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The Female Few: Spitfire Heroines of the Air Transport Auxiliary [Hardcover]

Jacky Hyams
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
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Book Description

1 Sep 2012
Through the darkest days of the Second World War, an elite group of courageous, gifted women risked their lives as courier pilots, flying Lancaster Bombers, Spitfires and many other aircraft in hundreds of perilous missions across the country. The role of these women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary was to deliver the planes to the male RAF pilots who would take them into battle, dangerous work which the women carried out unarmed, without radios. Fifteen would lose their lives. In The Female Few, five of these astonishingly brave women tell their stories for the first time, awe inspiring tales of incredible risk, tenacity and sacrifice. Their spirit and fearlessness in the face of death still resonates down the years, and their accounts reveal a forgotten chapter in the history of the Second World War. As Yvonne Macdonald, now 90 and living in Cape Cod, says: ‘It was a kind of freedom you never get any other way, it was as if you had wings sewn on your back. A lot of people here in Cape Cod don’t even know I was in World War Two. Or what I did.’ They do now.

Frequently Bought Together

The Female Few: Spitfire Heroines of the Air Transport Auxiliary + Spitfire Women of World War II + Spreading My Wings: One of Britain's Top Women Pilots Tells Her Remarkable Story from Pre-War Flying to Breaking the Sound Barrier
Price For All Three: 27.58

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Spellmount Publishers Ltd; 1 edition (1 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752480960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752480961
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 283,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jacky Hyams is a London based journalist and non fiction author who has written extensively, on a wide range of topics, for many of the leading mass market newspapers and magazines in the UK and Australia for several years.

Her passion for 20th Century history led to the publication of a successful personal memoir about London in the 1950s, Bombsites and Lollipops, published by John Blake Publishing in 2011. This was followed by an exploration of the world of the Edwardian stately home,The Real Life Downton Abbey (also published by Blake) in 2011. Jacky's third historically related title, The Female Few: Spitfire Pilots of the ATA, was published by The History Press in 2012.

Her followup memoir to Bombsites and Lollipops, White Boots & Miniskirts: A True Story of Life in the Swinging Sixties, was published by John Blake Publishing in February 2013.

Jacky's most recent book, Bomb Girls: Britain's Secret Army,the Munitions Women of WW2, was published in August 2013 by John Blake Publishing.

Product Description

About the Author

JACKY HYAMS is a journalist and writer. She is the author of Bombsites & Lollipops: My 50s East End Childhood, The Real Downton Abbey, Rapid Response, Tales of life as a Paramedic and Time to Help Your Parents. She has written for many newspapers and magazines, including the Sydney Morning Herald, London Evening Standard, The Times and Rolling Stone. She lives in London. The principal ATA pilots featured in The Female Few currently live in Cirencester, Aberystwyth, the Isle of Wight, Bampton, Oxfordshire and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story of forgotten heroines 6 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this book in 3 days. Could not put it down. It is a story of the brave, resilient female pilots of world war 2 who ferried fighter and bomber aircraft across the country whilst serving in the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary). These ladies showed unstinting courage in their duties particularly when one considers the circumstances in which they operated. The planes often had no instrumentation or armaments and they were not therefore able to "fly by wire". Few know of their story which was recently made subject of a TV documentary.

