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Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, & Rescue (Women of Action) Hardcover – 1 Mar 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (1 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556529619
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556529610
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 174,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"A well-written collection."
-- World War II Magazine

"Each story has been meticulously researched...This is a great read for students who like adventure or are researching World War II."
-- VOYA, Voices of Youth Advocate reviews

"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

"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

"Adds a vital dimension to more traditional titles on the war. It will appeal to browsers seeking adventure tales while also enriching classes in history and women's studies, and units on war and peace...Recommended."
--Library Media Connection

"Atwood's admiration and enthusiasm for her subjects is apparent in these engaging profiles, and readers will likely be inspired to investigate these fascinating women further."
-- Kirkus Reviews

"[Women Heroes of World War II] tells the compelling story of volunteering and humanitarianism in a world focused mainly on the heroism of men."
--"MetroKids

About the Author

Kathryn J. Atwood is an educator and writer. She has contributed to "War, Literature, ""and the Arts," PopMatters.com, "Midwest Book Review," and "Women's Independent Press."

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Customer Reviews

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gibson, W on 12 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover
No one knows how they will react in a situation of utmost peril. Fortunately, for most of us, we will never have to face that ultimate test of one's deepest resolve. None of the 26 heroines in Kathryn Attwood's new book, Women Heroes of World War Two, thought of themselves as heroes but their actions beggar belief. For the greater good they defied or tried to defy the evils of Nazism, each trying in her own, individual way to throw a small spanner into the giant machine that was Hitler's Germany.
Atwood has done a sterling job of pulling together the stories of 26 women, young and old, who acted with breathtaking heroism without due regard for their personal safety.

Most of these 26 women lived to tell their tale but four of them did not. Sophie Scholl, member of the anti-Nazi group, The White Rose, was arrested and had to endure the mockery of a kangaroo court which ended inevitably with her execution. Three of the 26 were famous - actress and German exile Marlene Dietrich, opera singer Josephine Baker, and journalist, Martha Gellhorn.

Famous or otherwise, all 26 stories are inspiring. Take Irene Gut, only 19 years old, she was asked "What can you do? You're only a young girl." But Irene did much - hiding Jews under the very noses of the Germans and living on her nerves to keep them undetected. When her antics were discovered by a Nazi officer, she was forced to become his mistress merely to protect her Jewish hideaways.

Aimed primarily at the young adult reader, the book will appeal to any age, such are the stories told within. Atwood is tasked with a big responsibility - to do justice to the telling of these remarkable tales, and she does so with aplomb.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Historied on 8 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
As an Anglo-American, I am posting my Amazon US review on Amazon UK as I think many British readers will appreciate this book. It makes a very real, and I think successful, effort to get outside any US insularity, and really look at these 26 women heroes of the resistance with fresh eyes and illustrate the patterns about how they came to take heroic actions. Below is what I said on the US Amazon.

I literally could not put this book down and have read it within a day of its arrival. I think what most drew me to it was the optimism about human nature that it encouraged. Here were 26 young women, who in one way or another, encountered directly or heard about, the massive, murderous injustices of the Nazi regime in their own or other countries and did something about it. I found extraordinary, the repeated instances where confronting an impossible moral dilemma between their own survival and saving others, so many chose to save others. I also liked how often an intuitive sense of danger or of what to do saved the day. Generally ordinary young women suddenly made extraordinary by appalling situations. Though I guess Marlene Dietrich, Martha Gellhorn, or Josephine Baker, who are included, are a little less ordinary. The picture of Marlene Dietrich trapped behind the lines in the Ardennes in late 1944 is extraordinary.

And as you look through the photographs of each of the 26, you see a something they all seem to have in common: this moral courage, this ability to look profound evil in the eye and not flinch. Some of them died, and though I already knew something of the story of the White Rose German resistance group, the photo of one of its members Sophie Scholl is what really haunted me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Eric Jeter on 18 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover
I went into Kathryn Atwood's Women Heroes of World War II hoping the experience would leave me with the same fascination I experienced after watching HBO's excellent series Band of Brothers. While the book does deliver in that regard, in some ways I feel like I got so much more.

Atwood paints vivid stills of her twenty-six heroines, offering up generally their most significant wartime contributions as well as fascinating peeks into each woman's personality. Perhaps my favorite profile is that of Nora Inayat Khan, a petite and quite shy British resistance worker who failed miserably early on but came back to become one of the most fierce and determined women in the book. At one time, the once gentle girl fought violently with the unfortunate Nazi sympathizer sent to arrest her, clawing and scratching him so badly that he could only restrain her by putting a gun to her head.

Atwood's writing is straightforward and suitable for all ages, although it's clear that the adventure-style telling of most stories is designed for younger audiences. Some profiles wrap rather quickly, but this seems to be a byproduct of Atwood's desire to keep the book compact more than anything else. Each story could be (and often has been) expanded upon to form entire books of their own. With that in mind, Women Heroes of World War II serves as the perfect primer for those seeking a great introduction to women's contributions in WWII.

Thankfully, Atwood treats some of the more disturbing outcomes of her heroines with a grace that will allow even more sensitive readers such as myself to continue. Still, some of the stories were so moving or unfortunate that they brought a tear to my eye.
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