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Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue

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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  385 ratings  ·  107 reviews
A 2012 VOYANonfiction Honor List selection



Noor Inayat Khan was the first female radio operator sent into occupied France and transferred crucial messages. Johtje Vos, a Dutch housewife, hid Jews in her home and repeatedly outsmarted the Gestapo. Law student Hannie Schaft became involved in the most dangerous resistance work--sabotage, weapons transference, and assassinatio
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Chicago Review Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Luck of the Weissensteiners by Christoph FischerThe Hiding Place by Corrie ten BoomNight by Elie Wiesel
A WWII Reading List
177th out of 196 books — 88 voters
Red Is the Color Of... by Tiffany HaistenThe Paper Bag Princess by Robert MunschOde to Icky by Maranda RussellNot All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane YolenElla Sarah Gets Dressed by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Children's picture books with strong females
69th out of 109 books — 70 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Chris
Disclaimer: Kathryn Atwood is a Goodreads friend. I've never met her in real life, and I brought this book. But she is a Goodreads Friend (was before this book was published). Just so you know.


Billed as a young adult history book, Atwood's Women Heroes of World War II can easily be read by people of all ages. This is great because it is a book that helps to fill two large gaps in World War II history.

The first gap is that of the helpers or rescuers of Jews in World War II. This is a gap, I can h
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James L.
I went into Kathryn Atwood’s Women Heroes of World War II hoping the experience would leave me with the same fascination I experienced after watching HBO’s excellent series Band of Brothers. While the book does deliver in that regard, in some ways I feel like I got so much more.

Atwood paints vivid stills of her twenty-six heroines, offering up generally their most significant wartime contributions as well as fascinating peeks into each woman’s personality. Perhaps my favorite profile is that of
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Ed
I found this a marvelous source of really gripping narratives about the women who resisted the Nazis. It leaves me profoundly heartened by the ability of the 26 women included to do life saving good in the face of such profound evil. It is the latter that I find so hard to understand, especially what might be called creative evil: going out of one's way to do harm to others. These women coped with that without despair and lived and died saving others.

The book has great photos of the heroes and a
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Alex Baugh
In Women Heroes of World War II, Kathryn Atwood has written a very moving account of 26 strong, courageous women who stood up to the Nazi scourge at great risk to their own lives. Some joined underground resistance movements in Nazi-occupied countries, others rescued Jews and Allied soldiers caught behind enemy lines or worked as spies, mingling with the enemy to gather useful information. And all of their stories are amazing.


In Poland, 19-year-old Irene Gut worked for a high ranking German off
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Doreen
Apr 22, 2012 Doreen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all women, students, people interested in covert activities in WWII
Recommended to Doreen by: it was on a Goodreads List
I would love to see this book used in classrooms. It does read like a textbook...a very, well-written one! The stories for each hero are concise and delivered in a direct, explanatory manner. In my opinion, this is how history should be taught in our schools; in a way that is informative and understandable for students. It's a great introduction for twelve or thirteen year olds, to be exposed to non-military efforts against the Nazi's in WWII. For those in high school, the short biographies can ...more
Pat

As a World War II history buff, I was intrigued to find a book that centers on the role of women. These "26 Stories of espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue" do not disappoint. Atwood details the heroic exploits of women from all over Europe: Germany, Poland, France, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, and Great Britain, as well as the United States. Whether famous entertainers like Josephine Baker and Marlene Dietrich or simply ordinary wives, students, teachers, these women step up to take their
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Rupert Colley
No one knows how they will react in a situation of utmost peril. Fortunately, for most of us, we will never have to face that ultimate test of one's deepest resolve. None of the 26 heroines in Kathryn Attwood's new book, Women Heroes of World War Two, thought of themselves as heroes but their actions beggar belief. For the greater good they defied or tried to defy the evils of Nazism, each trying in her own, individual way to throw a small spanner into the giant machine that was Hitler's Germany ...more
Therese
Thank you to the Author, Kathryn Atwood, for sending our school a copy of her book!! Not finished yet but want to say it is excellent, I especially like the links to websites she includes on the end page of the biographies so you can find out more about these courageous and selfless women.

