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The thrilling true story of the daring female aviators who helped the United States win World War II--only to be forgotten by the country they served. When Japanese planes executed a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Cornelia had escaped Nashville's debutante scene for a fresh start as a flight instructor in The thrilling true story of the daring female aviators who helped the United States win World War II--only to be forgotten by the country they served. When Japanese planes executed a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Cornelia had escaped Nashville's debutante scene for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii. She and her student were in the middle of their lesson when the bombs began to fall, and they barely made it back to ground that morning. Still, when the U.S. Army Air Forces put out a call for women pilots to aid the war effort, Cornelia was one of the first to respond. She became one of just over 1,100 women from across the nation to make it through the Army's rigorous selection process and earn her silver wings. In The Women with Silver Wings, historian Katherine Sharp Landdeck introduces us to these young women as they meet even-tempered, methodical Nancy Love and demanding visionary Jacqueline Cochran, the trailblazing pilots who first envisioned sending American women into the air, and whose rivalry would define the Women Airforce Service Pilots. For women like Cornelia, it was a chance to serve their country--and to prove that women aviators were just as skilled and able as men. While not authorized to serve in combat, the WASP helped train male pilots for service abroad and ferried bombers and pursuits across the country. Thirty-eight of them would not survive the war. But even taking into account these tragic losses, Love and Cochran's social experiment seemed to be a resounding success--until, with the tides of war turning and fewer male pilots needed in Europe, Congress clipped the women's wings. The program was disbanded, the women sent home. But the bonds they'd forged never failed, and over the next few decades, they came together to fight for recognition as the military veterans they were--and for their place in history.


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The thrilling true story of the daring female aviators who helped the United States win World War II--only to be forgotten by the country they served. When Japanese planes executed a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Cornelia had escaped Nashville's debutante scene for a fresh start as a flight instructor in The thrilling true story of the daring female aviators who helped the United States win World War II--only to be forgotten by the country they served. When Japanese planes executed a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Cornelia had escaped Nashville's debutante scene for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii. She and her student were in the middle of their lesson when the bombs began to fall, and they barely made it back to ground that morning. Still, when the U.S. Army Air Forces put out a call for women pilots to aid the war effort, Cornelia was one of the first to respond. She became one of just over 1,100 women from across the nation to make it through the Army's rigorous selection process and earn her silver wings. In The Women with Silver Wings, historian Katherine Sharp Landdeck introduces us to these young women as they meet even-tempered, methodical Nancy Love and demanding visionary Jacqueline Cochran, the trailblazing pilots who first envisioned sending American women into the air, and whose rivalry would define the Women Airforce Service Pilots. For women like Cornelia, it was a chance to serve their country--and to prove that women aviators were just as skilled and able as men. While not authorized to serve in combat, the WASP helped train male pilots for service abroad and ferried bombers and pursuits across the country. Thirty-eight of them would not survive the war. But even taking into account these tragic losses, Love and Cochran's social experiment seemed to be a resounding success--until, with the tides of war turning and fewer male pilots needed in Europe, Congress clipped the women's wings. The program was disbanded, the women sent home. But the bonds they'd forged never failed, and over the next few decades, they came together to fight for recognition as the military veterans they were--and for their place in history.

