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.
There’s really not much you can say negatively about a book that helps shed light on the heroic efforts of several women during World War II. In fact, I was in awe of their stories as well as their desire to do whatever was needed to save people and secretly fight against the Nazis. I could see this as being a good book to help younger people to understand the impact the Nazis had and the terror they spread, while also shedding light on many little factions that helped in aiding the eventual defeat of Hitler.
It was interesting to have each country segment introduce how that particular country was pulled into the war and the major roles women within that country played. Many of the stories, I’ve never once heard mentioned in any of the history courses I’ve had. In fact, the only woman in the book who I knew by name was Marlene Dietrich. And the only reason I knew of the name was it was mentioned time and time again in American Horror Story: Carnival.
I did find two faults in the book. The first deals primarily how they decided which women were placed under which country segment. For example, under the United States segment, Marlene, who was German as well as a Slovakian woman, Maria Gulovich, were featured. While both eventually became citizens of the U.S., they should have been placed in another section. Marlene being a German who openly spoke out against Hitler, is wonderful representation that not all Germans followed him blindly or remained silent out of cowardice. She belonged in the Germany section.
The other problem I had with this book is that it focuses solely on the war in Europe. With the exception of mentioning that the United States were pulled into World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, there are no stories of heroic women who were involved with the war that was raged in the Pacific. Perhaps this is due to few women being involved in that part of the war, but it still was annoying to hear only of the European side of the war.