The White Rose of Stalingrad
ISBN: 978 1 84908 8107
Contributor: Dan K.
Review Date: 19 Nov 2013
This book is about the highest scoring Soviet female ace, Lidiya Vladimirovna Litvyak, in WWII. As I do not have many books on Soviet aces let alone female ones, I thought this book would be interesting. Well, it is interesting in that the first half of the book talks about how the Soviet female pilots came to be. Their training, the key figures in female aviation and then their ultimate acceptance into combat formations. Litvyak, the namesake of the book, is talked about, though ever so briefly. At one point, so many new people were being discussed on who were training, who were friends, whose parents had been taken away, I found myself going back a few pages just to figure out who was who.
The second half of the book does talk more about Litvyak after her training and posting to a combat unit. There is talk about her victories, and then victories of other female pilots. There are some good descriptions of when she arrived around Stalingrad and of some of her early sorties. There is some talk about dog fights but I never got the feel of her being "The White Rose of Stalingrad". I felt that the book would often go off on a tangent and all of a sudden someone remembered this was a biography, and Litvyak would be tied into it, or her friends, or a superior, etc.
There is some good research in that the author talks about certain German pilots that Litvyak met in the skies on the Eastern Front and the ultimate outcome. Names and fates of the German pilots are described.
I do recommend the book if someone is looking for the history of Soviet female pilots in WWII. This book, if just written on Litvyak, could have been a lot shorter.
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