30 review for The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II

  1. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    I figured the odds were good when I picked this one up that I would find this to be an interesting read. I've read quite a few books about female aviators and also the roles women played during World War 2 but this is actually the first time I've had the opportunity to read a nonfiction book devoted to the two subjects. It truly was an honor to learn more about these women and this book was definitely a worthwhile read. After the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States needed pilots to go I figured the odds were good when I picked this one up that I would find this to be an interesting read. I've read quite a few books about female aviators and also the roles women played during World War 2 but this is actually the first time I've had the opportunity to read a nonfiction book devoted to the two subjects. It truly was an honor to learn more about these women and this book was definitely a worthwhile read. After the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States needed pilots to go fight in the war. The WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) was a group formed during World War 2 that trained pilots, tested aircraft, and also ferried aircraft. Essentially by having female pilots take on these responsibilities this freed up more male pilots to go fight in combat. Sounds like a great thing, right? Unfortunately given society norms and gender roles at the time, these women faced a battle of their own in order to be taken seriously. And what's worse is even decades after the war, these female aviators barely got a smidge of recognition for helping win the war. One of the reasons I wanted to read this book is about 20 years ago when my grandmother was in her 80s, she randomly told me how during WW2 she was going to get her pilot's license to help with the war effort but ended up not being able to take the exam because her mother thought it was too dangerous. This was the first time anyone in our family had heard this story, and now that she has passed away, it remains one of my favorite moments with her. One of the things that boggled my mind is all she needed was 7 lessons in the air and that's something that was basically confirmed in this book. Nowadays I think most of us know you need a lot of hours to get your pilot's license but back then you didn't need much at all. One of the women featured in this book I believe was deemed qualified to fly, after less than 5 hours in the air. Even though I knew this fact from reading previous books about female aviators, it still is crazy to me that there were serious discussions back then about whether or not a woman should be able to fly during her menstrual cycle. I do love how there was really no way a ban could be enforced because most men weren't going to want to ask the female pilots if they were on their period before every flight. And also these women would most likely have lied if questioned anyway because they had common sense and realized they were more than fully capable and qualified even if it was a certain time of the month. This book provides a good history of how the WASPs got their start as well as what led to it coming to an end in 1944 before the war was even over. The book features quite a few of the women associated with the WASPs and a decent amount of info is given about their backgrounds as well as their lives after the war. One thing I found fascinating is so many of the women pilots went on to start families and didn't really discuss their experiences during the war with them. They basically figured it was all about the kids and nobody really cared about mom's life prior to becoming a mother. It really wasn't until decades later when the government was attempting to give these women some recognition, that many family members got to actually learn more about the WASPs. I'm glad the author mentioned how the vast majority of the women pilots were white. It does break your heart there were women of color wanting to help the nation and yet many were turned away. In general the author did a pretty decent job showing the good things about the women and the program as well as the bad. This is a good read particularly if you enjoy nonfiction books about World War 2 and/or anything related to women doing extraordinary things. Thank you to Crown and Netgalley for providing me with an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    This is a bit different than other books on this topic in that it is a collection of stories about various women pilots, many of them were members of the 99. (The 99 was an organization of the first women pilots established by Amelia Earhart.) The book is well written and researched. I enjoyed the intimate stories of the various women rather than a board explanation of what the women pilots did in WWII. The first group that was developed was the Women Auxiliary Ferry Squadron (WAFS) organized and This is a bit different than other books on this topic in that it is a collection of stories about various women pilots, many of them were members of the 99. (The 99 was an organization of the first women pilots established by Amelia Earhart.) The book is well written and researched. I enjoyed the intimate stories of the various women rather than a board explanation of what the women pilots did in WWII. The first group that was developed was the Women Auxiliary Ferry Squadron (WAFS) organized and lead by Nancy Love. This was a smaller group of highly skilled women pilots with more than 500 hours in the more powerful planes. The other group was led by the famous aviatrix, Jacqueline Cochrane, and named Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Cochrane recruited not only licensed women pilots but women who wanted to learn to fly and the Army Air Corps trained them. Landdeck told the stories of the experience of fairly famous pilots but also of those who learned to fly in the program. The last section of the book is about their fight to prove they existed and to be recognized as WWII veterans. I am particularly interested in this topic because I have had several friends who were WASPs. Like so many that served in WWII, they have passed on and took their stories with them. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is ten hours and fifty-three minutes. Gabra Zachman does a good job narrating the book. Zachman is an actress and audiobook narrator.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karen R

    4.5. Every so often a book comes my way that is incredibly inspiring and will live long in my heart. This story about the daring and brave women airfare service pilots (WASP) is one of them. I admire the author’s meticulous research regarding these passionate and trailblazing aviators who flew during WWII and was riveted by the womens’ accomplishments, hurdles and setbacks. I loved the letters, photos and diaries which provide tremendous insight into personal histories. Their discrimination and 4.5. Every so often a book comes my way that is incredibly inspiring and will live long in my heart. This story about the daring and brave women airfare service pilots (WASP) is one of them. I admire the author’s meticulous research regarding these passionate and trailblazing aviators who flew during WWII and was riveted by the womens’ accomplishments, hurdles and setbacks. I loved the letters, photos and diaries which provide tremendous insight into personal histories. Their discrimination and having to fight so hard for veteran recognition, however, made me angry! This debut by Author/Historian Landdeck (a licensed pilot) reports in her author notes that she knew most of the WASP women named in the book. A fascinating must-read. Thanks to Crown Publishing for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    I am not an avid non-fiction reader, but I found this new release absolutely fascinating. The Woman's Auxiliary Ferry Squadron or WAFS was developed during World War 2 to find women who were already certified pilots who could ferry airplanes (any that were used in the war) from either a base to a repair station or from the United States to Britain. This was still the early years of aviation and these ladies from all different life situations (housewives to university graduates) were independent, I am not an avid non-fiction reader, but I found this new release absolutely fascinating. The Woman's Auxiliary Ferry Squadron or WAFS was developed during World War 2 to find women who were already certified pilots who could ferry airplanes (any that were used in the war) from either a base to a repair station or from the United States to Britain. This was still the early years of aviation and these ladies from all different life situations (housewives to university graduates) were independent, strong, and gutsy. They relieved men who could be then sent to the front lines. Their stories are riveting, and their life afterwards interesting. They were never given military status but considered civilian employees. It was not until 1977 when many were in their 80's and 90's when they finally received military status and given benefits that should have belonged to them from the beginning. I highly recommend this book to any of those interested in World War 2 women's service, and the pictures that are at the beginning of each chapter highlight the women. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Toni Osborne

