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Wings: A Novel of World War II Flygirls

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  115 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Based on the true World War II stories of America’s first female military pilots, this historic novel follows the story of a young woman from a dirt-poor farm family. Sally Ketchum has little chance of bettering her life until a mysterious barnstormer named Tex teaches her to fly and to dare to love. But when Tex dies in a freak accident, Sally must make her own way in the ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by McBooks Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Tara Chevrestt
This novel contains a colorful cast of characters. The heroine is Sally. She's both tough and frightened. She's a terrific pilot, but she carries some baggage: a dead boyfriend and an abusive father. Thus, she has some confidence issues.

She meets up with other WASP trainees at Avenger, Twila, Geri, and Dixie. Each one of these women has things you like and don't like about her. Twila is strange, but has some good philosophies. Geri is a spoiled rich girl, but she can fly. Dixie.... oh my. This
I'm a staunch advocate of women's rights, as is well-known about me. And, one of my favorite things to read about, in addition to stories having to do with strong women role-models, is WWII-centered novels. This book, then, was a request I quickly made to review, and I've been pleasantly rewarded by a fantastic story, written by a deliberate and invested author.

I say that Mr. Friedrich is invested because you can tell from his writing that he strongly supports women pilots, and has a sense of th
For lovers of light historical fiction, this book is as refreshing as a quick flight over the plains of Texas on a hot summer day. Friedrich did an admirable job in introducing his readers to this little known period of U.S. military history when civilian women pilots were recruited to ferry cargo, personnel and planes around the country during World War II in the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots program.

Follow Sally Ketchum, who hails from a poor dirt farm in East Texas, as she pursues her drea
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
In the 1940s, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program was started to free up male pilots so they could fly in combat, and women pilots were given Army flight training to do routine, non-combat flying jobs, like hauling cargo, towing targets for live artillery training, and transporting planes. I jumped at this novel because I love, love learning about how women fare during wartime and I have so admired the WASPs (who shamefully were only recognized in 2009 for their war efforts).

It's c
Terri Epp
This is my first reads review.

I really enjoyed Karl Friedrich's debut novel. Tbe language is clear and conscise and keeps the reader enthralled until the end.

Sally Ketchum is the main character, a poor farm girl, who meets Tex and learns to fly. After tragedy occurs in Sally's life, she learns she has been accepted into the military's program called WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilots). The novel explores the difficulties in a male dominated military and political landscape and the women who st
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
Sally snatched the sheet from Dixie's fingers. Typed boldly across the top were the words, "An Overview Of Facts For Personnel Considering Entering WASP Training." Her mouth turned dry. By mid-page, her tongue had become cotton.

"train in military aircraft...the same number of training hours as male pilots...learn navigation and instrument flying...station at a military airfield following bombers/or pursuit aircraft to wherever ordered within the contiguous United States...base p
C Bowen
Mar 31, 2011 C Bowen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone!
I loved it & wrote the following review of it for the paper I edit, Focus Newspaper, which is
online at

Sally Ketchum, the young heroine of Karl Friedrich’s fine debut novel, Wings: A Novel of World War II Flygirls, has a lot to overcome. By the end of the first chapter the list is short and painful: an abusive, deprived, motherless childhood on a farm in East Texas, and the endless heartache of losing her true love in a blazing plane crash which she survives.

Though Fri
While not the smoothest writing or adventurous plot, I enjoyed this book because of the subject matter, the WASP - or Women Airforce Service Pilots who were part of the US Army during WWII. It was a good look into their lives and situation, and more importantly, the prejudices against them. Many men did NOT want women flying airplanes! They endured everything from sabotaged airplanes to towing target planes for the mens' live target practice.(!!) with unequal pay, no military benefits, and no fu ...more
3/30/11 Just won this through first-reads!

