Alex Mandel first encountered Amelia Earhart on a summer afternoon while reading his father’s old magazines in the backyard of his childhood home in Odessa, Ukraine. “It was just a brief biography of her and a story of how she disappeared,” he said. That was enough.
For more than 30 years, Mandel has described himself as “an admirer of Amelia Earhart.” He met a fellow admirer and soulmate through what he calls the “Amelia community.” With her, he made a pilgrimage to all the important sites in Earhart’s life. These days he plans vacations around the Amelia Earhart Festival in Atchison, Kansas—where aficionados gather to savor all things Earhart in the town where she was born and