    The inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War 11 Ms. Landdeck is an associate professor and teaches courses on the twentieth century United States and global war. What an interesting read her book is. “The Women with Silver Wings” is the culmination of her 20 years of research on the Women Airforce Service Pilots. The WASP were the first women in history to fly for the U.S. military, serving between 1942 and 1944 at the height of World WAR 11. These daring female avia The inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War 11 Ms. Landdeck is an associate professor and teaches courses on the twentieth century United States and global war. What an interesting read her book is. “The Women with Silver Wings” is the culmination of her 20 years of research on the Women Airforce Service Pilots. The WASP were the first women in history to fly for the U.S. military, serving between 1942 and 1944 at the height of World WAR 11. These daring female aviators who helped the United States win WW 11 only to be forgotten by the country they served. It has been a privilege for Ms. Landdeck get to know these women over years and to tell the stories of these amazing women in action. At the height of WW 11 more than 1000 women volunteered as civilian pilots to relieve men for overseas duty. They ferried planes across the country from factories to points of embarkation, towed targets behind planes to train ground and air gunners, test flew planes after repairs and other domestic flying duty that the Air Forces needed done. The author describes in details their day to day life: the months of training, were they were stationed, the types of aircraft they flew and their down time. The WASP were deactivated in December 1944 up to 1977 they continued their battle to be officially recognised as part of the Military. In 1984 each pilot was awarded the WW 11 Victory medal and others the American Theater Ribbon and Campaign Medal. In 2009, after decades-long battle, the women contributions finally honored and were granted the Congressional Gold Medal and officially recognized as military veterans. The status fully recognised in 2017. This book is superbly researched and consists of numerous vignettes of the remarkable pilots. It is smoothly written with relatively short chapters to keep us interested. In whole an easy read and a great educating tool. On the down side: I found too much was said for a regular size book, information seemed cramped in. I was deeply into this book for most part but ¾ in, things started to turn in circle, became repetitive and dragged somewhat. I was anxious to see the ending by then. Having said this, I still would recommend this book to those who love this time in history. I received an ARC from Crown Publishing via NetGalley for my thoughts.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Caupp

    My favorite book of 2020 so far! The Women with Silver Wings tells the story of the women who trained and served as Women Airforce Service Pilots during WWII. Over 1000 thousand women served as WASPs and 38 women were killed while training or performing their work. These women were passionate about flying and serving their country in a time of need and truly were the first women pilots for the United State military, but Congress and the Armed Services refused to recognize them as a part of the mi My favorite book of 2020 so far! The Women with Silver Wings tells the story of the women who trained and served as Women Airforce Service Pilots during WWII. Over 1000 thousand women served as WASPs and 38 women were killed while training or performing their work. These women were passionate about flying and serving their country in a time of need and truly were the first women pilots for the United State military, but Congress and the Armed Services refused to recognize them as a part of the military during their service. After the WASP program was disbanded the women were told to go home and return solely to their role as housewives, much like other women who had worked for the war effort and to keep the country running while men were overseas. In the years that followed the war the work done by the women was largely forgotten and the women couldn't get work flying planes. Most were told that the companies didn't have jobs for them, because they were women. Only a few managed to find jobs that allowed them to continue flying. This book is fascinating and well researched, combining interviews with surviving WASP and documents the WASP and gathered and had archived at Texas Woman's University. It is interesting mix of the women's personal stories and details about their training and work that they performed (including ferrying planes across the country from factories to where they were needed for training or transport overseas, test flying new and repaired planes, pulling targets so that soldiers could practice shooting at flying targets with live ammunition, and more. These brave women risked their lives serving the war effort, but were then pushed aside. This book brings to life the forgotten stories of a group of women who served a vital role during WWII, but were then largely forgotten by most of America. According to WASP Dora Dougherty Strather McKeown (who earned a PhD and was one of the women who managed to get a career that involved flying, working for Bell Industries and becoming one of few women at the time to become a certified helicopter pilot) "Nobody Seemed to remember about us. No books were written about us, and we were sort of a forgotten page in history." If you love books like Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly and Code Girls by Liza Mundy this book is a must read!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Pearl

