Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Book of the Month: Women Heroes of World War II

Title:  WOMEN HEROES OF WORLD WAR II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance and Rescue
Author:  Kathryn J. Atwood
Publisher:  Chicago Review Press
Pub Date:  March 1, 2011

"These stories will restore your faith in the human spirit and encourage us all to remember to do what is right, because it is right. Women Heroes of World War II is a must read for anyone who has ever asked themselves: 'What can I do? Can one person really make a difference?'" —Kenneth Koskodan, author of No Greater Ally; The Untold Story of Poland’s Forces in World War II

“Kathryn Atwood offers a new face to World War II heroes to include young women who left traditional feminine roles to carry guns, falsify papers, and shelter the hunted.” —Rabbi Malka Drucker and Gay Block, coauthors of Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust

“Inspiring accounts of the lives of women--some of them still in their teens--whose courage made a difference in the dark days of World War II." —Rita Kramer, author of Flames in the Field: The Story of Four SOE Agents in Occupied France

“Those in Women Heroes of World War II surely played a major role in turning the tide of the war in the Allies’ favor. Kathryn Atwood’s book will be a wonderful inspiration to girls and women.” —Judith Pearson, author of The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America’s Greatest Female Spy

What it's about:

Noor Inayat Khan was the first female radio operator sent into occupied France and transferred crucial messages. Johtje Vos, a Dutch housewife, hid Jews in her home and repeatedly outsmarted the Gestapo. Law student Hannie Schaft became involved in the most dangerous resistance work--sabotage, weapons transference, and assassinations. In these pages, young readers will meet these and many other similarly courageous women and girls who risked their lives to help defeat the Nazis.

Twenty-six engaging and suspense-filled stories unfold from across Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain, and the United States, providing an inspiring reminder of women and girls’ refusal to sit on the sidelines around the world and throughout history.

An overview of World War II and summaries of each country’s entrance and involvement in the war provide a framework for better understanding each woman’s unique circumstances, and resources for further learning follow each profile. Women Heroes of World War II is an invaluable addition to any student’s or history buff’s bookshelf.

My thoughts:  I can't recommend this book highly enough.  Although it's written for young adults, grown-ups will be intrigued by the stories of these brave women who risked their lives willingly during World War II for a cause they believed in. You don't have to be a World War II buff either to enjoy the real life exploits of these women.  The book is divided by country starting with Germany and ending with the United States. Some of the women (Sophie Scholl, Marlene Dietrich, Martha Gellhorn and Josephine Baker who is also featured in Scandalous Women) will probably be familiar to readers, but most of the women featured in the book probably won't be.  The stories run the gamut of women who came from privileged backgrounds to women who had nothing, but each and every one proved that they were more than just pretty faces. They were strong, courageous, women who refused to sit idly by while the war was going on, who made as big a contribution to the war effort as the men did, and who should be remembered every single day for their sacrifices.  I enjoyed this book so much that it is going on my keeper shelves of books that I regularly dip into for inspiration.

Verdict:  Highly Recommended


Man of la Book said...

Sounds like a great book, I will certainly put it on my "to read" list.

Is Krystyna Skar­bek aka Chris­tine Granville in the book?

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

I will have to check that when I get home. It's a really fascinating book.