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Wings, Women, and War: Soviet Airwomen in World War II Combat (Modern War Studies) Hardcover – January 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern War Studies
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (January 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700611452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700611454
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #379,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Both harrowing and inspiring, it should become a classic of World War II aviation history." -- World War II History

"Extraordinary and often deeply moving." -- Times Literary Supplement --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"Pennington conveys wholly fresh, vivid, often unique and revealing insights drawn from a formidable and fascinating array of evidence. Much of her book is deeply moving. It is impossible not to be stirred, even appalled, by the fate of some of these women." --John Erickson, author of The Road to Stalingrad

"Pennington's meticulous research, dogged investigative skills, and clear writing make this book an instant classic in its field and a virtual model for future authors who write on the subject of women in war."--David M. Glantz, of The Battle of Kursk

"A fine, detailed study of the conflict between combat roles and gender roles. Must reading for all serious students of women's military history."--Linda Grant De Pauw, author of Battle Cries and Lullabies


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Customer Reviews

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These revelations are in themselves worth the purchase of the book!
Chapulina R
Yet, the well documented footnotes and thorough Appendix attest to the research that has gone into this scholarly work.
Glenn R. Anderson
I was privileged to read Dr. Reina Pennington's book, Wings, Women, and War: Soviet Airwomen in World War II Combat.
Thomas W. Keyser

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Glenn R. Anderson on April 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
For most Americans World War II is John Wayne, Tom Hanks, D-Day, and Pearl Harbor. The plucky British gave a hand now and then and the ungrateful French needed us once more to pull their goose-fat from the fire. Oh yes, it snowed a lot on the Eastern Front. Yet, more than a cursory examination of the Second World War shows even first year history students that the Atlantic Theatre was very much a Russo-German War, with the Western Front playing a secondary role. The Russian story of the Great Patriotic War has not imprinted itself on the American popular imagination. Even less known is the role played in that great struggle by Russia's women.
Over 800,000 women served their Motherland in World War II, nearly 200,000 of them decorated. 89 of those women eventually received Russia's highest award, the Hero of the Soviet Union. Reina Pennington's book tells the story of Russia's airwomen during World War II with the passion of a best selling novel. Yet, the well documented footnotes and thorough Appendix attest to the research that has gone into this scholarly work.
Pennington's book focuses on three female regiments formed by Soviet hero, Marina Raskova, but also gives insight into women who served in mostly male regiments. She provides a gripping account that will satisfy those hearing about the USSR's airwomen for the first time, as well as adding new information about command struggles within the fighter regiment.
The story of 46th Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, staffed through the entire war completely with women pilots, navigators, mechanics and commanding officers, makes any current debates about the suitability of women in combat seem like a convocation of the flat earth society. These women settled that debate long ago.
Read more ›
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Hanna on January 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read this book cover to cover on Friday (in the office, door shut, looking very busy). Living with WW 2 aviation everyday through the collection of fighter aircraft we restore and fly in England, it is easy to become a little blasé about the way people lived their extraordinary lives in that time. This book hauled me right up by the collar all over again.
It is remarkable - the pages turn as easily as reading the most engrossing novel and yet this is clearly a thoroughly researched review of these womens' history. I am utterly impressed. To communicate passion for a subject while speaking with such authority - the authority that can only come with knowing and understanding a subject as well as Pennington does - is so rare.
Having read almost every single book available in the narrow field that covers these Soviet women, I belive this book sets the new benchmark.
If only history could always be communicated like this!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Chapulina R on December 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Probably the best-known female combatants on the Eastern Front are the three aviation regiments formed by Marina Raskova, aka the "Russian Earhart". During the past several decades, histories, memoirs, novels, photos, and films about these remarkable heroines have become available worldwide. Even so, Reina Pennington has uncovered some new and exciting material for this eagerly-awaited book! "Wings, Women, and War", the latest volume in the Modern War Series, contains a scholarly examination of the training and performance of Soviet airwomen. Of particular relevance to current US military gender-issues is updated information on female interaction with male counterparts and commanders. The 46th Guards Night Bombers were entirely segregated, while the 125th Guards Dive Bombers had integrated ground-personnel and tailgunners, and a male CO. In the 586th Fighter regiment, one squadron which early tranferred to elite, predominantly-male VVS units was permanently replaced by a male squadron. Therefore, objective statistics are available, and comparisons can be made of performances and unit cohesion under sustained combat conditions. Pennington dispels, once and for all, persistent Western myth surrounding the formation of Soviet female aviation regiments: that is, that women were recruited due to desperate shortages of male pilots, or that they were intended only for propaganda. In fact, the female volunteers went into circuit during the period of German air-superiority when Soviet planes, not pilots, were scarce. And though female ACEs were exploited by the front-line press, there was very little coverage otherwise of the Raskova regiments in either Russian or foreign newspapers.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris Berman on October 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Reina Pennington's Wings, Women and War was one of about 20 sources I used to write my master's thesis on the women combat pilots of the Soviet Red Air force in World War Two. Pennington's book, along with the biography by Anna Yegorva titled Red Sky, Black Death. Yegarova was a Shtromovik pilot. Pennington's book provided excellent documentation and insight into an aspect of World War Two that few in the West are aware of, that is the heroic accomplishments of Soviet women pilots. In her writing, we see the contrast of the woman warrior, fighting a terrifying invader n the skies over Russia and Ukraine and that of these same women, knitting doilies and making stuffed animals and decorations during their off hours. I could feel a real connection as Pennington's historical, non-fiction book read like a thrilling novel. In addition to being a military historian, I am also a science fiction author and I extrapolated Reina Pennington's insights in developing characters in a women's orbital interceptor squadron in a future war that even conscripts Soviet ace Lydia Litvyak out of the timeline to lead these women into battle. I would recommend Wings, Women and War 100 percent. This is an excellent study of a little known historical subject.
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