The author made several trips to relevant battlefields and interviewed members of the local population to obtain first-hand information for the book. Although about half a dozen of authors have already published books in English on this subject, Milanetti's book differs from these books: there are over 500 illustrations accompanied by a substantial text including comment on prominent German aces.
The first chapter titled "Before the War", provides the background for other chapters which deal with the formation, functioning and record of three women's air units, only one of which remained exclusively staffed by women throughout the war. An undetermined number of women also served in otherwise all-male units. There are two additional chapters devoted to ace fighter pilots Lidya Litvyak and Ekaterina Budanova, while the final chapter deals with the survivors. All chapters are usually accompanied by useful statistics at the front and notes at the back.
Interestingly fighter pilot Lidya Litvyak's remains at the center of controversy concerning her fate and the actual number of kills. According to official Russian sources, both Soviet and contemporary, she was killed in combat on August 1, 1943. However, Mr. Milanetti discovered that Senior Lieutenant Litvyak--this had been her correct final rank--was seen parachuting to safety from her disabled aircraft.
There is new evidence that she was captured by the enemy, held in a PoW camp, and possibly emigrated to Switzerland. Interestingly, the unidentified Russian former female combat pilot who appeared on Swiss television in 2000, with the broadcast seen in Russia, had been wounded twice similarly to Litvyak.
Moreover, Ekaterina Polunina, former chief mechanic of Litvyak's original unit, maintained in her book titled Devchonki, podruzhki, letchitsy (Moscow, 2004) that Litvyak's friend Ekaterina Budanova had more kills than Litvyak did. To sum up, this unusual book should be of interest to historians, flying enthusiasts and the general reader.