caused Eisenhower to state in a press conference on 9 October that the launch did "not raise my apprehensions, not one iota", but he refused to disclose the U-2's existence as he believed that the Soviets would demand the end of the flights.

Although the Soviets' SS-6 Sapwood missile program was actually stalled due to technical failures, subsequent boasts—and U.

Khrushchev continued to exaggerate the Soviet program's success; the missile gap concerns, and CIA and State Department support, caused Eisenhower to reauthorize one Communist territory overflight in July after 16 months, as well as many ELINT flights along the Soviet border.

British U-2 overflights were made in December and February The first one targeted a large segment of the railways in the Tyuratam test range area as ballistic missiles were expected to be deployed close to rail lines, as well as nuclear complexes and missile test sites.

No sites were found. The British flights' success contributed to Eisenhower's authorization of one overflight in April.

By U-2 pilots were aware, Knutson recalled, that Soviet surface-to-air missiles SAMs had improved and that overflights had become much more risky, but did not worry because "dumb fighter pilots always think it's the other guy that's going to get hit".

The April flight was indeed tracked quickly, and Khrushchev said in his memoir that it should have been shot down by new SAMs, but the missile crews were slow to react.

Eisenhower authorized one more overflight, which was to be made no later than 1 May because the important Paris Summit of the Big Four Conference would begin on 16 May.

It was expected, given good weather, to resolve missile, nuclear and nuclear submarine intelligence issues with one flight. After delays, the flight began on May Day , 1 May.

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