The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II

Sourcebooks. Aug. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781728230924. $26.99. HIST
Eder, a retired U.S. Army major general, has written a captivating social history introducing readers to women who served in the Allied war effort during World War II or were impacted by the war’s events. Each of the 15 chapters is devoted to one woman (including Charity Adams Earley, Alice Marble, and Kate Nolan) and describes how they contributed to the war effort in their own unique way. The women were from varied backgrounds; they were reporters, chemists, and athletes, among other roles. Their exploits included writing propaganda, gathering intelligence on troop movements in Europe, and serving as sponsors for refugees; one was a Jewish refugee fighting against the Nazis. In each case, Eder demonstrates the risks involved but also how these women overcame the dangers of their situation to make important contributions to the Allied war effort. As Eder capably recounts, each of these women has a captivating story to tell. The book relies on extensive primary sources and includes several photographs of people and places to complement the inviting narrative.
VERDICT Eder’s engaging writing makes these compelling histories read like a suspense novel. A highly recommended account that will draw in readers of U.S. history and women’s history.
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