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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Book Review: "No Woman's Land - A Centenary Tribute To Inspirational Women Of World War One"

Most people will have heard of Edith Cavell – the British nurse who was shot by the Germans during World War One and probably Mata Hari as well - she was the Dutch exotic dancer who spied for the Germans and was shot by the French. Then there was Mistinguet, the famous French music hall  star  who has been said to have spied for the British and  was never shot by any one.

But what about Marie Marvingt – the French pilot who invented the idea of the air ambulance…?  Elsie Janis – the American “Forces Sweetheart” of WW1…? Or maybe Flora Sandes – the British woman who joined the Serbian army and fought against the Austro-Hungarians…? 

Contrary to what a lot of people seem to think, there were actually thousands upon thousands of women involved in all sorts of activities in and out of the various war zones during the First World War.  From nurses like Nellie Spindler to ambulance drivers like Olive King, from diarists like Mildred Aldridge – who “retired” to the Marne during the summer of 1914 in search of a quiet place to live… - to sculptress Kathleen Scott (widow of explorer Captain Scott) whose artistic skills helped the pioneer plastic surgeons develop facial reconstruction techniques….. and this book is packed with fascinating stories about dozens of these inspirational women.   

With photos and basic biographical details, this is an excellent starter book for anybody who is interested in the First World War.   It doesn’t set out to be an “academic” work but it does give the reader a broad taste of some of the different roles that women filled (not just nurses and munitions workers although there are some of them in here as well…) and is aimed at a general readership.

An “Inspirational Women - Volume 2” is planned for publication later in the centenary years and there is also a companion volume out now called “Female Poets Of The First World War” which looks at the lives and works of female poets during the Great War period.

You can buy by mail order “No Woman’s Land” by mail order HERE  and “Female Poets Of The First World War - Volume 1” HERE

You can also buy on Amazon HERE

There is lots more information about Inspirational Women at