5 out of their small number were killed undertaking their duties. The book centres of the lives of 5 of these pilots who survive to this day. The strength is that Jacky has allowed the ladies to tell their own life stories in full not restricting them to wartime experiences.They often lead very productive lives post war which are interesting to read about. The fortitude of these people is amazing. Their stories are told in a most readable way. Congratulations to Jacky for bringing this story to our attention in such an enjoyable style.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor - these women deserve better 19 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a short book and actually not very informative - a thin veneer of information over some short biographical chapters of five women who flew planes for the Air Transport Auxiliary during WWII. Even the title is misleading as they flew many different planes from open cockpit planes to Wellington bombers. These women deserve a better book and for anyone who is interested there are better books out there: autobiographies of some of those pilots & Virgina Nicholson's Millions Like Us have much more substance, and in fiction Marge Piercy's magnificent Gone to Soldiers. These books give a much better feel for the lives of these brave women (& men) who flew planes all around Britain and into Europe with no communications equipment and no armaments throughout the war.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Girls in the air 26 Oct 2012
So pleased I read this book...I never knew that women had transported planes around the country during the Second World War. It must have been hard to track down the few remaining women in order to get this book together, but I'm glad the author did. Their lively stories really kept me gripped and it makes you think about how cushy we've got it today!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The women who flew Spitfires 2 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
During The Second World War, aircraft were ferried from factories in the UK, or from maintenance units, to frontline squadrons by The Air Transport Auxiliary, whose pilots were usually too old to join the RAF or who had some physical limitation which kept them out of uniform. But not all of the pilots were male. Flying alongside them were a significant number of women pilots who were fit and healthy, and who flew everything, from Tiger Moths to Lancaster bombers, in all kinds of weather. These were the ATA girls, whose contribution to the war effort was heroic but are almost forgotten today. Fortunately, Jacky Hyams has written a terrific book about these airwomen, and has based it on interviews with five of the surviving pilots.

The interviews are revealing in that none of the five thought they were doing anything heroic, but all loved flying, especially if flying a Spitfire. Also, all five spend as much time discussing their relationships, marriages, divorces and the various deaths of loved ones as they do about their ATA work. I devoured this wonderful book in an afternoon, and strongly recommend it to anyone who wonders what women did in the war.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The brave ones 24 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A brilliant read!Gives an insight into what had to go on 'back home' in order to supply planes for the front line war effort. These women quietly got on and did what they felt was necessary at a time of national crisis, some of them losing loved ones or paying the ultimate sacrifice with their own lives. All of these pilots stand out as self less examples of woman hood achieving something worthwhile and meaningful unlike our modern age of fame and instant celebrity just for marrying an overrated pop or sports star.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant and informative reading 4 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
an excellent book on the bravery and determination and skill of the ata lady pilots. It is sad that most of them taken their last
posting. .As an ex RAF man I can understand their love of the Spitfire.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What heroines they were! 2 Dec 2013
By Annamay
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Good read (with photos) and very informative about the A.T.A. Jacky Hiams has caught the spirit of the women flyers at that time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and enjoyable 13 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book is written in an easy style. It is very informative and I enjoyed reading about the pilots backgrounds.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Female Few
A fascinating book to read; I was not aware of the ATA before and have enjoyed reading it. What amazing women they were.
Published 13 months ago by LIZ SMITH Elizabeth Smith
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
Boring, you can get bored of reading the same stories, and this is one of them, it is repetitive, sorry girls but that's how I feel. I don't doubt the ATA did an excellent job.
Published 13 months ago by lindudic
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read but Slanted
This was a really interesting read but I did find it slightly frustrating that it was so slanted towards the women in the Air Transport Auxiliary. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Lucy
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
I do not wish to spend my time writing on items. In the main it is something I wish to have & no more
Published 14 months ago by Stanley Parry
5.0 out of 5 stars True recognition for the contribution of these heroines
Knowing one of the contribnutors personally; it made me all the more aware of the courageous and loyal service they gave in support of their Aircrew colleagues
Published 14 months ago by Peter.R.D.Meech
5.0 out of 5 stars Ladies in Wartime
I enjoyed reading the history and personal memories of five members of the Air Transport Auxilliary. It was all going on when I was a child.
Published 14 months ago by Mrs Mavis Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Sacrifices
What a wonderful insight into those 8 first brave young girls who flew the aircraft from the factories to the relevant air bases. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Valerie Saunders
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
Really enjoyed this book found it interesting did not know that women flew planes during the war also enjoyed reading about their lives after the war.
Published 15 months ago by Ula Griffiths
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing women
I knew nothing of the Air Transport Auxiliary and was so impressed with the stories these brave women told of their lives during WW11. Read more
Published 15 months ago by SueLes
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