    The WASPs are an important part of US military history, but I found this book a bit dry. It focused a bit too much on Jacqueline Cochran, Nancy Love, and the politics of women in service, and not enough on the day to day lives of the WASPs themselves. I would have liked to have heard more about their daily challenges, their missions and flying. It actually made me dislike Jacqueline Cochran as a person, in spite of all she did for women in aviation. I am very grateful for the inclusion of Hazel The WASPs are an important part of US military history, but I found this book a bit dry. It focused a bit too much on Jacqueline Cochran, Nancy Love, and the politics of women in service, and not enough on the day to day lives of the WASPs themselves. I would have liked to have heard more about their daily challenges, their missions and flying. It actually made me dislike Jacqueline Cochran as a person, in spite of all she did for women in aviation. I am very grateful for the inclusion of Hazel Lee, one of the very few women of color in the WASP program, though a greater focus on the discrimination women of color faced would have been appreciated, more than the few paragraphs they did receive. Overall though, a very well researched account of the formation, execution, and legacy of the WASPs.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    The Women with Silver Wings: The Story of the Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Katherine Sharp-Landdeck is one of the best nonfiction books of 2020 and easily one of the best nonfiction books I've read in quite some time. I'll snap up just about anything connected to the WASP and the author here really hits the mark. We get to know many of the women involved, what they all did during their service, and their legacy. It's a shame what happened to the program and how t The Women with Silver Wings: The Story of the Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Katherine Sharp-Landdeck is one of the best nonfiction books of 2020 and easily one of the best nonfiction books I've read in quite some time. I'll snap up just about anything connected to the WASP and the author here really hits the mark. We get to know many of the women involved, what they all did during their service, and their legacy. It's a shame what happened to the program and how they were treated after the way. It's insane to know that they didn't even gain full recognition for their service during the war until 2009. Either way this new book still manages to be quite inspiring and a must read if you're at all interested in aviation and women's roles during wartime.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    Thoroughly researched history of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) that spotlights several female pilots, especially Nancy Love and Jacqueline Cochrane who worked with the Army to employ women as pilots and then fought for them to receive the same benefits as their male counterparts. More politics than action but it fills an important place in US WWII history.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Annissa Joy Armstrong

    I enjoyed this book. It was very well written and contained a lot of information about women pilots and their contributions in aviation during WW ll. The women of WASP were the first women to fly for the US. Katherine Sharp Landdeck did a great job recording this history that a lot of people probably do not know about. It was a very good read for a non fiction book. I believe this book will appeal to a wide variety of readers...people who enjoy women’s history, aviation history, WWII history and I enjoyed this book. It was very well written and contained a lot of information about women pilots and their contributions in aviation during WW ll. The women of WASP were the first women to fly for the US. Katherine Sharp Landdeck did a great job recording this history that a lot of people probably do not know about. It was a very good read for a non fiction book. I believe this book will appeal to a wide variety of readers...people who enjoy women’s history, aviation history, WWII history and history of the USA. Thank you to Crown Publishing for the early digital copy via Netgalley for my review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Hogan

    Finished The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Katherine Sharp Landdeck. This is a terrific account of the pioneering female aviators who stepped in to fill the need for pilots to ferry new planes being produced in ever increasing numbers to the military for use overseas. Thirty eight women lost their lives in this effort. Additionally, they towed targets, taught new male pilots headed to war. They were some of the most acco Finished The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Katherine Sharp Landdeck. This is a terrific account of the pioneering female aviators who stepped in to fill the need for pilots to ferry new planes being produced in ever increasing numbers to the military for use overseas. Thirty eight women lost their lives in this effort. Additionally, they towed targets, taught new male pilots headed to war. They were some of the most accomplished pilots of their era but were largely underpaid and under recognized for their efforts. They weren’t officially in the military so they had no life insurance death benefit and didn’t even qualify for minimal VA benefits until the Carter Administration. These heroes paved the way for women to attend the service academies. Very interesting book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Aurora

