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The Women with Silver Wings

The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II

by Katherine Sharp Landdeck

The Women with Silver Wings by Katherine Sharp Landdeck X
The Women with Silver Wings by Katherine Sharp Landdeck
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  • Diane T. (Slingerlands, NY)
    Silver Wings on Women's Lapels
    Katherine Sharp Landdeck's debut book, The Women With Silver Wings", delves into the mostly unknown world of women pilots and their immense contributions, ferrying air crafts from manufacturers to drop off airports, during WW II. We are all familiar with "Rosie the Riveter". We have seen the famous poster of a woman flexing her muscle - Rosie! We all know that when our men were called to serve our country, women, most homemakers with children, answered the call. They fulfilled those duties in all industries that were left without workers in addition to the war-time effort of building the machinery needed.

    But how many of us knew about the WASP - Women Airforce Service Pilots - and what they went through not only to serve but to be duly recognized for their patriotism until now. How fortunate for us and for Ms. Landdeck, that she was actually able to interview these women of various backgrounds. And through these interviews we learn of their personal difficulties and sacrifice, finally setting the record straight with grit and persistence -- just like a woman!!! That it took from 1944 to 1977, and even then not to totally to make WASP eligible for all veteran benefits and programs, is a travesty. In 2009, these women were finally recognized by the United States with the highest award, the Congressional Gold Medal. At that ceremony, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said in her speech, "Women Airforce Service Pilots, we are your daughters; you taught us how to fly" Amen to that!!!!!
  • Roberta W. (Los Ranchos, NM)
    You Taught Us How to Fly
    When the United States entered World War II it had been only twenty years since American women were allowed to vote. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that in 1942 the male power structure, especially that of the Army Air Force, believed that women could not fly airplanes.

    That was nonsense, of course, as this oral history of the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) aptly demonstrates. It is a well written story of the women who ferried practically every kind of airplane the United States built during the the war all across the country. They were pioneers in the air, but also pioneers in the women's movement and the struggle for equal pay and equal rights which continues.

    I wish the book had more historical context. I would have liked to read not only about the women who flew these planes, but also the women who built them, and how women generally fared during the war. It would have been good also to have some information about what happened to women in the military between the sad, unnecessary disbandment of the WASP and U.S. Air Force Major Nicole Malachowski, the first female USAF Thunderbird pilot who addressed these WWII pilots at their last reunion. Hopefully, Dr. Sharp Landdeck will write that book too.

    This reviewer assumes the final edition of the book will have an index which the review copy lacked. It needs one.

    Women in the United States had come a long way by the time we reach the most moving part of the book. In June 2009 the preeminent American politician of the early 21st Century, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America, Nancy Pelosi, said to them, "We are all your daughters; you taught us how to fly."
  • Deborah H. (West Chicago, IL)
    Women take flight.
    I am so appreciative that The Women With Silver Wings has come to be. This true account of female pilots and the role they played as Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II gives us an in-depth look at these truly courageous women.
    It was amazing to me how brave and dedicated these women were and how quickly our nation forgot them when there services were no longer in high demand.
    Truly a great read for book clubs, for those that enjoy highly readable World War II history, and anyone looking to be inspired by the courage of those that have come before us. I would love to see this book made into a version for 9-12 year old girls. What an inspiration!
  • Ginny H. (Troutdale, OR)
    The Woman with Silver Wings
    I love all books set during WWII and this was especially enticing because it is about women pilots during and after Pearl Harbor. I was really inspired by the camaraderie and bravery of each of these heroes. Wonderful writing, wonderful story.
  • Betty T. (Warner Robins, GA)
    Courageous Young Women
    This is a superbly researched and written book about the brave young women who were eager to serve their country during World War II by ferrying new aircraft from the factories to the military pick-up point. Having served in the USAF in the mid-70s I could relate to some of the skepticism they encountered not only from the military men but from society in general. As all able-bodied males were off fighting in the war, there was a serious shortage of pilots. These gutsy women rushed in to fill the void flying 77 different types of aircraft. Even though most of the women pilots were better qualified than the male pilots they were not recognized for their service to their country and designated as veterans until November 1977.

    The book consists of numerous vignettes of the remarkable female pilots who became known as WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots). The chapters are short and easy to read.

    Thank you to BookBrowse and Crown Publishing for the advance copy. I am providing an unbiased review.
  • Vivian H. (Winchester, VA)
    Emotional & Inspiring
    From the first paragraphs I was drawn into this beautiful tribute to the brave, dedicated, inspiring aviatrix that remained unsung heroines for decades, denied the recognition, military status and pensions they had earned because of their sex. The WASP, a select group of 1102 women who earned their silver wings having to achieve far more than male pilots, flew more than 60 Million miles, in 77 different types of aircraft, served as test pilots, trainers, ferried planes, and performed every task other than combat missions that men performed. I was nearly brought to tears on several occasions reading how Congress, the Army, the commercial airlines and the American public marginalized them because they were women. The WASP was summarily disbanded when male pilots began returning stateside. It wasn't until Senator Barry Goldwater promised to advocate for the WASP did they finally achieve military status ....the end of 1977...more than 30 years after they were sent home to return to lives as wives and mothers. It wasn't until the 1970s that an American airline would hire a woman pilot!
    These amazing women helped lay the cornerstones of a movement that enabled women of today to enjoy near parity with men in the workplace. Just WOW!
  • Ann W. (New York, NY)
    Left out again
    I just finished reading Dovey Johnson Roundtree's Mighty Justice, an incredible book by an amazing woman. In 1943, she challenged racial discrimination in the WAAC and went on to challenge for racial justice until her death at 105 years of age in 2018.
    Now, Landdeck's book The Women with Silver Wings documents more legendary achievements by women in the military. Women are left out of the story, especially that of military history. It took more than 30 years, in 1977 for the WASP services to be acknowledged as veterans of WWII. Women aviators were critically important in training and ferrying planes and after the war, forgotten. The role of women in the Military continues to be understated. It needs to be highlighted. There are many unsung heroes. Let us sing out!

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