I've been starting to research the next book in the Tinker Creek series, particularly regarding a critical female character who is a veteran of the Women Airforce Service Pilots in WWII. Since I didn't know anything about these women or the WASP program, I feel fortunate to have found The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Katherine Sharp Landdeck.
I find Women with Silver Wings useful for a couple of reasons. First, Landdeck is an engaging and accessible writer. As a fan of history, I lose patience when someone muddles my beloved subject by presenting it in a dry, dull way that deadens interest rather than encourages it. Landdeck's writing is far from that; she gives the facts and fires the imagination.
Second, Landdeck did much of the original research for the book, citing other published works in the book's notes and interviews with some of the women, as well their diaries, letters, and family members. As over 1,100 women were total participants in the program and the U.S. Veteran's Administration reports that roughly 234 WW II veterans die each day, the window to collect first-person accounts of events and exploits is rapidly closing.
Finally, Landdeck brings an infectious enthusiasm to the subject that helps the readers see the facts she presents through new eyes. In an age where the only thing blocking international flights is the costs and need for passports, Landdeck returns readers to when the obstacles were sufficient to fuel, human stamina, airplane design, and garden variety pluck. It's a refreshing shift of perspective, and I appreciate her helping me make it.