SISTERS IN ARMS
Helena Page Schrader
ISBN: 1844152886 - £19.99 (hb)
Pen & Sword - 298 pages - illustrated
This story of British and American women pilots of the war easily made
it to the top of the pile as my Editor's Choice for this issue.
During the war, a few carefully selected women in Great
Britain and the United States were given the opportunity to fly
military aircraft. These women were pioneers, but, despite
similarities in their use and organisation, the women from the two
different countries experienced radically different fates.
Female pilots joined auxiliary organisations like the ATA
here, and the WASP in the States. However, whilst the ATA
steadily earned many of the privileges and status of their male
counterparts - even to the point of being awarded equal pay for equal
work in 1943 - their American colleagues were expressly denied the same
status, rank, privileges, pay and benefits as their male
counterparts. Throughout the war the contribution
of the ATA to the war effort was recognised and praised from both
officials and the media. In contrast, the WASP were at first
glamorised and turned into Hollywood style stars, and then subjected to
a slander campaign. Women from both ATA and WASP
speak for themselves and have an exciting and interesting tale to tell.
It is obvious from the narrative style that the author is
and academic historian; however, her use of the personal accounts of
those involved lift this book from the dry academic tome it might have
been, to a very interesting and absorbing story of achievement.
First class. 10/10, MM
Reprinted from: The Second World War, a magazine in the UK, Aug. 2006.