What We Are Reading Today: The Women with Silver Wings by Katherine Sharp Landdeck

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Updated 11 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Women with Silver Wings by Katherine Sharp Landdeck

This is the thrilling true story of the daring female aviators who helped the US win World War II — only to be forgotten by the country they served.

In The Women with Silver Wings, historian Katherine Sharp Landdeck introduces us to these young women as they meet even-tempered, methodical Nancy Love and demanding visionary Jacqueline Cochran, the trailblazing pilots who first envisioned sending American women into the air, and whose rivalry would define the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), according to review published on goodreads.com.

While not authorized to serve in combat, the WASPs helped train male pilots for service abroad and ferried bombers across the country. Thirty-eight of them would not survive the war. 

But even taking into account these tragic losses, Love and Cochran’s social experiment seemed to be a resounding success —until, with the tides of war turning and fewer male pilots needed in Europe, Congress clipped the women’s wings.


What We Are Reading Today: Divided Armies

Updated 23 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Divided Armies

Author: Jason Lyall

How do armies fight and what makes them victorious on the modern battlefield? In Divided Armies, Jason Lyall challenges long-standing answers to this classic question by linking the fate of armies to their levels of inequality.
Introducing the concept of military inequality, Lyall demonstrates how a state’s prewar choices about the citizenship status of ethnic groups within its population determine subsequent battlefield performance.
Treating certain ethnic groups as second-class citizens, either by subjecting them to state-sanctioned discrimination or, worse, violence, undermines interethnic trust, fuels grievances, and leads victimized soldiers to subvert military authorities once war begins.
The higher an army’s inequality, Lyall finds, the greater its rates of desertion, side-switching, casualties, and use of coercion to force soldiers to fight, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
In a sweeping historical investigation, Lyall draws on Project Mars, a new dataset of 250 conventional wars fought since 1800, to test this argument.