The Female Combat Pilots Of The Soviet Union 's Air Force During World War II Essay

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In her book on the female combat pilots of the Soviet Union 's air force in World War II, former US Air Force intelligence officer turned historian Reina Pennington meets the war on the eastern front at an intersection of women 's history, military history, and Soviet social history. Wings, Women, and War is the first scholarly survey of this topic, and it covers these units ' formation, training, performance, and post-war demobilization. The book 's foreword author, eastern front historian John Erikson called it a "behavioral, institutional, and operational" study of women pilots throughout the Second World War. Though at some points Pennington struggles to balance her coverage from each of those angles, Wings, Women, and War is still a rich and useful study that disengages with present-day politics and agendas and embraces the nuances and complexity of its subjects. The book’s structure is not driven by a central thesis. The lack of thematic throughlines and overarching arguments make it difficult to parse the information contained within each section. Pennington opts to break down the study loosely by chronology into three major sections. The first section includes some useful historical context on women 's evolving roles in Soviet society before the war and aviation 's rise in prominence in Soviet culture. This context informs Pennington 's evaluation on why the women 's aviation regiments were formed at all. She argues against the typical answers to this

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