    It's obvious from the very first chapter that this book was a labour of love. With a relentless attention to detail and an understanding gained through hours of work including tracking down news item, letters, photos, documents and interviews with many of the WASP, Katherine Sharp Landdeck captures the passion, the dedication and the disappointments and heartache of a group of women pilots who were all bout forgotten by the country they loved and served. As an aviation enthusiast who has always It's obvious from the very first chapter that this book was a labour of love. With a relentless attention to detail and an understanding gained through hours of work including tracking down news item, letters, photos, documents and interviews with many of the WASP, Katherine Sharp Landdeck captures the passion, the dedication and the disappointments and heartache of a group of women pilots who were all bout forgotten by the country they loved and served. As an aviation enthusiast who has always admired the pioneering women in the aviation industry, I was excited to find this book that tells the story of this iconic group of American aviation pioneers. As I read, I fell in love with the WASP and their determination to serve their country while pursuing their passion for flying and I loved discovering the "famous names" from aviation history who peopled their story - aviation and wartime heroes like Amelia Earhardt, Hap Arnold, Paul Tibbets and Chuck Yeager all of whom, in addition to the accomplishments that made each of them bright stars in the skies of American aviation, also played their roles in the founding an brief life of the WASP. The story of these outstanding women is one that desperately needed to be told so that their lives and sacrifice become a part of the American war story and their courage and determination can inspire many future generations of women, not only in the air and space industry, but in every walk of American life. The Women with Silver Wings should be required reading for every 20th Century American History, Women's Studies and Aviation History courses but, far beyond that, it's a book that everyone with even a passing interest in the last century should add to their "to be read" list, because in addition to being a well written history book, it's just a darned good read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I don't usually cry during nonfiction books. (Or any book, for that matter.) So when the last chapters of this book got to me, that meant something. The Women with Silver Wings follows the inception, enactment, and disbandment of the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) of WWII. But unlike some nonfiction about WWII that I've read, this book didn't just list names and places. These women felt painfully human. I cheered for their victories and mourned their losses. In addition to being amazingly I don't usually cry during nonfiction books. (Or any book, for that matter.) So when the last chapters of this book got to me, that meant something. The Women with Silver Wings follows the inception, enactment, and disbandment of the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) of WWII. But unlike some nonfiction about WWII that I've read, this book didn't just list names and places. These women felt painfully human. I cheered for their victories and mourned their losses. In addition to being amazingly researched, you can tell the care that Landdeck put into this book. While I seethed at times, especially in regards to the sexism and roadblocks the WASPs faced along the way, I enjoyed the book. (I do have to say it is sad how white the story is - though that is unfortunately the fault of the time period and the military and not of the author.) These forgotten heroes deserve their day. I hope that with this book, that day has come.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Apparently, it was a popular thing for young women of middle-class and upper-class to fly and earn their pilots’ licenses in the late 1930’s. The male pilots were reluctant to share the skies with the ladies, but it became necessary as World War II involvement needed more pilots. These ladies ferried new airplanes from factories to military fields. It wasn’t until President Jimmy Carter’s administration that the women received military benefits. The personal lives and aviation details of five wo Apparently, it was a popular thing for young women of middle-class and upper-class to fly and earn their pilots’ licenses in the late 1930’s. The male pilots were reluctant to share the skies with the ladies, but it became necessary as World War II involvement needed more pilots. These ladies ferried new airplanes from factories to military fields. It wasn’t until President Jimmy Carter’s administration that the women received military benefits. The personal lives and aviation details of five women are very well researched in this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shari Suarez

    History books particularly those about the military tend to downplay women's involvement. This book sets out to right those wrongs. The author set out to make everyone aware of the female pilots during WWII and how they helped in the war efforts. However they were never militarized and never received any benefits for their brave service. I found this book fascinating and the perfect accompaniment to Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar.

