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Brand: Helena Page Schrader

Sisters In Arms: The Women Who Flew World War II

by Helena Page Schrader

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Sisters in Arms : The Women Who Flew in World War II

During World War II, a few, carefully selected women in the US and the UK were briefly given the unprecedented opportunity to fly military aircraft. Yet the story of these pioneer women pilots is made even more intriguing by the fact that, despite many notable similarities in the utilisation and organisation of the women in their respective countries, they experienced radically different fates. Throughout the war, the contribution of the women of the British ATA to the war effort was recognized and praised both from official quarters and in the press.

By contrast, the American WASPs were first glamorized and made into Hollywood stars - and then subjected to a slander campaign. What accounts for this dramatic difference in the treatment of women pilots doing essentially the same job? This book seeks to answer these questions. The women who participated in the ATA and WASP have been allowed to speak for themselves.

The story these women have to tell is exciting and intriguing.

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Helena Page Schrader writes a comprehensive history of the women pilots who flew during World War Two in her book Sisters in Arms. She aims to ascertain how and why there were so many differences between the British and American services and the impact this had on the women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) and why one attracted praise and the other criticism. The writer compares the inception, development, recruitment, training, terms of service including pay and conditions of the pioneer women of the ATA in the UK with their counterparts in WASP of the USA. She tells of the politics involved in the instigation of women being allowed to fly for their country during wartime and how this differed in the two countries. Helena highlights the variation in treatment of the women pilots, even though they often flew side by side and performed the same duties. The ATA enjoyed equal status and privileges to their male counterparts and were eventually given equal pay. They were highly respected; their achievements feted by the media and appreciated by everyone, including royalty. On the other hand the WASP lacked equality in status, privilege and pay; were exploited by the media, turned into stars by Hollywood, only to fall from grace and lose respect from their fellow countrymen. Helena is highly critical of Jacqueline Cochran, and her struggle for power to the detriment of the women of the WASP but praises Pauline Gower for her success in the leadership of the ATA. Quotes, stories and interviews with some of the pilots are included as well as plenty of photographs but unfortunately very few pilots are named. There are extensive notes, too. Finally, the conclusion is not to be missed! Will you agree; has she answered the questions? I recommend you read the book to find out! Stella Sass Friends of The National Archives http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/get-involved/friends.htm Friends of The National Archives