Thursday, May 7, 2015

“Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics,” by Kathryn J. Atwood

In time for the 2014 centennial of the start of the Great War, this book brings to life the brave and often surprising exploits of 16 fascinating women from around the world who served their countries at a time when most of them didn’t even have the right to vote. Readers meet 17-year-old Frenchwoman Emilienne Moreau, who assisted the Allies as a guide and set up a first-aid post in her home to attend to the wounded; Russian peasant Maria Bochkareva, who joined the Imperial Russian Army by securing the personal permission of Tsar Nicholas II, was twice wounded in battle and decorated for bravery, and created and led the all-women combat unit the “Women’s Battalion of Death” on the eastern front; and American journalist Madeleine Zabriskie Doty, who risked her life to travel twice to Germany during the war in order to report back the truth, whatever the cost. These and other suspense-filled stories of brave girls and women are told through the use of engaging narrative, dialogue, direct quotes, and document and diary excerpts to lend authenticity and immediacy. Introductory material opens each section to provide solid historical context, and each profile includes informative sidebars and “Learn More” lists of relevant books and websites, making this a fabulous resource for students, teachers, parents, libraries, and homeschoolers.


Kathryn J. Atwood is the author of “Women Heroes of World War II,” “Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics,” and the editor of “Code Name Pauline: Memoirs of a World War II Special Agent.” She has contributed to War, Literature, and the Arts,, Midwest Book Review, and Women’s Independent Press. To learn more about her, check out her website at

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by author Kathryn J. Atwood and offered a free copy of her first book (Women Heroes of WWII) and in return I would do a book review of it on my blog. Then she asked if I would also do a review on her latest work, “Women Heroes of World War I: Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies and Medics.” I had some prior knowledge of WWI, although my interest mainly lies with WWII and the Holocaust. The cause of WWI stemmed from various conditions going on in Europe, mostly to do with nationalism. Unlike WWII, there was no definitive good and bad side. After four years of continual fighting, the war came to an end in 1918 and though the Allies were the victors, much of the world was still in chaos. The war spawned revolutions, economical failures and twenty years later a second world war.

During the war, on all sides, while men fought, the women stepped up and not only took on more masculine occupations, they took an active part in the war itself. From rescuing downed pilots, to spying, to nursing, women were determined to prove themselves. Of all the accounts included in this book, I think it was Edith Cavell’s story that resonated with me the most. While I was happy to see the Romanovs, Russia’s royal family, and their contributions were mentioned as well. Though a genuinely good family, they were poor rulers; however they were actively involved in the war effort. The Tsarina and her daughters nursed wounded soldiers. What surprised me was how many Russian women fought alongside the men. It was estimated that at least 1000 women fought.

I love “Women Heroes of World War I: Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies and Medics,” and may have learned more from it than I did Atwood’s previous book. It is perfect for teens, or anyone really, looking for an introduction to WWI history. Well, and women’s history too. Thank you, Kathryn Atwood for sending this book to me!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry I don't post on your blog very often. I'm glad you were able to review the book, as well as get a free copy! :)

    So how are things going in your life? I know at one point you had started driving; how is that going? Are you more comfortable with it?

    Talk to you later!