Based on hundreds of oral histories with surviving WASP women, along with letters, diaries, and government documents, Landdeck explains the women’s vital role ferrying planes, the group’s disbandment, and their fight decades later to be rightfully recognized as veterans ... A must-read for those interested in women’s and World War II history.
The origin story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP, is lovingly and meticulously wrought by Landdeck who, as a pilot herself, powerfully illustrates the freedom and independence the cockpit gave these women in both the sky and their lives on the ground. Set against the backdrop of World War II and the Golden Age of Aviation, Landdeck traces the innovative beginnings of the WASP through a rich combination of photos, archives, diaries, interviews, newspapers and reportage ... Landdeck contextualizes the fierce intelligence and ambition of these women with the reality of their time, including issues related to class, race, and sex ... charts a powerful story of reinvention, community and ingenuity born out of global upheaval; that we can remember and read about them during our current global crisis makes the story and sacrifice of the WASP a timely blueprint of female innovation.
... a complete and comprehensive story of these women and their organization. [Landdeck's] format has been to focus on the stories of a relative handful of them as a means of emphasizing their 'everywoman' origins, commonalities, and experiences as aviators ... One minor criticism is the lack of a map showing the location of Avenger Field in Texas where many of the WASPs trained but, then, one can always Google it for that information ... There is no formal bibliography, another small criticism, but the notes demonstrate how Professor Landdecker committed to the WASPs, ensuring that she told their whole story ... With the publication of many individual memoirs and other books on the WASPs in recent years, this is certainly the one that, as mentioned above, is the most comprehensive even, as the author admits, it was not possible to mention or otherwise tell the story of each of these female aviators; however, she has managed to relate the personal lives and experiences of quite a few of them as representative of all.
In this breezy and fascinating history that touches on dramas large and small, members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) come alive ... Landdeck breathes new life into the WWII period ... With a gripping review of the battle to receive full recognition and benefits decades later for their war contributions, Landdeck moves beyond most histories. Readers interested in women in the military, and military, aviation, and women’s history will find much to relish in this fresh, detailed account.
... starts with a dramatic takeoff, introducing a personal story that author Katherine Sharp Landdeck, also a pilot, uses effectively to historicize a little-known, important part of U.S. military aviation ... The women featured in the book have altitude and attitude ... When Landdeck writes that 'it was clear (in 1942) that this new conflict was going to be fought, and won, in the air,' it raises the question of what American sailors and ground troops would have argued. The book could have also included fewer vague cliches, including 'young and full of promise' ...But those are nitpicks. The book is a prime opportunity to admire women in service.
... entertaining ... 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.
... deeply researched ... Drawing on memoirs, archives, and interviews with surviving WASP members, Landdeck creates palpable portraits of many women’s experiences and their lives after the program was disbanded ... A compelling history that brings forgotten heroes back in the spotlight.