One of the many benefits of working as a adult services librarian in a public library is meeting lots of nice people. I met Kathryn Atwood when I booked her and her husband John, collectively known as the History Singers, to present one of their programs at Thomas Ford. They have several programs linking history to songs of the past, and we've invited them back to the library several times. Now Kathryn has proven how they are as serious about the history as the music, for she has written an excellent book, Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue.
In her new collective biography, Kathryn recounts the heroic actions of women in the European theater of battle of World War II. Each quick-reading story profiles a woman who decided that surviving the war was insufficient and that active opposition to Nazi troops and agents was necessary to overthrow the menace of Hitler's regime. Some wrote and distributed anti-Nazi literature, others sheltered Jews and Allied soldiers, and still others became spies and saboteurs. All endangered their own lives. German, Polish, French, Dutch, Belgian, Danish, British, and American women are included.
Women Heroes of World War II is an admiring and nicely illustrated tribute that may be enjoyed by many ages. Seniors who remember the time will appreciate Kathryn's attention to the stories from their youth, baby boomers can learn about what shaped their parents, and younger readers can gain some knowledge of what will probably seem to them like the distant past. The immediacy and drama of the stories should hook even reluctant readers. School and public libraries should consider Women Heroes of World War II for teen and adult collections.
Kathryn is coming to Thomas Ford to discuss her book this summer. We'll post details later.
Atwood, Kathryn J. Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue. Chicago Review Press, 2011. 266p. ISBN 9781556529610.