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

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  941 ratings  ·  196 reviews
The thrilling, as-yet-untold history of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, the daring female aviators who helped the United States win World War II.

When Japanese planes executed a sneak attack on 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
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published April 21st 2020 by Crown
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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
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
Scott (on temporary hiatus)
"Women are physically and temperamentally suited for fighter plane operation. They are smaller, hence more comfortable in a tiny crowded cockpit. They are quicker to react under many circumstances and are supposed to have a lighter, more deliberate touch and thus are better able to surmount emergencies when they arise . . . The theory that women 'can't take it' has been thoroughly disproved." -- pilot Nancy Love in December 1944, as quoted on pages 245-246

Much like the popular 1992 film A League
Karen R
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Malorie  (Firereader)
I grew up in a family of veterans and World War II buffs. I remember learning about the WASP ladies and how incredible they were. What I didn't know, and what no one talks about, is the fight these women undertook for decades to be recognized for the blood, sweat, and tears that they shed in service of our country. This book, is their story.

The Women with Silver Wings begins with the achievements of women in aviation history. It moves into the spark of the idea to help the war effort. What if fe
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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, ...more
Toni Osborne
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Maureen Caupp
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-nonfiction
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
Aug 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bir-2020, historical
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 ...more
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 ...more
Annissa Joy Armstrong
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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.
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Dennis Hogan
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Marci Colyer
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Shari Suarez
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
I’ve always had a lot of respect and admiration for the women who ferried fighters and bombers to the airfields on the line. They certainly were a brave bunch, took a lot of chances and not all of them survived. This was definitely a worthwhile read and I throughly enjoyed it. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading military, aviation or women’s history.
Rachel Shulruf
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about a fascinating topic that I admittedly knew nothing about prior to reading The Women with the Silver Wings. The author does a wonderful job of weaving in historical facts throughout the story. The character development and level of detail often make it feel as though you are reading a novel rather than nonfiction. Would certainly recommend!
Clair Poletti
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So well written & researched.
The history of these incredible women was eye opening and frustrating on their behalf.
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Claire O'Brien
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So glad to have been able to read about this chapter in American history! These women are the embodiment of bravery and determination. I enjoyed how the different women's stories are traced through the book and how the book follows up with their efforts to gain recognition as military service members. ...more
Martha Schwalbe
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing, infuriating, heartbreaking and maddening. What a book. I like to think that things have changed from then until now, but the same sexist BS is alive and well all these decades later. If there are any WASPs still living, they won’t be with us much longer. I’d love to talk to them. Kudos to the author for her years of research. I’d love to read your next book.
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Katherine Sharp Landdeck is an associate professor of history at Texas Woman’s University, the home of the WASP archives. A Guggenheim Fellow at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where she earned her Ph.D., Landdeck has received numerous awards for her work on the WASP and has appeared as an expert on NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS, and the Hi ...more

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