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Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue (Women of Action) [Kindle Edition]

Kathryn J. Atwood
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Noor Inayat Khan was the first female radio operator sent into occupied France and transferred crucial messages. Johtje Vos, a Dutch housewife, hid Jews in her home and repeatedly outsmarted the Gestapo. Law student Hannie Schaft became involved in the most dangerous resistance work--sabotage, weapons transference, and assassinations. In these pages, young readers will meet these and many other similarly courageous women and girls who risked their lives to help defeat the Nazis.

            Twenty-six engaging and suspense-filled stories unfold from across Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain, and the United States, providing an inspiring reminder of women and girls’ refusal to sit on the sidelines around the world and throughout history.

An overview of World War II and summaries of each country’s entrance and involvement in the war provide a framework for better understanding each woman’s unique circumstances, and resources for further learning follow each profile. Women Heroes of World War II is an invaluable addition to any student’s or history buff’s bookshelf.

Editorial Reviews


"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 womensome of them still in their teenswhose 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

"Those in Women Heroes of World War II surely played a major role in turning the tide of the war in the Allies’ favor. Kathryn Atwood’s book will be a wonderful inspiration to girls and women."

—Judith Pearson, author of The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America’s Greatest Female Spy

"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

"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

About the Author

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 2812 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (March 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008ELHC7Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,379 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read about female heroes of World War II June 27, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a World War II history buff, I was intrigued to find a book that centers on the role of women. These "26 Stories of espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue" do not disappoint. Atwood details the heroic exploits of women from all over Europe: Germany, Poland, France, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, and Great Britain, as well as the United States. Whether famous entertainers like Josephine Baker and Marlene Dietrich or simply ordinary wives, students, teachers, these women step up to take their place in history.

Atwood briefly lays out the background history of the war and each country's particular role before delving into the actual accounts of the women, which is helpful. The photographs and additional information such as speeches also adds a haunting immediacy to the already stirring text. Included are very helpful "Learn More" text boxes which provide the reader with important follow-up information. Also included are a glossary and notes.

This is a highly readable and engaging addition to the body of literature for grades 5-12 on this subject. Each account would easily work also as a short read aloud to inspire learning on this important topic. As a school librarian, I am looking forward to using this when my students study the second World War.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read April 14, 2011
Disclaimer: Kathryn Atwood is a Goodreads friend. I've never met her in real life, and I brought this book. But she is a Goodreads Friend (was before this book was published). Just so you know.

Billed as a young adult history book, Atwood's Women Heroes of World War II can easily be read by people of all ages. This is great because it is a book that helps to fill two large gaps in World War II history.

The first gap is that of the helpers or rescuers of Jews in World War II. This is a gap, I can hear you wonder. Well, yes and know. Everyone knows the story of Miep Gies, but Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl is pretty much the only piece of the rescuer story that is taught in schools. This book introduces the reader to more rescuers. Miep Gies is not mentioned, and this is not an oversight. It allows Atwood to focus on lesser known people.

Atwood's book is split into sections. There is a general introduction, overview really, followed by sections about Germany, Poland, France, Netherlands, Beligum, Britian, and the United States. Each section includes, in addition to the stories of the heroes, a general overview of the country during World War II, with particular focuses on the role of women. While not all encompassing, the women Atwood focuses on could easily be fit into all sections (Slovak, Irish, Indian) and cover all age groups and social classes. While younger predominates, there are older ladies as well.

The importance of less known heroes is important. The best known three, at least in general, would be Irene Sendler, Joesphine Baker, and Marlene Dietech. While it is true that all of the women mentioned appear in books (some of have written books), very few appear in books that are used in schools.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Righteous are as Bold as a Lion (Proverbs 28.1) March 3, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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. Her seriousness and yet she was the one who in the midst of the monstrous Roland Freisler's tirade at her trial,where she was sentenced to death, she simply shouted: 'Somebody had to make a start! What we said and wrote are what many people are thinking. They just don't dare say it out loud!' And these 26 young women said or did it out loud.

And while some were executed, many of them survived to pay testament to those who didn't, and keep up the idea of resistance to evil.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent glimpse into history for all ages April 29, 2011
By R.V.
Atwood's standout title brings to life 26 everyday women who made a difference during World War II. In brief, well-researched profiles, Atwood not only introduces these women, but really makes the reader feel as though they are getting to know them - including not only their accomplishments, but personal life details as well. There is simply not another book like it on the shelves.

The book opens with an overview of world events leading to WWII; then moves into the profiles of the women heroes, arranged by home country. I love that this book is international in scope, and includes both famous (Marlene Dietrich, Corrie Ten Boom) and everyday women.

Filled with photographs, bibliographies, and more, this is an essential title for school libraries but also a great pick for any reader interested in history. While written for Young Adult readers, this book does not flinch at the horrors of war and will appeal to readers at a higher reading level well - my 70-year old mother in law loved it and my husband enjoyed it, as did I!.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Remember the brave women who knew what was right and had the courage...
This book tells the stories of the brave women who worked against the NAZIs. It is an excellent book.
Published 5 days ago by Oak Blackheart
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly inspirational
Excellent reading. This is a great introduction to lots of other interesting seeming books. Every chapter is well documented with source and follow up material.
Published 13 days ago by Katherine Trudeau
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good information but essentially flat writing.
Published 25 days ago by JJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring!!!
“Women Heroes of WWII,” is a collection of 26 stories, each containing a tale of an inspiring woman or girl who lived and breathed during WWII. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Veronica Leigh
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!
I love history and I enjoyed this book!!
Published 1 month ago by Alan C. Hayes
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing read
This book really opened my eyes to the efforts of the people under Nazi control to pursue freedom at all costs.
Published 1 month ago by Pamela Fugate
5.0 out of 5 stars Gutsy Glorious Ladies
Reading this makes me want to know more about these gutsy smart ladies. Each one did what they felt to be right against all odds. Thank you ladies for saving & helping so many. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Wendala
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stories of courage
Read this to my 87 yr old mother, then sent to my granddaughter. Great stories of courage!
Published 2 months ago by N. Tilton
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I have to type something!
Published 2 months ago by Ross Lee
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice collection of short stories about incredible bravery in a very...
A nice collection of short stories about women who either gave their all or at least risked it durring a very dark time in modern history. We need to remember these stories. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jimmy Richard Holder
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