100 books like A Spitfire Girl

By Mary Ellis, Melody Foreman,

Here are 100 books that A Spitfire Girl fans have personally recommended if you like A Spitfire Girl. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Spitfire Women Of World War II

Nicholas Harvey Author Of Deadly Sommer

From my list on kick-ass females of sea and sky.

Why am I passionate about this?

My wife is a beautiful, intelligent, and determined woman. She took up rock climbing in her forties. She rides a motorcycle on and off-road. She scuba dives with sharks, she’s jumped out of an airplane, and she strapped crampons on her feet when I said we’re climbing a snow-covered mountain. One of my best friends in the world is from Finland. Typical of Finns, and Scandinavians in general, he has a dry wit and keen observations and thoughts which he delivers matter-of-factly in few words. Combining these two with a sprinkling of my own imagination produced Nora Sommer.

Nicholas' book list on kick-ass females of sea and sky

Nicholas Harvey Why did Nicholas love this book?

I have an obsession with WWII, submarines of the era, and especially the Battle of Britain. As women in dangerous and often traditionally masculine roles also appeal, it makes sense that true stories of these gallant pilots are right in my wheelhouse. Or cockpit…

During the war, female pilots were recruited to ferry planes for the Air Transport Auxiliary to RAF bases, freeing up male combat pilots.

Unarmed, without instruments or radios, the women often flew over the hostile skies of southern England in new or repaired aircraft, flight testing them on the way. Navigation was done by compass headings and visual references on the ground.

This book does a wonderful job of shining a light on the relatively small group of brave souls who did their part during dark times.

By Giles Whittell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Spitfire Women Of World War II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of the unsung heroines who flew the newest, fastest, aeroplanes in World War II - mostly in southern England where the RAF was desperately short of pilots.

Why would the well-bred daughter of a New England factory-owner brave the U-boat blockades of the North Atlantic in the bitter winter of 1941? What made a South African diamond heiress give up her life of house parties and London balls to spend the war in a freezing barracks on the Solent? And why did young Margaret Frost start lying to her father during the Battle of Britain?

They - and…


Book cover of Defending the Motherland: The Soviet Women Who Fought Hitler''s Aces

Clare Mulley Author Of The Women Who Flew for Hitler: A True Story of Soaring Ambition and Searing Rivalry

From my list on female pilots.

Why am I passionate about this?

Clare Mulley is the award-winning author of three books re-examining the history of the First and Second World War through the lives of remarkable women. The Woman Who Saved the Children, about child rights pioneer Eglantyne Jebb, won the Daily Mail Biographers' Club Prize and is now under option. Polish-born Second World War special agent Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, is the subject of the Spy Who Loved, a book that led to Clare being decorated with Poland’s national honour, the Bene Merito. Clare's third book, The Women Who Flew for Hitler, long-listed for the Historical Writers Association prize, tells the extraordinary story of Nazi Germany’s only two female test pilots, whose choices and actions put them on opposite sides of history. Clare reviews for the Telegraph, Spectator, and History Today. A popular public speaker, she has given a TEDx talk at Stormont, and recent TV includes news appearances for the BBC, Sky, and Channel 5 as well as various Second World War history series.

Clare's book list on female pilots

Clare Mulley Why did Clare love this book?

This is a gripping history of the Soviet female fighter, bomber and night bomber squadron pilots told through their interwoven biographies. These were the women who fought and died in the skies above Stalingrad and Kursk, and whose skills, as well as courage, astounded and terrified the Luftwaffe. Although invited to train and serve alongside their male comrades, the women were of course given uniforms and equipment designed for men, plenty of hostility, and a place, for those who survived, only at the back of the victory parades.

By Lyuba Vinogradova,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Defending the Motherland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Plucked from every background and led by an NKVD Major, the new recruits who boarded a train in Moscow on October 16, 1941, to go to war had much in common with millions of others across the world. What made the members of the 586th Fighter Regiment, the 587th Heavy-Bomber Regiment, and the 588th Regiment of light night-bombers unique was their gender: the Soviet Union was creating the first all-female active combat units in modern history.

Drawing on original interviews with surviving airwomen, Lyuba Vinogradova weaves together the untold stories of the female Soviet fighter pilots of the Second World…


Book cover of Last Flight - Amelia Earhart's Flying Adventures

Clare Mulley Author Of The Women Who Flew for Hitler: A True Story of Soaring Ambition and Searing Rivalry

From my list on female pilots.

Why am I passionate about this?

