In 2010, the Army created Cultural Support Teams, a secret pilot program to insert women alongside Special Operations soldiers battling in Afghanistan. The Army reasoned that women could play a unique role on Special Ops teams: accompanying their male colleagues on raids and, while those soldiers were searching for insurgents, questioning the mothers, sisters, daughters and wives living at the compound. Their presence had a calming effect on enemy households, but more importantly, the CSTs were able to search adult women for weapons and gather crucial intelligence. They could build relationships - woman to woman - in ways that male soldiers in an Islamic country never could. In Ashley's War, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon uses on-the-ground reporting and a finely tuned understanding of the complexities of war to tell the story of CST-2, a unit of women hand-picked from the Army to serve in this highly specialized and challenging role.
The photographs taken by Charlotte T. McGraw, the official Women's Army Corps photographer during World War II, offer the single most comprehensive visual record of the approximately 140,000 women who served in the U.S. Army during the war.?
Amber Smith flew into enemy fire in some of the most dangerous combat zones in the world. One of only a few women to fly the Kiowa Warrior helicopter - whose mission, armed reconnaissance, required its pilots to stay low and fly fast, perilously close to the fight - Smith deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the elite 2-17 Cavalry Regiment, part of the legendary 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles. She rose to Pilot-in-Command and Air Mission Commander in the premier Kiowa unit in the Army, repeatedly flying into harm's way during her 2005 and 2008 deployments.
In Danger Close, Smith takes us into the heat of battle, enabling readers to feel, hear, and smell the experience of serving as a combat pilot in high-intensity warfare. This is an edge-of-the seat story of learning to perform under pressure and persevere under extreme duress - both in action against an implacable enemy and within the elite "boy's club" of Army aviation. Smith's unrelenting fight for both mastery and respect delivers universal life-lessons that will be useful to any civilian, from "earning your spurs" as a newbie to "embracing the suck" through setbacks that challenge your self-confidence to learning to trust your gut as a veteran of your profession.
Intensely personal, cinematic, poignant, and inspiring, Danger Close is a war story on one hand, and also the story of a brave pilot who fought for and earned a lifetime membership in the ranks of the best of the best.
"My dear Uncle Charles," twenty-two-year-old Genevi?ve de Gaulle wrote on May 6, 1943. "Maybe you have already heard about the different events affecting the family." The general's brother Pierre had been taken by the Gestapo; his brother Xavier, Genevi?ve's father, had escaped to Switzerland. Genevi?ve asked her uncle where she could be most useful - France? England? A French territory? When no response came immediately, she decided to stay in France to help carry out his call to resist the Nazis. Based on interviews with family members, former associates, prominent historians, and never-before-seen papers written by Genevi?ve de Gaulle, The General's Niece is the first English-language biography of Charles de Gaulle's niece, confidante, and daughter figure, Genevi?ve, to whom the legendary French general and president dedicated his war memoirs.
At the height of World War II Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, consuming more electricity than New York City. But to most of the world, the town did not exist. Thousands of civilians--many of them young women from small towns across the South--were recruited to this secret city, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work. Kept very much in the dark, few would ever guess the true nature of the tasks they performed each day in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. That is, until the end of the war when Oak Ridges secret was revealed. Drawing on the voices of the women who lived it--women who are now in their eighties and nineties-- The Girls of Atomic City rescues a remarkable, forgotten chapter of American history from obscurity.
This inspiring anthology is the first to convey the rich experiences and contributions of women in the American military in their own words - from the Revolutionary War to the present wars in the Middle East.
In excerpts from their diaries, letters, oral histories, and pension depositions - as well as from published and unpublished memoirs - generations of women reveal why and how they chose to serve their country, often breaking with social norms, even at great personal peril.
Betty Pack was charming, beautiful, and intelligent - and she knew it. As an agent for Britain's MI-6 and then America's OSS during World War II, these qualities proved crucial to her success. This is the remarkable story of this "Mata Hari from Minnesota" ?and the passions that ruled her tempestuous life - a life filled with dangerous liaisons and death-defying missions vital to the Allied victory.
For decades, much of Betty's career working for MI-6 and the OSS remained classified. Through access to recently unclassified files, Howard Blum discovers the truth about the attractive blond, codenamed "Cynthia," who seduced diplomats and military attach??s across the globe in exchange for ciphers and secrets; cracked embassy safes to steal codes; and obtained the Polish notebooks that proved key to Alan Turing's success with Operation Ultra.
Beneath Betty's cool, professional determination, Blum reveals a troubled woman conflicted by the very traits that made her successful: her lack of deep emotional connections and her readiness to risk everything. The Last Goodnight is a mesmerizing, provocative, and moving portrait of an exceptional heroine whose undaunted courage helped to save the world.