This is a well-researched and presented book, detailing war experiences in lives that history generally tends to exclude or trivialize. Of especial note is the age of some of these "women"; so many of them were
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Kaethe
Mar 27, 2013 Kaethe marked it as abandoned
This isn't a book that lends itself to sitting down and reading straight through. The individual stories start to seem too similar: clever girls, touched by the plight of others, finding a way to hide or briefly shelter Jews on an underground railroad, finding their strength in their faith. With Schindler's List you get more ambiguity, more real personality. While it would be useful to find a few pointers that would show us all how to remain moral in a horrifying world, these stories are too abb ...more
Christine
I recieved a signed copy of this from a Goodread giveaway. (Thank you Katherine for sending it all the way to the UK for me!)
I was immediately pleased when I opened the book, to find that it was split into sections focusing on different countries. Every country has a different history and experience of WWII so I was glad to see that this book gives a broad spread of stories. Each chapter starts with a very useful and informative introduction to the role the particular country had in the war, and
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Robert
Women Heroes of World War II tells 26 different stories of women involved in espionage, sabotage, resistance, and rescue before and during World War II. These women came from all different socioeconomic backgrounds, ages, and countries but each of them were fluent in the language of doing the right thing. Their stories are often the definition of bravery as they all put their lives on the line countless times in order to defeat the Axis Powers. Some of them even made the ultimate sacrifice in th ...more
Masanobu
I read this in March to celebrate Women's History Month, but real life and my own laziness have delayed this review. World War II is a topic that I never get tired of exploring, so this title instantly caught my eye when I saw it on my library's WHM display. I've read quite a bit about the role of women on the Home Front, but was completely clueless about their role on the actual frontline. Women Heroes of World War II filled that gap nicely.

This short non-fiction book is divided in sections, gr
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Natalie
What a wonderful book.

In it Kathryn J. Atwood describes the lives and doings of "ordinary" women in extraordinary times. During WWII they did not let the patriarchal society send them back to their kitchens, whilst their brothers, husbands or fathers fought for their freedom. They simply (in their eyes) went out to do, what is self-evident for us today. To be aloud to fight for what we believe in and love. In the best possible way we can.

Some with wits, some with brilliant minds and deductions
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Anna
When I was younger, I (and still do on occasion) loved to read the Girls to the Rescue series by Bruce Lansky. They were legends, fables and true stories about girls. Well, I liked this book just as much.
The 26 women featured were the following; Sophie Scholl, Maria von Maltzan, Irene Gut, Irena Sendler, Stefania Podgorska, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, Andrée Virot, Josephine Baker, Magda Trocmé, Diet Eman, Hannie Schaft, Johtje Vos, Corrie ten Boom, Andrée de Jongh, Hortense Daman, Fernande Keufge
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Carol
Although this is classified as Young Adult or Juvenile, Atwood relates stories that are likely so unknown that anyone would be fascinated by this book. Because it is aimed primarily at younger readers, Atwood takes time to explain some of the main concepts and names from World War II. Again, adults might find this helpful -- there is likely a name or idea you have heard but could not define. For example, I have heard of Yad Vashem, but now I know exactly what it is.

Most of the heroines of Atwood
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Rick Roche
In her new collective biography, Kathryn Atwood recounts the heroic actions of women in the European theater of battle of World War II. Each quick-reading story profiles a woman who decided that surviving the war was insufficient and that active opposition to Nazi troops and agents was necessary to overthrow the menace of Hitler's regime. Some wrote and distributed anti-Nazi literature, others sheltered Jews and Allied soldiers, and still others became spies and saboteurs. All endangered their o ...more
Lois
As Georges Loustaunau-Lacau, owner of the magazine L’ordre national remarked to Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, when asking her to organize a massive French spy network that later came to be known as Noah’s Ark, “Who will ever suspect a woman?” In fact, such underestimation of women’s ability helped to bring down the Nazi regime, as, especially at the start of World War II, the fascist supremacists overlooked what damage women could cause to their overwhelming militaristic might. That women made a maj ...more
Kate
What a great book!

