The role of women in the military has traditionally been a topic of contention, particularly when the focus is the assignment of women to combat roles. With the advent of the war in Iraq and the visible role of women as POWs, the publication of this title could hardly be more opportune. It covers the history of women in the military, focusing on women who fought, from ancient times to the present. The body of the work, written by more than 100 university and college-affiliated subject experts, consists of alphabetically arranged profiles of more than 300 women or groups (e.g., Spanish Civil War, women in
; WASP [Women's Airforce Service Pilots]
), followed by a section that treats World War II Soviet military units, such as the Forty-Sixth Taman'sky Guards Bomber Aviation Regiment, listed by number.
As indicated, treatment is international as well as historical in scope. Presented in brisk, readable prose, entries run between a third of a page to six pages for more prominent figures or groups, such as Elizabeth I of England or the women involved in the Israeli War of Independence. Following a brief fact summary, entries treat the history of the person or group from birth or inception to death or disbanding. Some group entries include brief profiles of "representative participants." The focus is on the specific military operations in which the subject was involved. Cross-references are noted in bold within the body of the entry, and each entry ends with a brief bibliography. Additional information such as quotations, statistics, and related facts appear in sidebars throughout the text. Some entries are accompanied by clear black-and-white photographs or reproductions.
The first volume opens with an engagingly written introductory essay, and the second includes both a 125-page time line and bibliographic surveys of materials on "Women as Prisoners of War" and "Women, Medicine, and the Military." Each volume contains lists of entries by geographic region, time period and conflict, role or branch of service, prisoner or POW status, and groups and organizations. The second volume closes with a comprehensive bibliography, good index, and notes on the contributors.
With its international scope and its emphasis on women in combat, this title complements Victoria Sherrow's Women and the Military: An Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, 1996), which focuses on the U.S and includes coverage of events, wars, laws, and military branches as well as women who served in noncombat roles. Amazons to Fighter Pilots is a necessary addition to college and university libraries and a sound selection for high-school and public libraries. RBB
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"[C]ontains many aids for the researcher, including four different lists of entries, a comprehensive timeline, and an index. There are also historiographical essays on such subjects as Women, Medicine, and the Military and an extensive bibliography."
"[T]his two-volume biographical dictionary is one of the first to celebrate women specifically in active military roles. . . . This book stands apart because of its scholary approach and particular attention paid to women in combat roles."
"This beautifully illustrated two-volume work may be the most important encyclopedia ever written in the field of women and war. . . . When future historians discern the point at which the study of women and war reached a critical mass, they may conclude that the publication of Amazons to Fighter PilotS≪/i> marks the dividing point between an era when military women were ignored as irrelevant and one in which historians can no longer ignore their contributions. . . . A must for all university libraries and serious researchers in the field of women and war. It will be an invaluable resource for decades to come."
The Journal of Military History
"Amazons to Fighter PilotS≪/i> is suitable for the general reader as well as the specialist. . . . [T]here is no other biographical dictionary that pulls together women combatants in quite this way, making it essential for women's studies and military history collections. Amazons to Fighter PilotS≪/i> is also recommended for general reference collections in college and university libraries, in public libraries, and in high school libraries."
Reference & User Services Quarterly
"Amazons to Fighter PilotS≪/i> is a necessary addition to college and university libraries and a sound selection for high-school and public libraries."
Booklist, Starred Review
"This peerless work, situated at the nexus of military history and women's studies, is an essential companion to more male-biased biographical resources like Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography. Highly recommended. All collections."