Clare Mulley is the award-winning author of three books re-examining the history of the First and Second World War through the lives of remarkable women. The Woman Who Saved the Children, about child rights pioneer Eglantyne Jebb, won the Daily Mail Biographers' Club Prize and is now under option. Polish-born Second World War special agent Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, is the subject of the Spy Who Loved, a book that led to Clare being decorated with Poland’s national honour, the Bene Merito. Clare's third book, The Women Who Flew for Hitler, long-listed for the Historical Writers Association prize, tells the extraordinary story of Nazi Germany’s only two female test pilots, whose choices and actions put them on opposite sides of history. Clare reviews for the Telegraph, Spectator, and History Today. A popular public speaker, she has given a TEDx talk at Stormont, and recent TV includes news appearances for the BBC, Sky, and Channel 5 as well as various Second World War history series.

Clare's book list on female pilots

Clare Mulley Why did Clare love this book?

There are several good biographies of Earhart by Mary S. Lovell and others, but worth also looking at is this compilation of the letters, diary entries and charts that Earhart sent back to her husband, bringing a striking immediacy to her final flight.

By Amelia Earhart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Last Flight - Amelia Earhart's Flying Adventures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Amelia Earhart was twice the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air: initially in 1928 as a passenger just a year after Lindbergh's pioneering flight and then in 1932 flying solo. Like her contemporaries Amy Johnson and Beryl Markham she was featured in all the fashionable magazines of the day as a symbol of the new independent woman. The list of records Amelia established reads like a catalogue of aviation history and includes the first flights from Hawaii to California and from California to Mexico. In 1937 she attempted with a copilot, Frederick J. Noonan, to fly around the…


Book cover of Women Who Fly: Goddesses, Witches, Mystics, and Other Airborne Females

Clare Mulley Author Of The Women Who Flew for Hitler: A True Story of Soaring Ambition and Searing Rivalry

From my list on female pilots.

Why am I passionate about this?

Clare Mulley is the award-winning author of three books re-examining the history of the First and Second World War through the lives of remarkable women. The Woman Who Saved the Children, about child rights pioneer Eglantyne Jebb, won the Daily Mail Biographers' Club Prize and is now under option. Polish-born Second World War special agent Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, is the subject of the Spy Who Loved, a book that led to Clare being decorated with Poland’s national honour, the Bene Merito. Clare's third book, The Women Who Flew for Hitler, long-listed for the Historical Writers Association prize, tells the extraordinary story of Nazi Germany’s only two female test pilots, whose choices and actions put them on opposite sides of history. Clare reviews for the Telegraph, Spectator, and History Today. A popular public speaker, she has given a TEDx talk at Stormont, and recent TV includes news appearances for the BBC, Sky, and Channel 5 as well as various Second World War history series.

Clare's book list on female pilots

Clare Mulley Why did Clare love this book?

This is a left-of-field choice, but when thinking about female fliers it is worth remembering the cultural baggage they inevitably carry with them. Historically, female flight whether by broom, wing, mental transcendence or in the cockpit of a Spitfire, has threatened the patriarchy while liberating women. Even today, ‘flighty’ women are still considered in negative terms. This book explores the power and prejudice around aerial females.

By Serenity Young,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women Who Fly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the asparas of Hindu myth to the swan maidens of European fairy tales, tales of flying women-some with wings, others with clouds, rainbows, floating scarves, or flying horses-reveal both fascination with and ambivalence about female power and sexuality. In Women Who Fly, Serinity Young examines the motif of flying women as it appears in a wide variety of cultures and historical periods, expressed in legends, myths, rituals, sacred narratives, and
artistic productions. She covers a wide range of themes, including supernatural women, like the Valkyries, who transport men to immortality; winged goddesses like Iris and the Greek goddess Nike;…


Book cover of The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II

Eileen A. Bjorkman Author Of The Fly Girls Revolt: The Story of the Women Who Kicked Open the Door to Fly in Combat

From my list on hidden histories of women in the military.

Why am I passionate about this?

I work in aviation, so it was natural to write about it when I started as a freelance writer. But I quickly realized that writing about aviation people is much more interesting than writing about airplanes. Because of my military background I found myself writing veterans’ stories. I’ve uncovered many stories that have never been told or have been forgotten over the years. And because I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s, I knew the events in my new book had never been told. During my research, I found more books with hidden histories and rediscovered some I read decades ago. This list is my favorites.

Eileen's book list on hidden histories of women in the military

Eileen A. Bjorkman Why did Eileen love this book?

The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were more than 1,000 women who ferried aircraft around the U.S. and flew other support missions during World War II.

They were technically civilian government employees, but for all practical purposes were in the U.S. Army and later earned veteran’s status, which is why I include them here.

