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Publisher's Summary

“With the fate of the free world hanging in the balance, women pilots went aloft to serve their nation.... A soaring tale in which, at long last, these daring World War II pilots gain the credit they deserve.” (Liza Mundy, New York Times best-selling author of Code Girls)

"A powerful story of reinvention, community and ingenuity born out of global upheaval." (Newsday)

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At 22, Fort had escaped Nashville’s debutante scene for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii. She and her student were in the middle of their lesson when the bombs began to fall, and they barely made it back to ground that morning. Still, when the US Army Air Forces put out a call for women pilots to aid the war effort, Fort was one of the first to respond. She became one of just over 1,100 women from across the nation to make it through the Army’s rigorous selection process and earn her silver wings. 

The brainchild of trailblazing pilots Nancy Love and Jacqueline Cochran, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) gave women like Fort a chance to serve their country - and to prove that women aviators were just as skilled as men. While not authorized to serve in combat, the WASP helped train male pilots for service abroad, and ferried bombers and pursuits across the country. Thirty-eight WASP would not survive the war. But even taking into account these tragic losses, Love and Cochran’s social experiment seemed to be a resounding success - until, with the tides of war turning, Congress clipped the women’s wings. The program was disbanded, the women sent home. But the bonds they’d forged never failed, and over the next few decades they came together to fight for recognition as the military veterans they were - and for their place in history.

©2020 Katherine Sharp Landdeck (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

The Women with Silver Wings is the true story of America’s unsung heroines of World War II. Katherine Sharp Landdeck has written a beautifully researched tribute to the courageous women who bravely served their nation in a time of need.” (Fannie Flagg, New York Times best-selling author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion)

“With meticulous research and breathless pacing, The Women with Silver Wings will make you soar with pride at the daring and commitment of America’s first women military pilots - and cheer for the men who backed them to the end.” (Elizabeth Cobbs, Professor and Melbern Glasscock Chair in American History at Texas A&M University and author of The Hello Girls: America’s First Women Soldiers

“A must-read for those interested in women’s and World War II history.” (Library Journal, starred review)

What listeners say about The Women with Silver Wings

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To Remember

I had never before heard of the WASPs until there was a program on TV. I immediately went looking for a book on the subject and this is the first I found. As " The Greatest Generation" is leaving us in large numbers, it is so important, now more than ever, that their stories get told. I found myself in awe of each woman's story as it was told in "The Women With Silver Wings". these women are heros and their with should never be forgotten. I, as a female medical officer in the US Navy, was inspired. It is OUR duty to remember!

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Excellent

This is a bit different than other books on this topic in that it is a collection of stories about various women pilots, many of them were members of the 99. (The 99 was an organization of the first women pilots established by Amelia Earhart.) The book is well written and researched. I enjoyed the intimate stories of the various women rather than a board explanation of what the women pilots did in WWII. The first group that was developed was the Women Auxiliary Ferry Squadron (WAFS) organized and lead by Nancy Love. This was a smaller group of highly skilled women pilots with more than 500 hours in the more powerful planes. The other group was led by the famous aviatrix, Jacqueline Cochrane, and named Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Cochrane recruited not only licensed women pilots but women who wanted to learn to fly and the Army Air Corps trained them. Landdeck told the stories of the experience of fairly famous pilots but also of those who learned to fly in the program. The last section of the book is about their fight to prove they existed and to be recognized as WWII veterans. I am particularly interested in this topic because I have had several friends who were WASPs. Like so many that served in WWII, they have passed on and took their stories with them. The book is ten hours and fifty-three minutes. Gabra Zachman does a good job narrating the book. Zachman is an actress and audiobook narrator.

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Women of the Air

Great Book of the history, I learned so much about women pilots. If you are interested in the history of women pilots I recommend this book.

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Great book and a great story

I enjoyed this book very much and I thought the author did a wonderful job on presenting the story of the WASP.

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Amazing women pilots

I truly enjoyed this book written about the WASP women pilots. I would recommend this book to anyone I know. I'm proud of all the work that these women have done.

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Thank you

omg! get this book and listen to this book. Thank you author and narrator and Wasp!

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  • Roshie
  • 09-14-20

Highly recommended, loved this audiobook!

These incredibly inspiring women deserve to have their story shared widely! The audiobook was easy to follow, a pleasure to hear, and while at times sad at hearing what they had to go through, I'm definitely thrilled to have been let in on the adventures they lived :)