Cover Image: Valiant Women

Valiant Women

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I really liked the premise and appreciated thr broad scope of women highlighted. I would have preferred to go more in depth with some of them to create more interest. Overall a good book with an interesting topic.

Was this review helpful?

"Valiant Women: The Extraordinary American Servicewomen Who Helped Win World War II" by Lena S. Andrews is a poignant and compelling tribute to the remarkable women who played vital roles in America's victory during World War II. Through meticulous research and vivid storytelling, Andrews shines a spotlight on the often overlooked contributions of female service members to the war effort. Andrews examines the ways in which the war provided new opportunities for women to assert themselves and challenge traditional gender norms, paving the way for future generations of female service members.

Was this review helpful?

Well written and engaging, but be aware there are a lot of names and acronyms to keep track of.
Thank you to Mariner Books and NetGalley for the ARC!

Was this review helpful?

Andrews brings the women of World War II to life in this incredibly detailed nonfiction book. Andrews explores every branch of the armed forces, from the Army and Navy to the Air Force and the Signals Corps, and explores the lives of many enlisted women of all backgrounds, races, social classes, and sexual orientations. Drawing on personal papers, official government and military documents, and the work of other historians, Andrews builds a narrative of women’s auxiliary duties and support of American armed forces at home, in the European theater, and in the Pacific theater of World War II. Combining several individual narratives within the women’s auxiliary organizations, Andrews exposes the breadth of women’s military service and activities at a time where women’s social, political, and economic rights were still limited by custom and status quo. Andrews’ research -- including archival materials, interviews, and military history and strategy -- contextualizes the hard work and duties of these hundreds of thousands of American women who served their country and frames it as a larger duty, not simply an extension of their traditional roles in the household or as support for the men. Andrews has created a fascinating, comprehensive history of American servicewomen during World War II and successfully brought their stories to life.

Was this review helpful?

Full review of this inspiring and informative book is published at:

Was this review helpful?

Reading this book was rather timely for me because my library institution had recently done a local history presentation on women's contributions in the war effort during WWII, and one of the women was a WAC. It was really nice to have a broad overview of each of the military branches and the women who joined them as it helped to add context for me. I think the author also wrote this in an interesting way, and I didn't feel bored at all by the material. It amazed me actually how many of these women were still living, and I think it's very important to capture there stories along with the greater story of women's contributions in the military. Wonderful read!

Was this review helpful?

A very good book that explains the history of women in the US military to life with accounts of several of these trailblazing women. For those of us who have only known the military as it is today, this is an enlightening book of history, made even more meaningful as a woman is now becoming the head of the Navy!

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely love when a book gives you new facts and new perspectives. Lena Andrews' Valiant Women takes a look at the role of American women during World War II. Sure, we can all conjure an image of Rosie the Riveter easily. For those in the Army, you probably even know about the WAC (or WAAC). However, there is much more than that in Andrews' book.

First things first. Andrews writes a smooth narrative. Her style makes it easy to zoom right through the book. Also, the organization is even better. Each chapter focuses on a different branch or aspect of the war with a short look at a specific woman involved whether it's a high ranking officer or a brand new recruit. You don't spend a ton of time with any one person, but this allows Andrews to spread the story far and wide.

I think my favorite part of this book is the scale. Andrews covers so much ground that it gave me a better appreciation for the scope of women's efforts during World War II. I love Rosie as much as the next person, but there was a lot more heroic effort than just her.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Mariner Books.)

Was this review helpful?

World War II was a huge turning point in the American way of life. The war machine was just about to get fired up and with the Japanese forcing America into the war quicker than initially thought, there were going to be a lot of needs foreign and domestic.

Lena Andrews highlights the heroic actions of the women of the United States and their sacrifices by leaving industrial and academia sectors to build women-led branches of military service. The questions of when and why women were introduced into the military complex have been answered time and time again, but the how, that’s very intriguing. How vital were Oveta Culp Hobby and Ann Baumgartner in the performance and selection of women into a men’s only league at the time? They were just two women who had but a small part during their time.

From the needs of the Army and Navy to the uniforms that were being worn, to where basic training for women was based, Valiant Women by Lena Andrews answers all of that and more. Andrews elegantly written history shows the true courage of the women of the United States during one of its most dangerous times.

I am a Navy veteran of 14 years and got to see firsthand the excellence of female submariners during their implementation onto submarines after decades of not being allowed. I feel like I was a part of something special and unique that can’t be overshadowed. The smart and faithful women that devoted their lives to helping the United States during World War II can’t be thanked enough and Andrews highlights just a moment in time and how they broached the surface of a culture shift decades ago. Those changes laid the framework for the continued integration of men and women into mathematical, scientific, and other engineering and combat careers that couldn’t have been thought of years before. Do yourself a favor and reflect on the stories of such courageousness and selflessness that the women of the United States Armed Services have endured and how thankful we are that they have given their blood, sweat, and tears.