From an award-winning journalist comes this real-life cloak-and-dagger tale of Vera Atkins, one of Britain's premiere secret agents during World War II. As the head of the French Section of the British Special Operations Executive, Vera Atkins recruited, trained, and mentored special operatives whose job was to organize and arm the resistance in Nazi-occupied France. After the war, Atkins courageously committed herself to a dangerous search for twelve of her most cherished women spies who had gone missing in action. Drawing on previously unavailable sources, Helm chronicles Atkins's extraordinary life and her singular journey through the chaos of post-war Europe. Brimming with intrigue, heroics, honor, and the horrors of war, A Life in Secrets is the story of a grand, elusive woman and a tour de force of investigative journalism.
Our Mothers' War re-creates what American women from all walks of life were doing and thinking, on the home front and abroad.? After finding a journal and letters her mother had written while serving with the Red Cross in the Pacific, journalist Emily Yellin started unearthing what her mother and other women of her mother's generation went through during a time when their country asked them to step into roles they had never been invited, or allowed, to fill before.
What did it feel like to be a woman living in Paris from 1939 to 1949? These were years of fear, power, aggression, courage, deprivation and secrets until--finally--renewal and retribution. Even at the darkest moments of Occupation, with the Swastika flying from the Eiffel Tower and pet dogs abandoned howling on the streets, glamour was ever present. French women wore lipstick. Why? It was women more than men who came face to face with the German conquerors on a daily basis--perhaps selling them their clothes or travelling alongside them on the Metro, where a German soldier had priority over seats. By looking at a wide range of individuals from collaborators to resisters, actresses and prostitutes to teachers and writers, Anne Sebba shows that women made life-and-death decisions every day, and often did whatever they needed to survive. Her fascinating cast of characters includes both native Parisian women and those living in Paris temporarily--American women and Nazi wives, spies, mothers, mistresses, and fashion and jewellery designers.?
In enthralling detail Sebba explores the aftershock of the Second World War and the choices demanded. How did the women who survived to see the Liberation of Paris come to terms with their actions and those of others? Although politics lies at its heart, Les Parisiennes is a fascinating account of the lives of people of the city and, specifically, in this most feminine of cities, its women and young girls.
When SPC Kayla Williams and SGT Brian McGough met at a mountain outpost in Iraq in 2003, only their verbal sparring could have betrayed a hint of attraction. Neither could have predicted the sequence of events that would shape their lives.
Brian, on his way back to base after mid-tour leave, was wounded by a roadside bomb that sent shrapnel through his brain. Kayla waited anxiously for news and, on returning home, sought out Brian. The two began a tentative romance and later married, but neither anticipated the consequences of Brian's injury on their lives. Lacking essential support for returning veterans from the military and the VA, Kayla and Brian suffered through posttraumatic stress amplified by his violent mood swings, her struggles to reintegrate into a country still oblivious to women veterans, and what seemed the callous, consumerist indifference of civilian society at large.
Kayla persevered. So did Brian. They fought for their marriage, drawing on remarkable reservoirs of courage and commitment. They confronted their demons head-on, impatient with phoniness of any sort. Inspired by an unwavering ethos of service, they continued to stand on common ground. Finally, they found their own paths to healing and wholeness, both as individuals and as a family, in dedication to a larger community.
When Nicholas Shakespeare stumbled across a trunk full of his late aunt's personal belongings, he was unaware of where this discovery would take him and what he would learn about her hidden past. The glamorous, mysterious figure he remembered from his childhood was very different from the morally ambiguous young woman who emerged from the trove of love letters, journals and photographs, surrounded by suitors and living the precarious existence of a British citizen in a country controlled by the enemy during World War II.?
Of the thirty-eight?Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) confirmed or presumed dead in World War II, only one - Gertrude "Tommy" Tompkins - is still missing. On October 26, 1944, the 32-year-old fighter plane pilot lifted off from Mines Field in Los Angeles. She was never seen again. Seized by the Sun is the story of a remarkable woman who overcame a troubled childhood and the societal constraints of her time to find her calling flying the fastest and most powerful airplane of World War II. It is also a compelling unsolved mystery. Born in 1912 to a wealthy New Jersey family, Gertrude's childhood was marked by her mother's bouts with depression and her father's relentless search for a cure for the debilitating stutter that afflicted Gertrude throughout her life.
America has been continuously at war since the fall of 2001. This has been a matter of bitter political debate, of course, but what is uncontestable is that a sizeable percentage of American soldiers sent overseas in this era have been women. The experience in the American military is, it's safe to say, quite different from that of men. Surrounded and far outnumbered by men, imbedded in a male culture, looked upon as both alien and desirable, women have experiences of special interest.