Kathryn Atwood's Women Heroes of World War II tells the stories of 26 spies, resisters, rescuers, nurses and performers and celebrates the role that women from all over Europe and America played in the defeat of the Third Reich. Atwood brings these womens' stories to life by providing tales of their bravery and intelligence but also putting their work in the greater context of the war. The book is aimed at younger readers but there is much for older readers here too, and Atwoo
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Joan Reeves
Every Woman Needs To Read This Book

Today I'm reviewing a book that left me choked with awe, sadness, admiration, and gratitude. I urge you to read Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue by Kathryn J. Atwood.

About The Book

The stories of these women who stood up for right against tyranny are organized by country. Young girls, teenagers, and women risked their lives to fight the Nazis in World War II. In everything they did, they knew that their live
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Ellen
Terrific stories and resource for girls (and boys) looking for heroic role models. Many stories are told of male triumphs in the face of adversity during wars but here are 26 stories about women from an assortment of European countries and the US who in WWII did their very best to help stave off the horror of fighting Hitler's armies and defying his Aryan policies. They do humanity proud despite some who would say that they just had to do what they did, that it cannot be construed as heroic and ...more
Annabel
The strength of the Nazi regime was in essence based on fear and mistrust among the people. But not everyone allowed that fear to predominate. A number of people in the occupied areas had the courage to turn themselves against the Nazis, either individually or by joining a group. They offered resistance in several manners, by distributing illegal leaflets, rescuing Jews, sabotage, or passing on information to the allies. Work that was certainly not without danger, it required guts. Most of the m ...more
Samantha S.
The "Women Heroes" series is a breath of fresh air from modern feminism. The book profiles courageous women (and girls!) from WWII who refused to sit around and saved thousands of lives in the process. I loved all of the stories, especially the Holocaust rescue ones. I learned a lot from this book, and the extra resources at the end of each chapter make it even better. I have seen a few great movies and read a lot of inspiring memoirs thanks to this! I also appreciate the cover - I love Irene Gu ...more
Grace
This book was very empowering, considering I am a girl as well. These brave women did not let vicious stereotypes about their gender get them down. They fought for their rights while their husbands were in war. The author wanted to inform women and men about the wonderful events during these 26 stories. This was the book's purpose. It's theme was that women can do anything. We have to fight for what's right, even if is against society. This book was written with the style of narration. My opinio ...more
Jessica (booneybear)
Sometimes it takes a book like this to make me realize the strength and courage of ordinary people in times of horrible crisis. The women in this book risked life and limb to help people in need.

The book is written for a younger audience but at the end of each little story for each woman there is a box letting the reader know where to get more information on each of these woman heros which I thought was fabulous seeing that each story was a very brief snippet of the woman. I found that I wanted
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Lisa
I love history and one of my favorite periods is WW II. I also love to learn about how women impacted the period. This book contains "26 stories of espionage, sabotage, resistance,and rescue." (from the front cover) It was exciting to read of everyday women like myself who performed extraordinary feats during the last World War. I highly recommend it!
Tara Chevrestt
Not all the heroes of WWII were in the trenches, some were behind the lines and they were women.

This book talks about 26 of those women. Women who hid Jews right in Nazis' basements, women who were radio operators, women were underwent torture, were purposely infected with gangrene, sterilized, women who smuggled fake papers, tried to save sick Jewish kids from ghettos, transported bombs in the bicycles, parachuted into enemy territory... I could mention each one, but the review would be as long
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Jessica
This book is amazing from beginning to end. Usually when you read about WW2 it’s mostly brutal and hard to finish. This book talked about the realities of WW2 but also of all the rescues of hidden Jews (and US and British troops) brought to safety by these amazing women and there war efforts. This was a beautiful book, with some of the strongest female characters in history.
Christa
I loved this book!!!!! I highly recommend it to anyone who loves hearing about amazing people from during WWII. These women are incredible and I hope that I can be as selfless and brave as they all were. This has now become one of my bookshelf staples that I will read and re-read over and over again. Very well written and easy to read.
Kathyanngallagher
"Women Heroes of World War II" is written very well. 26 stories of women that took matters into their own hands and helped resist an incomprehensible power that wanted to rule this world. I am forever amazed at the risks, sacrifice and unwavering determination these great women made and had.
Kathryn
A great introduction to some amazing women heroes of World War II. It covers some well known women like Sophie Scholl and Corrie Ten Boom, but mostly it was stories and women I had never heard of before. I finished it feeling so grateful and inspired to do more.
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