“The Women with Silver Wings” by Katherine Sharp Landdeck is a captivating and meticulously researched book that delves into the history of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II. The author, Landdeck, provides a comprehensive account of the courageous women who served as pilots in the WASP program, shedding light on their remarkable contributions to the war effort and their struggles for recognition and acceptance in a male-dominated field.
The book offers a detailed and compelling narrative of the WASP program, chronicling the experiences of the women who volunteered to serve their country as civilian pilots. Landdeck skillfully weaves together personal stories, historical context, and archival research to bring to life the challenges and triumphs of these trailblazing aviators. She explores the rigorous training, the demanding missions they undertook, and the discrimination they faced both during and after the war.
Landdeck also examines the complex dynamics of gender, patriotism, and societal expectations during this pivotal period in American history. Through her vivid storytelling, she highlights the resilience and determination of the WASP members as they navigated obstacles and shattered stereotypes in pursuit of their passion for flying and their commitment to serving their country.
The author’s meticulous attention to detail and her deep empathy for her subjects make “The Women with Silver Wings” a compelling and enlightening read. Landdeck’s narrative not only honors the legacy of the WASP but also offers valuable insights into the broader themes of gender equality, military history, and the enduring power of human spirit.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Fort Cornelia was airborne. At age 22, Fort escaped his debut in Nashville for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii. She and her students were in the middle of class when the bombs started falling and they barely made it back to the ground that morning. However, when the United States Army Air Forces issued a call for female pilots to support the war effort, Fort was one of the first to respond. She became one of more than 1,100 women across the country to pass the Army’s rigorous selection process and earn her silver wings.
The brainchild of pioneering aviators Nancy Love and Jacqueline Cochran, Women Air Force Pilots (WASPs) gave women like Fort the opportunity to serve their country – and to prove that female pilots are just as skilled as men. Although not authorized to serve in combat, WASPs helped train male pilots for service overseas, and flew bombers and chases across the country. Thirty-eight WASPs would not survive the war. But even taking these tragic losses into account, Love and Cochran’s social experiment seemed a resounding success — until the tide of war turned, and Congress clipped women’s wings. The program disbanded and the women went home. But the bond they forged never failed, and over the next few decades they fought together for recognition as military veterans – and for their place in history.
Good topic, told in detail. The quality of the writing is a bit like a straight history book, so I fear most people won’t persevere and finish the book. It’s well worth reading, especially if you’re interested in the subject, but it takes dedication to complete.
The Women with Silver Wings
- The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II
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