  16. 5 out of 5

    David

    The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Katherine Sharp Landdeck is a well-researched, well-written, factual account of the Women Airforce Service Pilots from the origins of the organization until it was finally disbanded. Since I read a lot of WWII history I was aware of some of the accomplishments of this group but the author has put it all together with first-hand accounts from the women who were there as members of this gr The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Katherine Sharp Landdeck is a well-researched, well-written, factual account of the Women Airforce Service Pilots from the origins of the organization until it was finally disbanded. Since I read a lot of WWII history I was aware of some of the accomplishments of this group but the author has put it all together with first-hand accounts from the women who were there as members of this group. From the woman flight instructor on a training flight with a student over the Hawaiian Islands to women who were active pilots for fun and for hire to those with the interest but no flying experience, they're all here. Primarily they were tasked with flying new planes from the factory to the front freeing up men pilots for combat duties. But they also performed other functions such as towing targets for gunnery practice or test pilots for new or modified aircraft. They loved what they did enough to put up with discrimination because they were women. After the war they made many attempts to get the recognition they deserved to be declared part of the US military during their service. The practical side of this quest was the years of service that would add to any government pensions and veterans' benefits to which they were well entitled. It was not and easy sell and failed many times in the US Congress. It wasn't until they got some powerful support from key members of congress, including conservative Barry Goldwater who helped lead the charge, that it finally passed. Sadly, most of them were unable to find work in the field of aviation, although some were able to work for a while as flight instructors. This has similarities with the experiences of the Tuskegee Airmen who after thousands of hours of flying and combat experience were not offered work as airline pilots and melted back into society sometimes as day laborers. An excellent book and highly recommended!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I love historical fiction and when I heard about this book and its rave reviews, I thought that was what I was getting. Turned out this is straight up history. Normally I find straight history duller than dishwater but this was well written and not as dry as some other historical works I have read. It helped that I served in the military at a time when it was still unusual for women to do so and so I have a natural interest in those that served before me and the obstacles they encountered. The WA I love historical fiction and when I heard about this book and its rave reviews, I thought that was what I was getting. Turned out this is straight up history. Normally I find straight history duller than dishwater but this was well written and not as dry as some other historical works I have read. It helped that I served in the military at a time when it was still unusual for women to do so and so I have a natural interest in those that served before me and the obstacles they encountered. The WASP’s were never really treated fairly in my estimation and had to fight for every bit of recognition they received. Although I have no affinity for flying (a pilot told me once it’s like driving a bus), it was still an inspiring story. The story focuses on two women who were instrumental in giving women the chance to fly for the military, Nancy Love and Jackie Cochran. They were rivals and couldn’t have been more different….both interesting characters. Don’t be intimidated by the length of this book…it’s really only around 300 pages and has some great photos that take up white space. The last 200 pages consists of Author’s Notes, Acknowledgements, In Memoriam, Bibliography and Index.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Claire O'Brien

    This was a really well written history of the female pilots in the US in WWII. The author used personal stories both to tell the overall history and to bring you inside their world. The everyday sexism is depressing, and I liked how the author showed wasn't just in the 1940s by highlighting the language used by politicians right up to the 1990s. The final section on the women's fight to gain recognition was a little long, but overall this was a well told story about some very impressive women.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dona

    Wonderful book about the gals who flew planes during WWII. Their courage to tow targets behind their planes for soldiers to practice shooting at them, ferried planes from factory to air bases, tested repaired planes for readiness to make room for the males to fly combat mission overseas. How they fought to have their service to their county recognized as valuable and count as military service. Well written book which was fun and easy to read, so that you wanted to know more.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marci

    I loved this real life story of the first American women pilots to fly for the U.S.A. I soaked in the many lives and those they touched along with future generations. It was truly inspiring to read about this true story of women Air Force Service Pilots of World War 2. I cried for all the struggles they went through to be recognized as the first women to fly for our country. What a struggle , but met head on with such fierce determination that spanned their lives! I smiled as my Air Force Marath I loved this real life story of the first American women pilots to fly for the U.S.A. I soaked in the many lives and those they touched along with future generations. It was truly inspiring to read about this true story of women Air Force Service Pilots of World War 2. I cried for all the struggles they went through to be recognized as the first women to fly for our country. What a struggle , but met head on with such fierce determination that spanned their lives! I smiled as my Air Force Marathon patch appeared and I used it as my bookmark. This book has so much to offer all who read it. It’s a book full of true stories of these courageous, inspiring first women pilots of WW2!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Clair Poletti

    I am constantly amazing at the untold stories of countless women throughout history, we stand on the shoulders of everyone that fought to do something different, to be more than they were expected to be. This Inspiring true story is a reminder of how far we’ve come and how important it is to keep going! A wonderful narrative history, well-written and very entertaining!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Nonfiction, well-researched book of the history of the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) of WWII who served their country without benefits, low pay (some for $1 per year) and often at the whim of political gain by others. Documented history of the first women pilots in the Airforce, which fought for recognition from the 1940's until Jimmy Carter finally gave them their due rights and benefits so many decades later. Like "Rosie the Riveter" they were disbanded when the men returned from the wa Nonfiction, well-researched book of the history of the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) of WWII who served their country without benefits, low pay (some for $1 per year) and often at the whim of political gain by others. Documented history of the first women pilots in the Airforce, which fought for recognition from the 1940's until Jimmy Carter finally gave them their due rights and benefits so many decades later. Like "Rosie the Riveter" they were disbanded when the men returned from the war to resume their jobs. Such an injustice to all those courageous, talented women! Fascinating book by Katherine Sharp Landdeck. Another favorite of 2020!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Martha Schwalbe

