Review: Women Heroes of World War II

Women Heroes of World War II: 26 stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue
By Kathryn J. Atwood
Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Summary from Amazon:

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.

This is a terrific volume of stories, all centering around women during World War II, in the European theater. The book is classified as juvenile or YA nonfiction, but I found it very engaging. The prose is straightforward and accessible. I really think the book would work for middle grade on up. Take note, those doing projects on WWII–your search starts here. The bibliography is extensive.

If you’re a World War II buff, the overview of the war and each country’s involvement won’t tell you anything new. However, either as a reminder or as new information, these summaries help illustrate each woman’s circumstances and challenges during the war. Plus, there’s a glossary at the back of the book as well.

If there’s a downside to this volume it’s that each woman only gets a few pages of text. Since the book is only 272 pages, that’s to be expected. At the end of each segment, the author includes a list of additional resources on each woman, including memoirs, biographies, movies, and more. Plus, as I mentioned, there’s an extensive bibliography at the end of the book.

Engaging, easy to read, informative? Yes, yes, and yes. I recommend Women Heroes of World War II for both the budding and established history buff.


Filed under Book Review, Books, YA

4 responses to “Review: Women Heroes of World War II

  1. A book for the week. Alex reviewed this yesterday on The Children’s War:
    I’m glad you both liked it and now I really, really want to read it.

  2. Great minds must truly think alike 🙂 I enjoyed your review of this book and I will be watching your blog too. Thanks for stopping by The Children’s War.

  3. Even though you don’t get a whole lot of info about each of the women, it still sounds fascinating. I’ve linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

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