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Our Mothers' War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  342 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
"Our women are serving actively in many ways in this war, and they are doing a grand job on both the fighting front and the home front."

-- Eleanor Roosevelt, 1944

Our Mothers' War is a stunning and unprecedented portrait of women during World War II, a war that forever transformed the way women participate in American society.

Never before has the vast range of American wome
ebook, 464 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Free Press (first published May 4th 2004)
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Nov 26, 2007 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I idly picked up this book from a remainder table in an out- of- the- way, dusty shopping arcade in a small coastal North Carolina town. I wasn't expecting much. I was wrong. Once I started reading, I stopped only for meals, sleep, and work. I got up at 2am one night to read some more. These are stories of World War II that you don't know, haven't thought to ask about, but they are the stories of half the population of America living during those years. Emily Yellin writes about mothers, wives, ...more
One would expect a book of this ilk to tell about homemaking under the strictures of rationing, Rosie the Riveter, military nurses, maybe even the USO entertainers-- but THIS book gives credit to EVERY womanly experience on the WWII homefront, even a few you might not have thought about. Volunteers, women of color, spies, lesbians, professionals (including journalists and baseball players) prostitutes and camp followers-- and a few more!

Because of the breadth of information, "Our Mother's War" w
Mar 13, 2015 Kelsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The woman and their roles in the making of America including their important roles in World War 2 are not something one can easily find a book to read about. For this reason I was glad to have ran across this History book written by Emily Yellin who told the stories of these woman in a way that wasn't as if I was reading from a text book. This novel was told with many facts and personal stories, including letters that were written by woman that had been taking place during World War 2. It told a ...more
Mar 05, 2015 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories of the sacrifices made by women during WWII are interesting and thought provoking. WWII caused a shift in the thinking about what women could do. From Rosie the Riveter, to the Marines, to the Army, women performed jobs that were always men's jobs. (And many others, too!) It was amazing to read of the prejudice that some faced, and yet they persevered. Others felt only support. But these women were exposed to a different world -- as well as other countries or parts of the U.S. They ...more
Linnea Berge
Jul 28, 2009 Linnea Berge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
my own life time history
Shonna Froebel
Dec 16, 2012 Shonna Froebel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Emily Yellin was inspired to write this book after finding letters and other papers relating to her own mother's war experience. Yellin found these items when clearing up after her mother died in 1999. She began wondering about the roles that women played in the war and did some serious research.
The book is divided into several sections, each on a different aspect or role of women's lives during that period.
She included factory workers, military personnel, auxiliary workers, entertainers, nurses
overall, i really enjoyed this book. it was an excellent look into women in world war ii, and i admit, there's a lot more to "women in ww2" than i thought there would be. the author really doesn't pull any punches - she tells you about any and all women who participated in any way in the war or wartime, for good or bad.

the fact that the author describes the experiences of so many different types of women can be a little daunting - there's almost too many stories and too much information for her
Ellen W.
Apr 11, 2016 Ellen W. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been repeating information gleaned from this book since I started it. I thoroughly enjoyed it. "Did you know. . .?" will be a constant conversation starter after you read the chapters devoted to every station a woman during the WWII years might have held be it as an entertainer, politician, student, prostitute, spy, reporter, etc. World War II changed everything. If you are a woman, read this book and find out how it impacted your life.
Name Wendy
May 05, 2014 Name Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I likes this book because I like ww2 history. It openness my eyes to the war years through the testimonies of women . There are chapters on women in the military, Jewish women, nurses, chinese ancestry Americans, wives of researchers at Los alamos , Red Cross volunteers, mothers of soldiers , etc. I was struck by how different the experiences were for minority women and wasps. Very readable and full of first person accounts as well as supportive statistics .
May 27, 2016 Karen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
A look at women of #WWII inclusive of wives, mothers, WACs and WAVES, volunteers, propaganda workers, Land Army, African-American, Japanese-American, Jewish-American, politicians, journalists, prostitutes, unwed mothers, lesbians, and more. Most everyone will find their mother's role somewhere in this book. #history #wwii
Karen Huntsberger
This book does an amazing job of describing what all kinds of women, from all walks of life, were doing during WWII. It was very compelling - I could barely put it down. It is hard to find books written specifically about women's roles in WWII and I was thrilled to find such a well thought out, well researched book.
Mar 16, 2015 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned so much about how many different jobs women in America provided during World War II.
No wonder women had a hard time going back home after the war.
The most interesting were the African American women who asked to be part of the Army and straightened out the mail system in Europe for our Armed Forces.
Jan 12, 2010 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic! This exploration of the US women's experience of WW II was fantastic. The author generously sprinkled letters and interviews throughout the book which brought the narrative to life. Yellin explores what women went through beyond going to work--we all know about that. She explains the impact that the war had on relationships as well as how going to work effected the women. She speaks to the African-American woman's experience as well as the women incarcerated in the Japanese-American i ...more
Sep 16, 2014 Bev rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I can stress enough how much of an assett this book is to historians of the era. It covers a broad range of responsibilities that women took over during WWII. From the everyday mundane to the far reaching spy networks overseas. The interviews with several prominent females of the years covering the war make it a great resource for research. What started as curiosity became an obsession. Each category represented has alot of clear information as well as information on where to start ...more
Dec 08, 2015 Kari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wsu, his-398
I only read chapter 2: Soldiers without Guns, but it was excellent and I look forward to getting to the rest of the book!
Jan 03, 2015 Kassie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the accounts were well written, but some were hard to follow.
May 31, 2008 Darcy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My problem with this book is that is is too broad. Instead of focusing on a limited set of women's roles during WWII, the author chose to include every role a woman fulfilled in the war effort. As a result, this book read more like someone's term paper instead of a complete book.