While I enjoyed learning more about the often-overlooked WASP program, I found this novel a bit on the amateur side, particularly in regards to dialogue. I was not surprised to learn that author Karl Friedrich's background is in newspapers and advertising, because the best parts of Wings are those that inform and persuade about life as a WASP, rather than character and plot development.
Connie N.
This is a fascinating novel based on the WASP program of World War II when women civilians were trained to fly aircraft for the war effort, freeing up men for combat. The women were transport the aircraft to locations where they could be flown overseas where needed. The story is a fictional look at a training base in Texas, following several very different women and their reasons for joinig this effort. What was so frustrating about this book was the prevailing attitude at the time, both of men ...more
Absolutely loved this book, based on the history of WASP, a great read of a female pilot's struggle against prejudice and pursue her love of flying.
Yay, First reads win! :)

This book was just okay for me. I really liked learning more about WASP, and all of the crap that the women had to go through, but I hardly liked any of the characters, especially the main character, Sally. She's hostile, untrusting, and her moods and feeling seem to change all the time, towards Bayard especially. He'd say or do the littlest thing and she'd go from being swoony over him to wanting to knock his lights out. Dixie was amusing sometimes, but she also annoyed

Bland farm life in East Texas has nearly run Sally Ketchum into the ground. With a missing mother and a drunk father, there isn’t a lot to live for. There isn’t, at least, until the day Tex arrives and takes her flying. The day she sails up into the heavens, is the day that she knows that there’s more to life than the worn out pastures she’s always known. She and Tex fall in love and climb the skies, barnstorming their way through life, until tragedy leave
The history of Womens Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS) is heavily examined in this excellent novel, by Karl Friedrich.

The main character is Sally Ketchum, who joined the WASPS program in order to better herself, yet faced flack from the male pilots who didn't believe women belonged in a cockpit. She was belittled for even dreaming she could succeed. All the women involved in the novel were belittled, and sexism played a major role within the pages.

From the first page to the last page, I could not
Amy Meyer
Wings by Karl Friedrich

Publisher: McBooks Press
Published Date: April 4, 2011
ISBN: 978-1590135709
Pages : 340
Genre: Non-Fiction; Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Book Summary: Sally Ketchum comes from dirt-poor farm folk. She has little chance of bettering her life until a mysterious barnstormer named Tex teaches her to fly—and becomes the first person worthy of her love. But Tex dies in a freak accident, leaving Sally to make her own way in the world. She enrolls in the U.S. military’s Wome
Zohar -
Wings: A Novel of World War II Flygirls by Karl Friedrich is a historical fiction book about the Women Airforce Service Pilot or WASP. The WASP were part of the US Army, before the Air Force became its own entity.

Sally Ketchum came from a poor family of dirt farmers, her mundane life were changed forever once she met a Tex, a pilot who makes his living barnstorming. However Tex died in an accident and Sally enrolls in the Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) program.

At the school, known as Avenge
Cheryl A
Sally Ketchum escapes her hard scrabble life in East Texas with her boyfriend, barnstormer Tex. When tragedy strikes, Sally is forced to return home to her drunk father and worn-out farm. When a letter from the WASP's reaches her, she makes her way to Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas where she will learn to fly the Army's planes in order to ferry them across the country, freeing up male pilots for duty on the front. Sally finally feels that see has found her place in the world - she's a damn f ...more
Women, airplanes and war are the premise for Karl Friedrich’s WINGS: A NOVEL OF WORLD WAR II FLYGIRLS, which could have been subtitled “sassy skirts take on D.C. bureaucrats for the chance to fly military aircraft for the war effort.” Friedrich’s lead character, Sally Ketchum is a somewhat clichéd backwoods, dirt poor farm girl who traded that life for one of adventure when she met a young pilot who taught her to fly both literally and figuratively. After his tragic death in a flying accident sh ...more
I just got it in the mail, thanks! Look forward to reading it!

I really like what this novel is about - the women pilots from World War II. These pilots, to free up male pilots, were responsible for ferrying around aircraft and flying aircraft that men would not. They did not fly into war, but I suppose they had a war of their own - against the males of their own country - for the right to fly. They did not get treated with respect by all, and forces in the government tried to shut them down. The
Holly Weiss
Who Says Skirts Can't Fly Better than Pants?

