THOSE WONDERFUL WOMEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES by Sally van Wagenen Keil

THOSE WONDERFUL WOMEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It's nice to know that there were women pilots during World War II, but we don't have to meet them all, or hear tedious details about training and flights. The Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS) were ""the most exciting and admired of all women's military units,"" says Sally van Wagenen Keil, whose aunt flew with them. But the real story here seems to be the abysmal way the WASPS were treated. Women pilots weren't even recruited until after Pearl Harbor because the Air Force felt they were ""too high-strung for wartime flying."" Once in the service, they were humiliated by their male colleagues: one major slapped a WASP on the buttocks and playfully hissed ""Get"" to dismiss the group; a colonel felt it was ""unmilitary"" to have a WASP at his dinner table and ordered her away. The WASPS were summarily dismissed after the war, not even winning veteran status until 1977. Keil presents this shocking material in such offhand, non-judgmental style, that she seems to be writing from a 1940s perspective. She also ignores the current Women's Air Force, creating the impression of a void after the WASPS disbanded. Some interesting material here, but too much cloud cover.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1979
Publisher: Rawson, Wade--dist. by Atheneum