    An interesting book about some really interesting, adventurous, and courageous women who helped the US during World War II. I'd read about some of the women in this book in other books and I had a student whose grandmother served with the WASP.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    So well written & researched. The history of these incredible women was eye opening and frustrating on their behalf. So well written & researched. The history of these incredible women was eye opening and frustrating on their behalf.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pam Walker

    When Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Fort was a failed debutante hoping for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii. She and her student had just taken off when the bombs began to fall, and they barely made it back to ground that morning. When the US Army put out a call for women pilots to aid the war effort, Fort was one of the first to respond. She became one of 1,900 women from across the nation to converge on When Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Fort was a failed debutante hoping for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii. She and her student had just taken off when the bombs began to fall, and they barely made it back to ground that morning. When the US Army put out a call for women pilots to aid the war effort, Fort was one of the first to respond. She became one of 1,900 women from across the nation to converge on Sweetwater, Texas, to train for the U.S. Army Air Force in the hope of earning their silver wings. In The Women with Silver Wings, historian Kate Landdeck introduces us to these young women as they meet even-tempered, methodical Nancy Love and formidable, demanding visionary Jacqueline Cochran, the women who first envisioned sending American women into the air, and whose rivalry would define the WASP. For women like Cornelia, it was a chance to serve her country--and to prove that women aviators are just as skilled and able as men. The WASP could not serve in combat, but did train male pilots for service abroad and risked their lives to ferry bombers across the Atlantic. Cornelia herself would not survive the war. But even taking into account these tragic losses, Love and Cochran's social experiment seemed to be a resounding success--until, in 1943, with the tides of the war turning and fewer male pilots needed in Europe, Congress pulled out the rug from under the WASP. The program was disbanded, the women sent home. But the bonds they'd made during their time together never failed, and over the next few decades, they banded together to fight for recognition as the military veterans they were--and for their place in history. Beautifully written and painstakingly researched for over two decades, The Women with Silver Wings is an unforgettable description of these fearless, groundbreaking women and their long fight for justice. I was fortunate to get this as an ARC from NetGalley and thought it was an amazing story.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Katherine Sharp Landdeck's detailed account of the day-to-day experiences of the women who flew for the Army Air Forces and the long-term machinations and political maneuvering involved in the evolving alphabet soup of acronyms is riveting. Her extensive research included years of interviewing and becoming friends with dozens of the women; reading their letters, diaries, memoirs, and speeches; combing through newspaper archives, photos, accident reports, and government documents; and triple-chec Katherine Sharp Landdeck's detailed account of the day-to-day experiences of the women who flew for the Army Air Forces and the long-term machinations and political maneuvering involved in the evolving alphabet soup of acronyms is riveting. Her extensive research included years of interviewing and becoming friends with dozens of the women; reading their letters, diaries, memoirs, and speeches; combing through newspaper archives, photos, accident reports, and government documents; and triple-checking everything. My husband is an air force officer and military history buff, so I enjoyed the opportunity to read about one of his favorite subjects but from a female perspective. It's endlessly astonishing to me how sexist (and racist) beliefs can persist when they are so demonstrably false and utterly ridiculous. Still more astonishing is that they persisted during WWII when sheer practicality should have rendered them moot: women not only could fly anything and everything, they NEEDED to do so in order to maximize the number of men able to fight. (Never mind that women could have also done an excellent job of fighting.) Landdeck's meticulously researched "The Women with Silver Wings" brings this absurdity into sharp focus. Since I'm reading an advance reader's edition (ARC), the endnotes haven't yet been numbered, nor are they marked within the text, but once that happens for the final published version, they will be beneficial, although in some cases it would be nicer if they were footnotes and more easily read without flipping back and forth. Also, the extensive number of women featured in the book makes me wish for some sort of Cast of Characters list with a sentence or two to remind me who's who & has which background. But that's a minor quibble in an otherwise fascinating book. Many thanks to Bookbrowse.com and the publisher for the ARC they sent me in exchange for my honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    Historian Katherine Sharp Landdeck introduces us to Nancy Love and Jackie Cochran, who made it their mission to persuade the powers-that-be to allow female pilots to help with the war effort. Despite considerable opposition, not only from their families, from military brass and politicians, but also from male pilots, these two women began programs that would send American women into the air. While ferrying planes from production lines to bases where the male pilots would take them into combat, t Historian Katherine Sharp Landdeck introduces us to Nancy Love and Jackie Cochran, who made it their mission to persuade the powers-that-be to allow female pilots to help with the war effort. Despite considerable opposition, not only from their families, from military brass and politicians, but also from male pilots, these two women began programs that would send American women into the air. While ferrying planes from production lines to bases where the male pilots would take them into combat, the women also learned how to fly the new planes, trained male pilots on those planes, the women wanted to prove that female aviators were just as skilled and able as the men. Our entire family has always been drawn to the history of aviation, even before our son took flight lessons and eventually became a pilot for the US Air Force. Add to that my efforts to learn more about the women behind the scenes, the women who don't get the attention – and credit, in many cases – that men do who performed the same jobs, and this book sounded right up my alley. It was a fascinating read, although the back-and-forth between the wartime events and the women's backstories, coupled with the alternating sections about Nancy and Jackie, felt a little disjointed. Once I was able to put myself into the right perspective and storyline, though, I was amazed at these ladies' perseverance and determination, not to mention the sacrifices made by so many of them. I have already recommended this book to several other readers who enjoy non-fiction historical accounts like this, and will continue to do so. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kim McGee

