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Sisters in Arms (Kindle)

WWII Aviation World War Two Aviation Women of History

By Helen Page Schrader
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
File Size: 21.8 MB (.prc)
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9781473808614
eBook Released: 1st August 2007


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During World War II, a few, carefully selected women in the US and the UK were briefly given the unprecedented opportunity to fly military aircraft. Yet the story of these pioneer women pilots is made even more intriguing by the fact that, despite many notable similarities in the utilisation and organisation of the women in their respective countries, they experienced radically different fates. Throughout the war, the contribution of the women of the British ATA to the war effort was recognized and praised both from official quarters and in the press. By contrast, the American WASPs were first glamorized and made into Hollywood stars - and then subjected to a slander campaign. What accounts for this dramatic difference in the treatment of women pilots doing essentially the same job? This book seeks to answer these questions. The women who participated in the ATA and WASP have been allowed to speak for themselves. The story these women have to tell is exciting and intriguing.

My personal view is that the role of women in the Second World War is under-represented in published form, so the reprint of this book is an important step in addressing this omission. As the subtitle states, this book covers the women from the United States and the United Kingdom who were trained and then flew military aircraft across the world.

The author is the holder of a PhD in History, so to be expected, the book is researched well, and provided with plenty of references. However, the author is also a novelist so the text has a flow about it, which makes it easy and enjoyable to read. The book is divided into two parts and comprises fourteen chapters, and a set of conclusions. I found it fascinating as both a work on military history and social history.

The book contains several personal accounts as well as, some of the context into which these women came in order to learn to fly, and their achievements in terms of flying these aircraft on non-operational sorties. There are some photographs included in the middle of the book that are relevant to the subject. I enjoyed this book immensely, and highly recommend it.

British Military History

Helena Page Schrader writes a comprehensive history of the women pilots who flew during World War Two in her book Sisters in Arms. She aims to ascertain how and why there were so many differences between the British and American services and the impact this had on the women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and why one attracted praise and the other criticism.
Quotes, stories and interviews with some of the pilots are included as well as plenty of photographs but unfortunately very few pilots are named. There are extensive notes, too. Finally, the conclusion is not to be missed! Will you agree; has she answered the questions? I recommend you read the book to find out!

Friends of the National Archives
 Helen Page Schrader
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