Was this review helpful?

Valiant Women gives you insider perspective into the women's entry into the US Military. This book focuses solely on WWII and the different roles served by women in the US Army, Navy, Air Force etc. While many of us know that women served as nurses on the battle fields, few of us know that women also served in clerical roles, pilots, instructors, code breakers, artists, translators. When the opportunities opened for women to serve their countries women stepped up and showed out - despite the many hurdles they needed to overcome.

Andrews writes such a great narrative. I loved that there is a chapter dedicated to the different sections of the military where women served. I was also happy to see that she included chapters on the experience of women of color and same sex relationships. I also loved that each chapter focuses on the story of at least one woman's experience before panning out to a general discussion.

Definitely recommend this read especially if you love military history. It's well researched and well written. About damn time that these women's service gets some recognition.

Thank you NetGalley & Mariner Books for the advanced copy.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Netgalley and Mariner books for access to this arc.

The book begins with a run down of the world situation in the late 1930s and how woefully unprepared the US military was. Not only were the standing branches of the military low in numbers of trained men but tactics and weaponry had drastically changed in the last 20 years.This was going to be the first war in which the US had fought that it couldn't manage to fill its needs both in domestic productivity and in service with only men. Luckily General Marshall had already pushed to start beefing up production, supplies, and training. While needed to set the stage, these chapters were a little repetitious.

While women might have been eager and willing to join and help win WWII, it would be a long and hard slog to get some of the men to accept them in this role. Even the seeming shoo-in of nursing personnel was, at the time, a fairly recent and still somewhat controversial profession. It was mainly the Great Depression that spurred women to enter, and their families to accept, nursing. But nursing in the military? surrounded by men? dealing with knowledge of male bodies? shameful! However nurses were the first in line - in Pearl Harbor and the Philippines - to encounter the war. Several nurses in the Philippines declined to be evacuated, despite knowing of Japanese atrocities against women and nurses, because the wounded under their care needed their help.

The women's auxiliary services were slowly brought on board in fits and starts as the various services accepted that women could free men for combat roles. Cutesy names - except for the Marine Corps whose commandant (sadly also a racist) flatly refused saying that these women were Marines - decided and uniforms designed (Navy the best, Army the worst) most of the women leading them were handed all the responsibility but none of the authority needed to get the job done easily. Sadly the female (possibly queer) physician and daughter of Chinese immigrants whose lobbying got the WAVES off the ground (pun intended) was denied the chance to lead them due to her age.

The fact that the WAACs were not (until mid 1943) officially in the Army would cause issues as they were not initially eligible for the same pay, pension, and benefits of service. That the WAAC leader was a White Southern woman was concerning to Blacks worried about discrimination (which they did face in all the services). The WAVES got off to a better start but soon found that they had to use the age-old tactic of making their male counterparts think that an idea was theirs in order to get it accepted and done.

Women in these auxiliary forces also had to face sexism, harrassment, the risk of assault and rape, and public accusations of being out to take men's jobs plus were called prostitutes. The higher-ups did accept that the women who had answered the call to service were of the more adventurous persuasion and provided a Sex Education manual that was astonishingly frank for its day. But the military was no more ready to accept lesbians than homosexuals.

Part two begins to take us overseas and show the often horrific conditions under which nurses had to work and the fact that two years later the nurses captured in the Philippines were still POWs. By 1944, the public at large and most of the military brass (including Eisenhower who was enthusiastic about the work the [now changed to] WACs were doing) had accepted that women could help the war effort in these jobs although women in the field still faced skeptical or sometimes hostile men.

Many of the women interviewed for this book seemed to dismiss their contributions as being exceptional. According to the author, others appeared to feel that what they did wasn't <i>real</i> war work. But after the war, many of these women continued their tradition of service to their communities. What they did mattered and we need to remember it. This well written and accessible book will help with that. B

Was this review helpful?

I knew that women help win WWII. But their contributions tend to be left out of the history books. So it was nice to read a book that highlighted their contributions.

Was this review helpful?

Very good!
I like how seriously the author took the womens' service, how important it seemed to her to validate them after all the years of talking about only the men from the war. I had previously read a book on American army nurses, and articles on the detachment of Black women who fixed the postal problem in Europe, but had not realized the scope of womens' service myself. I was especially impressed by the stories of the pilots, but the entire book was solid. I was sad that it didn't go quite as in-depth as the nurses' book I had previously read, but then I suppose it would have been too heavy to pick up. This seems to me a very needed book and I'm glad it is there; I think collections on WWII now need both this volume and Half American by Matthew Delmont to be complete.

Was this review helpful?

I thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for providing me with a free ebook ARC in exchange for my honest review.

#ValiantWomen #NetGalley

Important topic. Mediocre product.

