Cover image for A thousand sisters : the heroic airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II
Title:
A thousand sisters : the heroic airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II
ISBN:
9780062453013
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2019]

©2019
Physical Description:
388 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Contents:
Battle cry: a prologue -- The future war -- The great patriotic war: the first year: 1941-1942 -- The great patriotic war: the second year: 1942-1943 -- The great patriotic war: the third and fourth years: 1943-1945 -- After the war.
Summary:
In the early years of World War II, Josef Stalin issued an order that made the Soviet Union the first country in the world to allow female pilots to fly in combat. Led by Marina Raskova, these three regiments, including the 588th Night Bomber Regiment--nicknamed the "night witches"--faced intense pressure and obstacles both in the sky and on the ground. Some of these young women perished in flames. Many of them were in their teens when they went to war. This is the story of Raskova's three regiments, women who enlisted and were deployed on the front lines of battle as navigators, pilots, and mechanics. It is the story of a thousand young women who wanted to take flight to defend their country, and the woman who brought them together in the sky. Packed with black-and-white photographs, fascinating sidebars, and thoroughly researched details, A Thousand Sisters is the inspiring true story of a group of women who set out to change the world, and the sisterhood they formed even amid the destruction of war.
Genre:
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Teen 940.544 Wein
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Teen 940.54 WEIN
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Summary

Summary

The gripping true story of the only women to fly in combat in World War II--from Elizabeth Wein, award-winning author of Code Name Verity

In the early years of World War II, Josef Stalin issued an order that made the Soviet Union the first country in the world to allow female pilots to fly in combat. Led by Marina Raskova, these three regiments, including the 588th Night Bomber Regiment--nicknamed the "night witches"--faced intense pressure and obstacles both in the sky and on the ground. Some of these young women perished in flames. Many of them were in their teens when they went to war.

This is the story of Raskova's three regiments, women who enlisted and were deployed on the front lines of battle as navigators, pilots, and mechanics. It is the story of a thousand young women who wanted to take flight to defend their country, and the woman who brought them together in the sky.

Packed with black-and-white photographs, fascinating sidebars, and thoroughly researched details, A Thousand Sisters is the inspiring true story of a group of women who set out to change the world, and the sisterhood they formed even amid the destruction of war.


Author Notes

Elizabeth Wein was born in New York City in 1964. She went to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where she earned a PhD in Folklore and held a Javits Fellowship.

Elizabeth Wein first five books for young adults are set in Arthurian Britain and sixth century Ethiopia. The Mark of Solomon, was published in two parts as The Lion Hunter (2007) and The Empty Kingdom (2008). The Lion Hunter was short-listed for the Andre Norton Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction in 2008.

Elizabeth's novel for teens, Code Name Verity, published by Egmont UK, Disney-Hyperion and Doubleday Canada in 2012, is a World War II thriller in which two young girls, one a Resistance spy and the other a transport pilot, become unlikely best friends. Code Name Verity has received widespread critical acclaim including being shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, it is a Michael Printz Award Honor Book, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards Honor Book, and an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book. It is also a New York Times Bestseller in young adult fiction. She is also the author of Black Dove, White Raven.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-From Wein, author of Code Name Verity, comes a nonfiction account of the women pilots of the Soviet Union. Starting prior to World War II, Wein describes how aviation became a hobby and passion for many young women in the Soviet Union. When World War II started, life under the Soviet system meant women could serve as pilots, theoretically equal to men, in the war effort. Wein provides a meticulously detailed account of Marina Raskova's Aviation Regiments: the 586th Fighter Aviation Regiment, the 587th Bomber Aviation Regiment, and the 588th Night Bomber Aviation Regiment. These three were largely staffed with women volunteers and fought on the frontlines of the war. The author provides an intimate look at the pilots' lives, both personal and military, as they work to defeat the Nazis. Likewise, Wein does not shy away from describing the difficult and often terrifying aspects of living under Stalin, including descriptions of man-made famines and the Great Purge. Some readers may have difficulty keeping track of all of the figures, but Raskova often acts as an anchor to assist readers in following the numerous and complex accounts. VERDICT Recommend this richly detailed work of nonfiction to fans of Monica Hesse and Wein's historical fiction.-Kaetlyn Phillips, Yorkton, Sask. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