I did enjoy the chapters on whores and the women involved in the Los Alamos project who either helped build the bomb or played a supporting role in the community. Someone should write a book just about these women. Oh, a
Jul 11, 2013 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I found this book very interesting and thought-provoking. However, at times it got a little verbose and jumpy. The author included a lot of excerpts from letters and first-person accounts which I loved, but at times I would read letter after letter after letter with very short and awkward transitions between them, and it would start to feel overwhelming.

Still, I loved the look into the lives of women during WWII and the ways they were fighting the world war as well as their own war for
Aug 01, 2007 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice collection of personal experiences from women who were pilots, soldiers, scientists, actresses, welders, musicians, mothers, wives, spies, and more during "the Big One." The personal approach makes this a pretty absorbing read. Makes a great introduction to the breadth of women's experiences during the Second World War--from Appalchian women moving to industrial towns to African-American women struggling with racial prejudice in the Army, it has a lot of ground to cover. My students really ...more
A little boring at times, but overall, a fascinating look at the role(s) of women during WWII. I learned a lot. My favorite chapters related to the roles of African-American Women, Japanese Americans, the nurses who volunteered for service as opposed to the men who were drafted and the women who were in the OSS (a precursor to the CIA) and OWI. Do you know what famous woman was a valued member of the OSS? Check out this book to find the answer!

Note: This was our Janaury 2011 book discussion book
Sep 29, 2014 Camilla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fun to read and informative. I am a history buff, but there was lots of information in this book that I hadn't heard of before. It was well written and interesting, with lots of personal anecdotes from first-person accounts.
May 24, 2009 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great writing by emily yellin and testimonies by the real women. Can't to read the chapter on the baseball players. League of Our Own one of my favorite movies.

I really enjoyed learning more about all of the different roles that women played during WWII. I had never heard of Axis Sally before reading this book. I am tempted to buy this to add to my bookshelves so I may revisit it from time to time.
May 28, 2008 Selena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WWII and women's history buffs
Great book if you love women's history or the WWII history in general. I mean, I always knew women took over men's jobs stateside and were Red Cross girls but, there was so much more that they did and had to endure. This book wasn't preachy (like, Power to Women Yo! They faught too!) - it was a light historical account of all the different roles women played -good and bad- in WWII.
Feb 21, 2011 Step rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An illuminating peek into the lives of American women during WWII, and basically everything I could want in a book. Well-researched and compelling writing make for an un-put-downable book that allows us to look back into our past and see the strength and will these women had, and how hard they fought - both for the war, and for their right to be there. An amazing read.
Terry Parker
Dec 11, 2012 Terry Parker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty indepth book - very interesting in all aspects of who did what and where they were. How Marshall and others fought to give women rights to be in combat zones, as well as all the women in the war zones that performed "other duties".

I liked the part especially about the development of the Women's Army Corps (WACs, because my mom was part of them.

Good book.
Dec 27, 2015 Carla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
Started out slow but as my friend, Sara said, it did get more interesting. We need to be so grateful to our Moms and Grandmothers for Women's liberation definitely started in the 40's during the War. And all those forwards about the 40's and 50's being a simpler, better time, need to read this book.
Apr 27, 2010 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting look at the roles women played during World War Two. I was particularly fascinated by the WACs and WASPs, but Yellin doesn't leave anyone out, from actresses to nurses to prostitutes. If you like women's history, and World War II history, this is a must-read.
Lily Jones
May 15, 2016 Lily Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has so many perspectives that you never get to hear about in school and that is so important. Super interesting and great read!
Aug 08, 2013 Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am pretty obsessed with this book. It's a great intro to the various roles women played in the US in WWII. There are obvious gaps but you at least get the stories of some women in their own words, which frankly I don't see in too many other books on the era.
Oct 19, 2015 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
Very thorough look at womens’ role in WWII, albeit through a somewhat subjective lense. Didn’t finish all the way, as the info toward the end I’d already read in a previous book, but overall, very diverse and informative content.
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