I really wanted to like this book. Given the topic, I expected to like this book. Everything about it was right in my wheelhouse. WW2 history, under-researched topic, women's role in the military, first-wave feminism...all there, and it was...okay. It was interesting and well researched, but it was like listening to a pretty decent college professor lecture about an interesting topic. I'm not even sure about what I feel is missing, but I just wasn't drawn in. The first part of the book discusses how the various branches of the US military finally saw the advantages of including women in one way or another. At the time, the roles that they were given were very limited and, in general, far away from the front lines, but even that was a completely new concept.

There are short biographical sketches of the women who were chosen to lead the women's divisions of the five branches of the military, and these were all interesting enough, but it was like reading a report rather than a deep dive into their experiences. Even in the later sections where we are introduced to a number of the women who did the daily work that often seemed inconsequential but was essential in the war effort, there was very little that you might not find reading a plaque next to an exhibit at a museum, nothing that made these extraordinary women more than two-dimensional, which perhaps is what I expected.

The stories of the women who served in WW2 deserve to be told. This might be a start, but I had hoped for something much more substantial.

Was this review helpful?

Fascinating history of women who served in uniform in World War II. They served as cryptologists, draftspersons, nurses, oceanographers, spies, teachers, postal workers, and more. While they earned half of what men were paid and did not receive rank, they were key in the war effort.
The author was able to interview women who had served and her research into archives comes through in riveting storytelling.

Was this review helpful?

I was really excited about this book and am so happy the subject of women in World War II is getting some love. It's about dang time!
However, this is more of an overview of World War II and how the various branches of the US military acquired their first female recruits. One or two of the women are highlighted in each chapter, but aside from a few vignettes, there is little day-t0-day detail.
A fairly dry account of obvious issues such as race and sexism. Though well-researched, I felt a lack of engagement and feel it would have benefitted from a less academic approach.


Was this review helpful?

Valiant Women
By Lena S. Andrew’s
Pub Date: August 1, 2023
Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in e change for my honest opinion.
This is the important history of how women contributed to the winning of the American WWII efforts.
She has done a wonderful job gathering facts from multiple sources.
5 stars

Was this review helpful?

Release Date: August 1, 2023


Valiant Women is the story of the 350,000 American women who served in uniform during World War II. These women—who hailed from every race, creed, and walk of life—died for their country and received the nation’s highest honors. Their work, both individually and in total, was at the heart of the Allied strategy that won World War II. Often the women themselves kept their stories private, even from their own families. Now, military analyst Lena Andrews corrects the record with the definitive and comprehensive historical account of American servicewomen during World War II, based on new archival research, firsthand interviews with surviving veterans, and a deep professional understanding of military history and strategy.

My gram was a WAVE (women’s accepted for volunteer emergency service), so this book was especially meaningful and poignant for me. The book even talked about a college where she did her training! Rosie is the most well known female figure from WWII but there was so much more going on for women than just maintaining the home front and that is often left out of the history books. I highly recommend this fascinating read!!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

#Valiantwomen #lenaandrews #marinerbooks #theextrorindarywomenwhohelpedwinwwii #bookreview #bookstagram #booklover #bookstagram #bookworm #booknerd #booktok #bookrecommendations #bibliophile #booksofinstagram #readersofinstagram #bookblogger #igreads #goodreads #bookclub #bookreviews #bookbloggersofinstagram

Was this review helpful?

Valiant Women is an important history of how women contributed to the winning of the American WWII efforts on multiple fronts; the struggles and prejudices they faced to even be allowed to participate; their lasting legacy in a society where men were supposed to be the actors and women were supposed to be submissively waiting at home. This reader was appalled at how several service branches refused their women recruits the same basic military status support that male soldiers received and the fear by women pilots that the maintenance done on planes they flew wasn’t necessarily as thorough as it was for the male pilots. Segregation issues also are addressed. Author Lena S. Andrews has done a wonderful job gathering information from multiple sources including as many of these pioneers or their relatives as possible and sharing their insights and stories. I voluntarily reviewed an advance copy of this book from NetGalley. Most highly recommend.

Was this review helpful?

Valiant Women: The Extraordinary American Servicewomen Who Helped Win World War II by Lena S. Andrews is a great nonfiction and historical account that brings to light many of the roles that women filled during WWII.

The author’s passion, interest, and impressive amount of research is evident in this book that highlights, describes, illuminates and informs the world of just how vital women were to the war effort of WWII. They came from all avenues and situations and picked up the baton to work hard, serve their country, and do their part to help fight the battles within and around during the war. Just how many facets they added to, and were instrumental and vital to the success of, is truly the breathtaking take away. It just shows how important women were, and are, to the success of so many things.

I really appreciate the author presenting this gem.

4/5 stars

Thank you NG and Mariner Books for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 8/1/23.

Was this review helpful?