In Soldier Girls, Helen Thorpe follows the lives of three women over twelve years on their paths to the military, overseas to combat, and back home ... and then overseas again for two of them. These women, who are quite different in every way, become friends, and we watch their interaction and also what happens when they are separated. We see their families, their lovers, their spouses, their children. We see them work extremely hard, deal with the attentions of men on base and in war zones, and struggle to stay connected to their families back home. We see some of them drink too much, have illicit affairs, and react to the deaths of fellow soldiers. And we see what happens to one of them when the truck she is driving hits an explosive in the road, blowing it up.?
In January 1943, 230 women of the French Resistance were sent to the death camps by the Nazis who had invaded and occupied their country. This is their story, told in full for the first time?a searing and unforgettable chronicle of terror, courage, defiance, survival, and the power of friendship. Moorehead, a distinguished biographer and human rights journalist,? brings to life an extraordinary story that readers of? Laura Hillenbrands Unbroken will find an essential?addition to our retelling of the history of WorldWar II?a riveting, rediscovered story of courageous women who sacrificed everything to combat the march of evil across the world.
In The Unwomanly Face of War, Alexievich chronicles the experiences of the Soviet women who fought on the front lines, on the home front, and in the occupied territories. These women - more than a million in total - were nurses and doctors, pilots, tank drivers, machine-gunners, and snipers. They battled alongside men, and yet, after the victory, their efforts and sacrifices were forgotten.
Alexievich traveled thousands of miles and visited more than a hundred towns to record these women's stories. Together, this symphony of voices reveals a different aspect of the war - the everyday details of life in combat left out of the official histories.
Translated by the renowned Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, The Unwomanly Face of War is a powerful and poignant account of the central conflict of the twentieth century, a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human side of war.
In the fall of 1941, the Philippines was a gardenia-scented paradise for the American Army and Navy nurses stationed there. War was a distant rumor, life a routine of easy shifts and dinners under the stars. On December 8 all that changed, as Japanese bombs began raining down on American bases in Luzon, and this paradise became a fiery hell. Caught in the raging battle, the nurses set up field hospitals in the jungles of Bataan and the tunnels of Corregidor, where they tended to the most devastating injuries of war, and suffered the terrors of shells and shrapnel.?But the worst was yet to come. After Bataan and Corregidor fell, the nurses were herded into internment camps where they would endure three years of fear, brutality, and starvation. Once liberated, they returned to an America that at first celebrated them, but later refused to honor their leaders with the medals they clearly deserved.
Women of Valor tells the extraordinary story of the Rochambelles, the only women's unit to serve on the front lines of World War II. Some of them had been proper young ladies stranded abroad by the German invasion of France; others had scaled the Pyr?n?es by night to escape the Nazi occupation. All of them had a deep desire to help liberate their nation, and if they couldn't fight, driving an ambulance would have to do. Organized in New York by a?wealthy American widow determined to create an all-female ambulance corps, they served with unflinching courage--saving soldiers from burning camps, dodging bombs, bullets, and mines, and even talking their way out of German hands.?With colorful, brave characters and fierce battle scenes,?Women?of Valor?is both a gripping and delightful read.
Hanna Reitsch and Melitta von Stauffenberg were talented, courageous, and strikingly attractive women who fought convention to make their names in the male-dominated field of flight in 1930s Germany. With the war, both became pioneering test pilots and were awarded the Iron Cross for service to the Third Reich. But they could not have been more different and neither woman had a good word to say for the other.
Hanna was middle-class, vivacious, and distinctly Aryan, while the darker, more self-effacing Melitta came from an aristocratic Prussian family. Both were driven by deeply held convictions about honor and patriotism; but ultimately, while Hanna tried to save Hitler's life, begging him to let her fly him to safety in April 1945, Melitta covertly supported the most famous attempt to assassinate the F??hrer. Their interwoven lives provide vivid insight into Nazi Germany and its attitudes toward women, class, and race.
The Special Operations Executive was formed by Winston Churchill in 1940 to "set Europe ablaze." In the SOE women were trained to handle guns and explosives, work undercover, endure interrogation by the Gestapo, and use complex codes. In The Women Who Lived for Danger, acclaimed historian Marcus Binney recounts the story of ten remarkable women who were dropped in occupied territories to work as secret agents.
Once they were behind enemy lines, theirs was the most dangerous war of all, as they led apparently normal civilian lives while in constant danger of arrest. They organized dropping grounds for arms and explosives destined for the Resistance, helped operate escape lines for airman who had been shot down over Europe, and provided Allied Command with vital intelligence.?
The stories of these women agents -- some famous, some virtually unknown -- are told with the help of extensive new archive material. Their exploits form a new chapter of heroism in the history of warfare matched only by their determination, resourcefulness, and ability to stay cool in the face of extreme danger.