Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
As World War II began, Josef Stalin issued an order allowing Soviet women to fly in defense of their country. This would make the Soviet Union the first nation in the world to permit female pilots to fight in combat. Led by Marina Raskova, three regiments of women aviators formed the 586th Fighter Aviation Regiment, the 587th Bomber Aviation Regiment, and the 588th Night Bomber Aviation Regiment (who came to be known as the “Night Witches”). A Thousand Sisters recounts the stories of several of these women from all three regiments—pilots, navigators, and mechanics, all fighting in their own way to protect and defend their motherland.
A Thousand Sisters is an excellent historical book that brings to light a facet of World War II many don’t know about: the Soviet women fighter pilots. A huge strength to the book is the author’s obvious passion and deep respect for these women. As their stories are recounted, Wein lovingly includes tiny details about their lives and missions that make these sometimes unbelievable accounts come to life. The book is superbly researched and feels authentic. At some points, it is hard to keep track of who is who, since so many women are discussed. However, Wein’s expert guiding hand creates a compelling and true narrative that history lovers will not want to put down.
*Contains mild violence.