HISTORYAs the seemingly unstoppable German juggernaut sliced through Soviet defenses during World War II, Lidiya “Lilya” Vladimirovna Litvyak was pressed into frontline service becoming one of the first female pilots of the Eastern Front. Lilya rose from humble beginnings but son emerged as a rising star in the Soviet air force, becoming one of the most successful aviators in an elite fighting force and a useful pawn in the wider propaganda war being waged by Stalin. She became history’s first female ace by shooting down five German aircraft over Stalingrad and went on to score at least twelve documented victories over German aircraft during a total of sixty-six combat missions. Born in Moscow, Lilya disappeared in the skies over Ukraine in 1943 at the age of just twenty-one, thought to have been ambushed and shot down. Using recently uncovered information, diaries, and operational histories this new biography by Bill Yenne reveals the colorful story of the twenty-one-year-old woman with a lily painted on her airplane who earned the nickname “The White Rose of Stalingrad” from her German opponents and who became an ace, a folk heroine, and eventually a martyr in the struggle to turn the tide of the war.
Quoted from the book’s dust jacket
Osprey Publications Ltd has released The White Rose Of Stalingrad - The Real-Life Adventure of Lidiya Vladimirovna Litvyak, the Highest Scoring Female Air Ace of All Time as a hardback book with 319 pages and a paper dust jacket. Included with the text are black and white photographs, black and white maps and detailed captions. It has a 2013 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-810-7. The book details Lidiya “Lilya” Vladimirovna Litvyak’s contribution to the Soviet war machine as a fighter pilot during World War II.
Although referred to as the “White Rose of Stalingrad” due to the nose art of her aircraft, the art work was actually of a white lily that Lidiya “Lilya” Vladimirovna Litvyak painted on the nose of her fighter.
Chapter 1: Born Into a Season of Darkness and Promises
Chapter 2: Growing Up With the Man in Red
Chapter 3: Mother and Father
Chapter 4: Bright, Happy Years
Chapter 5: Bonfires of Paranoia
Chapter 6: Heroes in the Sky
Chapter 7: Heroines in the Sky
Chapter 8: From Behind Dark Clouds
Chapter 9: Enemies at the Gates
Chapter 10: Women at War
Chapter 11: Marina’s Falcons
Chapter 12: Operational Assignments
Chapter 13: Lilya at War
Chapter 14: Stalingrad, the Very Hell of the War
Chapter 15: A Time of Heroines
Chapter 16: Springtime in Moscow
Chapter 17: Romance and Tragedy
Chapter 18: The White Lily of the Falcons
Chapter 19: Twilight of the Falcons
Chapter 20: Lost Lily
Appendix: Aerial Victories Credited to Lilya Litvyak
About the Author
Selected Recurring Acronyms
The text in the book is well written and detailed. Bill Yenne covers Soviet female fighter pilot Lidiya “Lilya” Vladimirovna Litvyak well and includes her history that includes her training, her time as a fighter pilot and the events leading up to her disappearance in combat. Bill Yenne adds information gathered from various sources and is able to give the viewpoints of several individuals which helps paint a picture of the life of the female fighter pilots who flew for Stalin and the Soviet Union. These viewpoints cover things such as the various aircraft available, life on the front lines and other things such as the male uniforms that the female pilots were forced to wear. This is a well written history that will be of great use and interest to the well-seasoned and knowledgeable Lidiya “Lilya” Vladimirovna Litvyak historian or the individual that is new to her contribution to the Soviet war machine as a fighter pilot during World War II and wants to learn about her history. As I read through the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing. Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book about Lidiya “Lilya” Vladimirovna Litvyak and other female Soviet pilots during World War II to their personal library will be pleased with this very informative and interesting book.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.
There are a total of 27 black and white photographs. They range from wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs. I appreciate the fact that there are photographs that are new to me as this makes this volume even more exciting for me to sit down and read. The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable, however there are some that appear to be too dark, and some appear too light, which is typical for photographs of that period of time. Bill Yenne has stuck to the title of the book and chose photographs that are specific to Lidiya “Lilya” Vladimirovna Litvyak and other Soviet female fighter pilots and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. The majority of the photographs will prove to help portray the military contribution of Lidiya “Lilya” Vladimirovna Litvyak.
The photographs contain subjects such as:
- All female crew of the ANTY-37 aircraft Rodina
- Soviet Yakovlev Yak-1 aircraft
- Soviet Yakovlev Yak-1 fighter planes on the assembly line
- German Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 fighter
- German Junkers Ju 88A bomber
- Soviet Yak-1M fighter
Some of the key individuals shown are:
- Lidiya “Lilya” Vladimirovna Litvyak
- Marina Mikhailovna Raskova
- Josef Stalin
- Major Marina Raskova
- Lieutenant Valeria Ivanovna Khomiakova
- Ekaterina Vasylievna Budanova – known as Katya – the second highest scoring woman ace
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.
There are 4 black and white maps included in this volume which are well done, nicely detailed and are of:
- Lilya’s War – October 1941 – August 1943
- Stalingrad – November 1942
- Southwest USSR – February-March 1943 – showing Soviet advances west of Kursk and German advances east of Kharkov
- The Donbass – July-August 1943
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the maps for yourself.
The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown and taking place in the accompanying photograph. The captions go into very specific detail as to aircraft, locations as well as specific individuals and other such pertinent information. I was impressed by Bill Yenne’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions I have seen that are very brief and lack detail.
Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
All in all I was pleased with the book other than the fact that book isn’t entirely about Lidiya “Lilya” Vladimirovna Litvyak. This is a very nice reference book with a well written text that also contains subject specific photographs and maps and well detailed captions which details the Lidiya “Lilya” Vladimirovna Litvyak’s war effort contribution during World War II very well. This volume will be of particular interest and beneficial to anyone interested in Lidiya “Lilya” Vladimirovna Litvyak and Soviet aces during World War II. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.
REFERENCESSearch inside the book on the Osprey web site
Osprey Publishing also has The White Rose Of Stalingrad - The Real-Life Adventure of Lidiya Vladimirovna Litvyak, the Highest Scoring Female Air Ace of All Time available as a:
- PDF ebook
- ePub eBook
Look inside the book on the Amazon web site
Look inside the Kindle Edition of the book on the Amazon web site
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