Book Review: Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics


by Kathryn J. Atwood

Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2016. Pp. x, 246. Illus., map, gloss., notes, biblio, index. $12.99 paper. ISBN: 1613735952

Women Warriors in the Great War

Atwood, who has written several other several volumes in the Chicago Review “Women of Action” series, offers a look at 16 women who played unusual roles in the Great War. She groups them into four categories, “ Resisters and Spies,” “Medical Personnel,” “Soldiers,” and “Journalists.”

While some of the women are more or less well known, such as Mata Hari, Edith Cavell, Flora Sands, or even Maria Bochkareva of the Russian women’s “Battalion of Death,” but most are not, such as Cavell’s cohort Louise Thuliez, teenaged French resistance fighter Emilienne Moreau, American war correspondents Mary Roberts Rhinehart and Madeleine Zabriskie Doty, French master spy Louise de Bettignies, Romanian “Girl Lieutenant” Ecaterina Theodoroiu. Some of these women, including– Cavell, de Bettignies, and Theodoroiu, did died for their efforts, while the others were as often ignore in peace as rewarded.

Each woman is given a short biography, which is focused on her role in the war, within the framework of the overall events. So, for example, in her chapter on Emilienne Moreau, Atwood also covers the German occupation regime in France and Belgium and tells us something about the use of poison gas. Oddly, however, Atwood ignore the several women who served as aviators, and were particularly important in the early months of the war

Although intended for young adults, Women Heroes of World War I is an excellent introduction to the role of women in the Great War for anyone.


Note: Women Heroes of World War I is also available in hard cover, paperback, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-6137-4686-8; PDF, $12.99, 978-1-6137-4687-5; or e-book, $12.99, ISBN 978-1-6137-4689-9.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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