Women Heroes of World War II – The Pacific Theater by Kathryn J. Atwood

15 Stories of Resistance, Rescue, Sabotage, and Survival

women-wwii-pacific-heroes-bigKathryn Atwood has written another fascinating book in her series covering women heroes of the world wars. From Claire Phillips who ran a Manila nightclub to get funds to feed American prisoners of war to Jane Kendleigh, who ministered to wounded soldiers in the air as one of the first Navy flight nurses, Atwood presents compelling stories of real women in the thick of the war.

Women Heroes of World War II – The Pacific Theater begins and ends with general information on the war in the Pacific Theater and then moves to focus in on the stories of specific women, presenting an excellent mix of information about the women’s lives before the war, their actions during the conflict, and a brief description of their post-war life.

Though I know a fair amount about the war in Europe, my knowledge of the war in the Pacific Theater is more limited. Because of this, I learned a good deal about what was happening in Asia before the war and the cultural practices that led to the efficiency and brutality of the Japanese forces.

This book will be a useful resource for biography projects, though depending on the class, this one might need to be used with caution. No stories of war are pleasant, but some of these stories are particularly dark, including the torture and starvation of prisoners and the use of imprisoned women as “comfort women” for the Japanese troops. Each eight to eleven page biography includes pictures of the woman covered, sidebar information about the war that directly relates to the story, and sources to use to find more information. The study guide in the book will be especially helpful for teachers wishing to use the book in their classrooms. It provides discussion questions and also suggestions for further, more in-depth projects using additional resources.

Atwood has published three previous books about women during the World Wars with Chicago Review Press:  Women Heroes of World War I, Women Heroes of World War II, and Code Name Pauline: Memoirs of a World War II Special Agent.

I received a complementary copy of Women Heroes of World War II – The Pacific Theater from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.




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