On Silver Wings: The Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II

Marianne Verges, Author Ballantine Books $20 (255p) ISBN 978-0-345-36534-7
The almost-buried history of female pilots in WW II is carefully unearthed in this account of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and the organizations that preceded it. Freelance journalist Verges, wife of an airline executive, is candid about how women began making their contributions in the air: the chief impetus was provided by famed pilot Jacqueline Cochran, married to a millionaire tycoon who provided strong financial support to Franklin Roosevelt; almost all other early women pilots were from wealthy families, since flying was at first a hobby only for the rich. This profile changed by the early 1940s, when almost 2000 women had earned their wings and become indispensable to the war effort, ferrying planes around the country. They were fortunate in having the support of Air Force boss Gen. Hap Arnold and some young officers, but many mid-ranking members of the brass were petty and even vicious toward the women. The WASP was disbanded in late 1944 and the personnel were denied military rank; this they were finally awarded in 1973. An inspiring tale of a winning fight against prejudice. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-517-11287-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 273 pages - 978-0-345-38967-1
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