In this engrossing account, Wein (The Pearl Thief) introduces three Soviet regiments of female combat pilots during WWII. The chapters cover the ambitions, training, daily life, horrors, and successes of the "thousand sisters" who volunteered to join their commander, Marina Raskova, for this perilous work. The opening sections about Raskova's rise to prominence are particularly well-written and include helpful background on the Soviet Union's formation, Stalin, and the 1930s, as well as the 1938 flight of the Rodina, which made Raskova a household name. Once the regiments disperse to separate locations, each with a different mission and type of aircraft, the narrative becomes trickier to manage. Wein successfully reminds readers of locations and who's who, but some of the later chapters suffer from name overload. Still, readers will be impressed by her clear, casual style and her affecting introduction to these courageous, determined pilots, mechanics, and navigators. Insets provide information on side subjects, such as radar vs. radio and female pilots in the U.S. and Britain. Abundant archival photos, a bibliography, and source notes support the story. Ages 13-up. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

Wein has written plenty of novels starring daring women flyers, but sometimes the truth is just as compelling as fiction. Such is the case of the three WWII Soviet women's flight regiments she profiles here. Wein lucidly describes the pilots' air battles, crash landings, and escapes, as well as the more mundane details of barracks life, including the drudgery of maintaining their aircraft in the harsh Russian winter; their attempts to adapt their too-big men's uniforms (such as improvised silk underwear from pilfered parachutes); and the deep-seated affection that developed among the women. Of course, this is a book about combat, and deaths are frequent and heartbreaking. Incorporating plenty of primary documents and copious source notes, this is exceptionally well researched, and Wein offers plenty of helpful historical and cultural context to drive the concepts home. While the litany of names, titles, and troop movements can get repetitive, these are nevertheless thrilling stories packed with lively detail, and the fascinating topic, still relatively unknown, should lure a broad range of readers.--Sarah Hunter Copyright 2018 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

SUGAR RUN, by Mesha Maren. (Algonquin, $26.95.) An ex-convict returns to her Appalachian roots in this debut novel. The literary lineages here are hard-boiled fiction and film noir - but by exploring place, connection and redemption in the face of the justice system, Maren creates bold takes on those venerable genres. ANNE FRANK'S DIARY: The Graphic Adaptation, adapted by Ari Folman. Illustrated by David Polonsky. (Pantheon, $24.95.) By turning the famous diary of a girl hiding from the Nazis into a graphic novel, Folman and Polonsky bring out its wit and humor in whimsical illustrations capturing Anne's rich imaginative life. REVOLUTION SUNDAY, by Wendy Guerra. Translated by Achy Obejas. (Melville House, paper, $16.99.) This Cuban novel, about a poet facing political and personal questions amid the loosening grip of socialism, plays with expectations; as often as Guerra gives a concrete description of Havana, she gives one that dances and evades. GHOST WALL, by Sarah Moss. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $22.) This compact, riveting novel, about a 17-year-old working-class girl forced by her parents to join a re-enactment of Iron Age Britain, asks us to question our complicity in violence, particularly against women. MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER, by Oyinkan Braithwaite. (Doubleday, $22.95.) Murders litter this debut novel by a young Nigerian writer, but the book is less about crime than about the complexities of sibling bonds, as well as the way two sisters manage to survive in a corrupt city that suffocates women at every turn. THE BREAKTHROUGH: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer, by Charles Graeber. (Twelve, $28.) Training the body's immune system to fight disease now offers the most promising developments in the effort to battle cancer. Graeber recounts the treatment's 19th-century origins and provides a panoramic view of the work being done today to make it effective. TODDLER-HUNTING: And Other Stories, by Taeko Kono. Translated by Lucy North, with an additional translation by Lucy Lower. (New Directions, paper, $16.95.) As nonchalantly as some authors might describe a character's hair, Kono details her characters' taboo desires. First published in the '60s, these stories all retain interest. WE ARE DISPLACED: My Journey and Stories From Refugee Girls Around the World, by Malala Yousafzai. (Little, Brown, $18.99; ages 12 and up.) The world's youngest Nobel laureate gathers stirring stories of displacement from nine other girls. A THOUSAND SISTERS: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II, by Elizabeth Wein. (Balzer + Bray, $19.99; ages 13 and up.) The powerful tale of the all-female Soviet air regiments who flew 24,000 missions to help defeat the Nazis. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books