The military women of my generation in the 1970s and 1980s (especially aviators) stood on the shoulders of what the WASP accomplished. 

Quite a few books have been written about the WASP, but this is the best one in my opinion. It’s extremely well researched, highly readable, and does an excellent job of portraying the two main characters, the media-savvy Jacqueline Cochran and her less flashy counterpart Nancy Love.

By Katherine Sharp Landdeck,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Women with Silver Wings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“With the fate of the free world hanging in the balance, women pilots went aloft to serve their nation. . . . A soaring tale in which, at long last, these daring World War II pilots gain the credit they deserve.”—Liza Mundy, New York Times bestselling author of Code Girls

“A powerful story of reinvention, community and ingenuity born out of global upheaval.”—Newsday

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Fort had escaped Nashville’s debutante scene for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii. She and her…


Book cover of The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War, and Everest

Craig Storti Author Of The Hunt for Mount Everest

From my list on the climbing history of the Himalayas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with the Himalayas in the 8th grade and vowed to go there one day. Eighteen years later I fell in love again, with a woman this time, who was living in Nepal. While living there I trekked extensively and read everything I could about the mountains, especially Everest. I thought it was odd that all the Everest books started in 1921, but the mountain was discovered in 1853. What took them so long? Hence my book The Hunt for Mount Everest.

Craig's book list on the climbing history of the Himalayas

Craig Storti Why did Craig love this book?

This book is of the incredible-but-true genre. A man who knows neither how to fly nor how to climb buys a plane which he plans to fly to India, crash land on the lower slopes of Everest, and climb the rest of the way to the top—all for the (married) woman he loves. Does he make it? What a question! It’s the premise that matters.

By Ed Caesar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moth and the Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“An outstanding book.” —The Wall Street Journal * “Gripping at every turn.” —Outside * “A hell of a ride.” —The Times (London)

An extraordinary true story about one man’s attempt to salve the wounds of war and save his own soul through an audacious adventure.

In the 1930s, as official government expeditions set their sights on conquering Mount Everest, a little-known World War I veteran named Maurice Wilson conceives his own crazy, beautiful plan: he will fly a plane from England to Everest, crash-land on its lower slopes, then become the first person to reach its summit—completely alone. Wilson doesn’t…


Book cover of West with the Night: A Memoir

Steven Faulkner Author Of Bitterroot: Echoes of Beauty & Loss

From my list on travel that enrich landscape with history.

Why am I passionate about this?

After reading travel books that voyaged beyond mere tourism into the life of the land, its people, and its histories, I found myself longing to launch my own journeys. I took a thousand-mile canoe trip with my son following the 1673 route of the French explorers Marquette and Joliet; I crossed the Rockies with two sons by foot, mountain bike, and canoe following Lewis and Clark and their Nez Perce guides; I took to sea kayak and pontoon boat with a son and daughter, 400 miles along the Gulf Coast in pursuit of the 1528 Spanish Narvaez Expedition. Writing of these journeys gave me the chance to live twice.

Steven's book list on travel that enrich landscape with history

Steven Faulkner Why did Steven love this book?

Beryl Markham was a bush pilot in Africa during the early years of aviation. She is a marvelous writer and an adventurous soul. Ernest Hemingway wrote of her: “Did you read Beryl Markham’s book? I knew her fairly well in Africa and never would have suspected that she could put pen to paper except to write in her flyer’s log book. As it is, she has written so well, and marvelously well, that I am completely ashamed of myself as a writer.... She can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers.”

Hemingway is right. This is the best written travel book I’ve read. I grew up in what is now called South Sudan, not far from Kenya where Markham grew up. Her writing brings back the land and people, the weather and hardships, the beauty of that land and its lonely skies.

By Beryl Markham,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked West with the Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WEST WITH THE NIGHT appeared on 13 bestseller lists on first publication in 1942. It tells the spellbinding story of Beryl Markham -- aviator, racehorse trainer, fascinating beauty -and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and 30s.

Markham was taken to Kenya at the age of four. As an adult she was befriended by Denys Finch-Hatton, the big-game hunter of OUT OF AFRICA fame, who took her flying in his airplane. Thrilled by the experience, Markham went on to become the first woman in Kenya to receive a commercial pilot's license.

In 1936 she determined to fly solo…


Book cover of The Tibbets Story

Robert O. Harder Author Of The Three Musketeers of the Army Air Forces: From Hitler's Fortress Europa to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

From my list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Why am I passionate about this?

