The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

Knox. May 2023. 272p. ISBN 9781637585948. $30. BIOG
American women in the military have a long and storied history. Retired air force colonel Bjorkman’s (Unforgotten in the Gulf of Tonkin) book adds a valuable chapter to that story by chronicling the advance of women military pilots toward combat status. It spans the decades from the 1940s to the 1990s, ending when the combat exclusion lifted. Along the way, readers meet many members of the military, the government, and the public who both helped and hindered this goal. The author, a flight test engineer, rode in all kinds of military aircraft herself, and her voice is particularly strong when discussing the 1970s and 1980s, the era when she came of age in the U.S. Air Force. In her position, she had a close-up view of women who trained for long years as fighter pilots (and who trained men for that role) but who were not themselves allowed to fly in combat. The voices of many of these women are heard throughout this book, and their own words provide readers with a clear sense of the obstacles that they faced and eventually overcame.
VERDICT Strongly recommended for all military, political science, and history collections.
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