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

4.5 out of 5 stars 157 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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 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, PopMatters.com, Midwest Book Review, and Women’s Independent Press.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1180L (What's this?)
  • Series: Women of Action
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; First Ed 1st Printing edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556529619
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556529610
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book even though I had read several of the stories before. It is a brief overview of several women who played roles in WWII. I think it would be fun for a younger teenager who is just learning about this part of history. I wouldn't recommend it to someone who already has read several books on WWII and the Holocaust. The book is well put together and makes nice transitions from story to story, but it was a little but juvenile for me.
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