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

Crown. Apr. 2020. 464p. ISBN 9781524762810. $28. HIST
In the days following the attack on Pearl Harbor, millions of American men rushed to join the armed forces. As male pilots rushed to fill combat roles, Nancy Love and Jacqueline Cochran, both accomplished pilots, realized that female pilots could fill a need for the Army Air Forces. Thousands of women applied to join Cochran’s Women’s Flying Training Detachment with the hopes of then moving into Love’s Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Service. These two units were later combined into the Women Airforce Service Pilots or WASP. Initially only allowed to ferry small, single-engined planes, the WASP pilots eventually flew some of the fastest and most complex planes used during the war, including the massive B-29 Superfortress. In her first book, Landdeck (history, Texas Woman’s Univ.) tells the story of the significant contribution this group of women made to the war effort. Based on hundreds of oral histories with surviving WASP women, along with letters, diaries, and government documents, Landdeck explains the women’s vital role ferrying planes, the group’s disbandment, and their fight decades later to be rightfully recognized as veterans.
VERDICT A must-read for those interested in women’s and World War II history.

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