Books honoring the heroes of World War II abound and rightfully so. Karl Friedrich breaks out of the mold and venerates women trained to fly planes on the home front due to a shortage of male pilots. What no one realized at the time was that these “flygirls” could pilot the pants off their male counterparts.

Karl Friedrich, newspaper reporter, public relations writer, photographer and copy writer makes his debut as an author in Wings: A Novel of Worl
Kate Widhalm
I actually really enjoyed this book and ironically enough read it on the airplane while heading to vacation! I find myself drawn to books that take place during WW II but I had yet to read anything that involved the WASP program. The information that I gathered from the story has made we want to find more books on the subject of the program and the trials and tribulations that the women had to go through in a "man's world".

The heroine of the story is Sally Ketchum who suffers some terrible exper
Full disclosure up front: I won this book through FirstReads.

First, I have to say I LOVE the premise for this book. WHY, WHY, WHY haven't we heard anything about the program at the center of this book before? It's called WASP--Women Air Force Service Pilots. It was a military-based training program for women to fly planes anywhere the armed services needed them, aside from actual combat of course. It operated for only a few years during World War 2, but it is a fascinating piece of history with
I managed to snag this through LibraryThings's Early Reviewers program, and was really excited. I have always had an interest in aviation history, and this sounded right up my alley. Once I started reading though, I was a little disappointed - I'll explain in a minute. First, let me say that it is a good book - worth a read if you're interested in aviation history, or American women's history. Maybe some of my "eh"-reaction to the book was from taking in different expectations than what I receiv ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
World War II opened up a lot of opportunities for American woman. For the first time, many of them were welcomed into the workforce and welcomed into positions that men generally held. It totally changed the course of history in our country. Some women were even able to fly for the military. They weren't able to fly in combat but they were allowed to help transport goods throughout the country to help the military under the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program. Technically a civilian org ...more
This book was fantastic. Absolutely wonderful! Wonderful characterization; they were all amazing yet horribly flawed in one way or another, making them tremendously real. There was definitely some major plot twists throughout the book that keeps the reader in suspense and I loved them all. Whatever expectations I might have had going into the book, by the end they were blown out of the water; I loved it.

That being said, there were a few things that weren't 100% perfection. The foreshadowing of s
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Sally's life is inherently unhappy, except for her brief time with Tex, the man who taught her to fly and the man with whom she fell in love. After his death, she learns about the WASP program and enrolls to become a female military pilot. Once at school, however, she learns that there are those who want the program disbanded and of one individual, in particular, who has a personal vendetta against her.

While historically, this is a very rich novel, it's not a particularly happy story. Sally's li
During World War II, young women were trained to fly Army planes to various locations within the United States where the planes would then be turned over to Army pilots to be used in combat overseas. At that time, most people were against women being pilots of any kind, and these young women who wanted to fly were looked down on and definitely discriminated against. It was a constant uphill battle to keep the program open and in this novel, the program is closed down before these girls even fini ...more
The WASP is one of my favorite parts of aviation history. I was very pleased to find a novel written about those wonderful ladies by a man!
I thought that Karl Friedrich did a great job setting up a nice base of information for those unfamiliar with Sweetwater and Avenger. I enjoyed all the bits of this book that involved the actual aviation part.

I started to lose altitude (hah) with the story around Chapter 15 and never recovered. I felt like some of the plots were a bit rushed and a few charac
This novel was better than I thought it would be. The main character's as well as the other flight girls' determination to prove themselves as worthy of fighting for their country shone through the novel. The scenes in the book were well-thought-out and strengthened the author's point. I liked the insertion of a love interest, a reminder that even in hard times relationships can grow. The novel follows a female's pursuit to help her country, her conflicting feelings over her "trainer", and her r ...more
Jul 01, 2012 Lea rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lea by: Lyn
This historical novel is an outstanding glimpse into the WASP program and chronicles quite the adventure for Sally, the leading lady in this story. It's just as much a story of her struggle in life, love and discovering herself as it is about the WASP program. There is some romance in this story – Sally and Tex, Sally and Beau – but it’s more about her dealing with those relationships than about the relationships themselves. I have been daydreaming about flying old planes over the plains of Texa ...more
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