In May 1968, I arrived at my first duty station as a new B-52 navigator-bombardier. Later, at the bar, I was hailed by a booming voice from behind the beer taps. "Hi ya, lieutenant!" Moments later, he asked what I thought of the USAF so far. I said I was career-minded. ‘‘Hell, only the pilots get promoted; navigators get diddley-squat. Get out as soon as you can.” After he departed, the bartender came over. “Know who that was, lieutenant? He’s Tom Ferebee, the man who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima." The colonel had both underscored my dismal career prospects and instilled a lifelong passion for the subjects discussed in this book.

Robert's book list on the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Robert O. Harder Why did Robert love this book?

While researching my book, I was fortunate to become acquainted with the Tibbets family, including his second wife Andrea Quattrehomme and his grandson Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV (USAF Ret.). Their co-operation, coupled with the details in this autobiography, was instrumental in revealing what the man was really like.

In 1937, Tibbets graduated from the Kelly Field, Texas pilot school, the “West Point of the Air." Among the first to deploy to Europe in 1942, he flew the lead plane in the initial heavy bomber raid against Fortress Europa. Additionally, he often flew as personal pilot to flag officers, including Gen. Dwight Eisenhower. After 43 combat missions he was rotated home to help development of the troubled B-29 program, which directly led to his selection as commander of the world’s first atomic bomber force.

By Paul W. Tibbets,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tibbets Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1 HARDCOVER BOOK WITH DUST COVER


Book cover of A Gathering of Men

Martin Campbell Author Of Sailor's Heart

From my list on true courage in facing danger when afraid.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Scottish writer who has published two books, one about poker and plumbing (Bad Beat Hotel) and the other about the treatment of men who sailed in the WW2 Arctic convoys and were unable to continue fighting (Sailor’s Heart). I’m interested in how people work and how they can be “repaired” when they wear out, malfunction, or break. My professional background is in clinical psychology and the study of human behaviour. I chose “cowards who become heroes” as my book theme because I’m constantly amazed by people’s resilience when faced with the most terrible circumstances.

Martin's book list on true courage in facing danger when afraid

Martin Campbell Why did Martin love this book?

I may be going out on a limb here, but I suspect that Rona Simmons was never a member of the 100th Bomb Group in WW2 combat, which makes this book all the more remarkable. It is her choice of details that make the story so convincing, powerfully evoking the times and the places.  As is often the case with truly great stories, truth trumps fiction. This isn’t historical fiction. It transcends genres, which may be a headscratcher for booksellers, but is a delight for readers like me.

The airmen, face the spinning barrels of a gun in a game of aerial Russian roulette on every mission. In a tale of honour, brotherhood, and true courage, with a twist in the tail that could only come from real life. 

By Rona Simmons,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Gathering of Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Candor, North Carolina. The town barber brandishes a copy of the May 1927 Charlotte Observer-on the front page, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis on its cross-country flight. At the outskirts of town, best friends Lake, Roger, and Jim take turns hurling their wingless crate down a hill. Eyes closed, they imagine their future alongside Lindy.Pearl Harbor changes everything. The boys will have their chance to fly-not over North Carolina farm fields, but across Germany on bombing runs, facing a determined Luftwaffe. The odds of completing their tours of duty are slim.A Gathering of Men is the account of the…


Book cover of The Flight Girls

Sara Ackerman Author Of The Lieutenant's Nurse

From my list on remarkable women in WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised in Hawai’i on her grandparents’ first-hand accounts of the war, Sara was deeply affected by the scars left behind. She believes that the best way to honor the past is by bringing these stories to light and making sure the sacrifice of those who came before us is never forgotten. She is the USA Today bestselling author of four WWII Hawai’i historical novels with a fifth on the way.

Sara's book list on remarkable women in WW2

Sara Ackerman Why did Sara love this book?

The Flight Girls captivated me from the first page and never let go. Salazar’s writing is lively and fresh, as we ride shotgun with a cast of memorable characters, an epic love story, and a powerful tale of courage and sacrifice by the Women Airforce Service Pilots during WWII. This book is on the lighter side, but still packs an emotional punch. A spectacular first novel!

By Noelle Salazar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Flight Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A USA TODAY BESTSELLER

A PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER

“I read well into the night, unable to stop. The book is unputdownable.”—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Heart-breaking, validating, exciting.”—Hypable

“Rich historical detail...this saga has it all.”—Woman’s World

Shining a light on a little-known piece of history The Flight Girls is a sweeping portrayal of women’s fearlessness, love, and the power of friendship to make us soar.

1941. Audrey Coltrane has always wanted to fly. It’s why she implored her father to teach her at the little airfield back home in Texas. It’s why she signed up to train…


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