    The latest installment in uncovering the stories of the unsung heroes of WWII. When all the men had gone to war in Europe there weren't enough of them left at home to fly transport planes, test new planes or fly them to train new pilots so a brave bold group was formed to handle the load - the W.A.S.P. The program was born out of need but also a desire in these women to fly and from day one they had a battle on their hands. They would need special treatment, weren't strong enough, would just wan The latest installment in uncovering the stories of the unsung heroes of WWII. When all the men had gone to war in Europe there weren't enough of them left at home to fly transport planes, test new planes or fly them to train new pilots so a brave bold group was formed to handle the load - the W.A.S.P. The program was born out of need but also a desire in these women to fly and from day one they had a battle on their hands. They would need special treatment, weren't strong enough, would just want to find a man and have babies - the list went on and on. Thankfully, they did have some people fighting for them and they soon outperformed and took on any task without complaint. At the end of the war the program was scrapped and everyone was told to disband and return to civilian life without honors. Their service would not be recognized for many years. The author was able to interview many of these ladies in person and got a true accounting of their life and the important service they performed for our country in its time of need. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I'm not normally a big nonfiction reader, but I absolutely loved this book. I was drawn in instantly to the story of American women pilots during WWII. I loved learning about the adventurous spirit of the women and was rooting for them in the same way I root for characters in novels. Katherine Sharp Landdeck does an amazing job bringing these women's story out of the shadows of historical obscurity and making the reader fall in love with their spirit and pluck. The only thing that drops it down I'm not normally a big nonfiction reader, but I absolutely loved this book. I was drawn in instantly to the story of American women pilots during WWII. I loved learning about the adventurous spirit of the women and was rooting for them in the same way I root for characters in novels. Katherine Sharp Landdeck does an amazing job bringing these women's story out of the shadows of historical obscurity and making the reader fall in love with their spirit and pluck. The only thing that drops it down to 4 stars for me is that it started to feel a little draggy at the end, when Landdeck was talking about the women's fight in their later years for recognition. I guess it's just not as exciting to read about women giving testimony in Congress as it is to lose yourself in their airborne exploits! Note: I received a pre-publication copy of this book from the publisher. However, the opinions expressed in this review are wholly my own.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. The Women with Silver Wings is a well written and true history of the female Airforce service pilots (WASPs/WAFS) serving during WW2. Released 21st April 2020 by Crown Publishing, it's 448 pages and available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is a meticul Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. The Women with Silver Wings is a well written and true history of the female Airforce service pilots (WASPs/WAFS) serving during WW2. Released 21st April 2020 by Crown Publishing, it's 448 pages and available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is a meticulously researched and annotated history of the WASPs which includes photographs and documents. As a work of nonfiction, I found it readable and worthwhile. The author is adept at bringing the stories of the women to life and I found these tantalizing glimpses of their lives before and after their service to the war effort absolutely riveting. I hadn't heard much about what their service entailed or how it took until 1977 for most of them to be recognized and awarded the status their service deserved. In addition to the meticulous research and writing, the book is comprehensively annotated with reference notes and documents for further reading. Many of the notes have links to web resources for more information. This would make a superlative selection for relevant classroom study in history or allied subjects including gender studies and women's history. I found the in memoriam list of the names of the 38 women who lost their lives in service very touching. It was a nice addition to the book. Five stars. Well worth a look. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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