The Women With Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II

Katherine Sharp Landdeck. Crown, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-5247-6281-0
Texas Woman’s University history professor Landdeck debuts with an entertaining chronicle of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program during WWII. Drawing on journals, letters, and oral histories, Landdeck notes that more than 1,000 women served in the program, which was led by professional pilots Nancy Love and Jackie Chochran. The WASPs, many of whom were flight instructors or members of civilian air clubs, ferried aircraft from factories to military bases and other embarkation points across the U.S., flight tested planes, and helped to train gunners, while battling sexism and bureaucratic red tape. Landdeck’s profile subjects include Cornelia Fort, who volunteered after her civilian plane was strafed by Japanese fighters during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Teresa James, a former stunt flyer whose husband served as a bomber pilot in Europe. After the program’s abrupt disbandment in 1944, these and other WASPs readapted to civilian life as they tangled with the government for postwar benefits. A generous selection of high-quality photographs and Landdeck’s own experience as a licensed pilot enrich the narrative, capturing the joy of flying and the unique sense of freedom and independence these women would remember for the rest of their lives. This colorful history soars. (Apr.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly referred to the Women Airforce Service Pilots as the Women Airsevice Pilots.

Reviewed on : 01/15/2020
Release date: 04/21/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-5247-6283-4
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-1-5247-6282-7
Show other formats
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
Discover what to read next