Read Wings: A Novel of World War II Flygirls by Karl Friedrich Online


Based on the true World War II stories of America’s first female military pilots, this historic novel follows the story of a young woman from a dirt-poor farm family. Sally Ketchum has little chance of bettering her life until a mysterious barnstormer named Tex teaches her to fly and to dare to love. But when Tex dies in a freak accident, Sally must make her own way in theBased on the true World War II stories of America’s first female military pilots, this historic novel follows the story of a young woman from a dirt-poor farm family. Sally Ketchum has little chance of bettering her life until a mysterious barnstormer named Tex teaches her to fly and to dare to love. But when Tex dies in a freak accident, Sally must make her own way in the world. She enrolls in the U.S. military’s Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program at a special school known as Avenger, where she learns to fly the biggest, fastest, meanest planes. She also reluctantly becomes involved with Beau Bayard, a flight instructor and aspiring writer who seems to offer her everything she could want. Despite her obvious mastery of flying, many members of the military are unable to accept that a “skirt” has any place in a cockpit. Soon Sally finds herself struggling against a high-powered Washington lawyer that wants to close down Avenger once and for all....

Title : Wings: A Novel of World War II Flygirls
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781590135709
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 291 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Wings: A Novel of World War II Flygirls Reviews

  • Tara Chevrestt
    2019-01-05 18:03

    This novel contains a colorful cast of characters. The heroine is Sally. She's both tough and frightened. She's a terrific pilot, but she carries some baggage: a dead boyfriend and an abusive father. Thus, she has some confidence issues. She meets up with other WASP trainees at Avenger, Twila, Geri, and Dixie. Each one of these women has things you like and don't like about her. Twila is strange, but has some good philosophies. Geri is a spoiled rich girl, but she can fly. Dixie.... oh my. This quote is self explanatory:"I've got balls. They didn't come with this package" -she indicated her body- "but after watchin' my daddy float in a sea of prosperity while everybody around him drowned, I decided I'd better grow me a pair. And I did. They're the first thing I strap on every mornin' before I got outside to meet the world, and the last thing I unstrap at night before I slip into my frilly little pajamas. I've got balls!"For full review, please click on the link below:

  • Deborah
    2018-12-30 17:05

    I'm a staunch advocate of women's rights, as is well-known about me. And, one of my favorite things to read about, in addition to stories having to do with strong women role-models, is WWII-centered novels. This book, then, was a request I quickly made to review, and I've been pleasantly rewarded by a fantastic story, written by a deliberate and invested author.I say that Mr. Friedrich is invested because you can tell from his writing that he strongly supports women pilots, and has a sense of the harassment and indignities they experienced while trying to serve their country. Woven well within his novel, as well, is the angst of this on-going struggle women face as prejudice remains a continuous barrier to cross despite dedication and abilities proving their excellence and readiness to brave any circumstance.Starting out somewhat "hokey," to my ears, I found the too Southern dripping dialog off-putting. But, very soon in his story, Friedrich picks up the pace and loses the colloquialisms that distract from his message.He's at his best as a writer when he's describing the rotes of learning to fly, the challenges facing the women as "would be" pilots, and characterizing the men who interface with them. I loved his female protagonists, Sally and Dixie. Strong, intelligent, resourceful and devoted, these women reflected the best in those who answered the call to duty during WWII; and, yet, were resilient and steadfast to maintain their sense of feminity. I liked the metal it took for Sally to stand up to military brass. And, I enjoyed the softness she demonstrated in love and loss.See Sally's confrontation with the Colonel in this excerpt:"Miss Ketchum, you want to help the war effort; I understand that. But surely you understand the army is no place for a woman, especially a pretty young woman. The place for you to do your fighting is at home...Let me ask you something," Colonel Kaskall said. "You have a boyfriend in the military, I imagine. How do you think these shenanigans of yours--running around wild all over the sky and almost getting yourself killed--how do you think they make him feel? A soldier needs to know that someone back home cares about him and is keeping the fires burning. That's the greatest morale builder we have. It's what keeps men going in combat."He folded his arms over his chest while he considered whether to spill the rest of what was on his mind. After a moment, his face turned to hard sincerity. "It might interest you to know that in Germany, young women such as yourself are taken to breed with Hitler's soldiers. They're recruited to special homes, where their sole duty is to birth future Nazi armies. That's the kind of enemy we're fighting!" He let that sink in. "Instead of running around almost getting yourself killed, you should be at home, young lady, doing what women do best." He crinkled.She throttled her revulsion...."If you're suggesting, Colonel, that I could better serve my country by whoring, let me assure you that airplanes are the only things I ride."Colonel Kaskall's neck bulged over his collar, and a palette of red rushed to his stunned face. "How dare you speak to me that way!" He turned on the major. "Get them out of here! You have two minutes!..."Now, I consider that some fine writing that says more than enough about how women were perceived and accepted in the military during WWII. Mr. Friedrich's championing of them, and his recognition that it had to have taken strong backbones to withstand such harsh conditions and mental exploitation, makes his book a triumph for women's literature.Women Airforce Service Pilots, WASPS were quasi-military. They flew military aircraft, but were not officially in the service. While they took on the roles of risking their lives to serve their country, they retained their integrity of womanhood despite conditions that many men would have withered under. Mr. Friedrich's love and respect of such flyers makes his novel a joy to read and an absorbing one.I knew such a woman who was in the English piloting program during WWII. She was a strong-minded woman who never minced words, consequently, she wasn't popular in our women's heiarchy circles. I thought it was interesting that she never really made an effort to "fit in," but retained this sort of overbearing "wisdom attitude" that didn't mesh with American corporate wives in the early 1970's. Once my husband told me she had been a British flyer, I made tracks to become her friend and learned she was a woman of superior intelligence and dignity. Just not frivolous and cocktail party conversational!All this being said, I want to thank Karl Friedrich for his wonderful book. It's just the thing we need to remind us what powerful women we are, and what women have contributed to the building and welfare of our nation in all areas of life. As an aside, I might add that long before the WASP's were formed, Amelia Earhart had made her mark in aviation history, proving that women were not only capable of excellence in the sky, but excellence in endurance.Deborah/TheBookishDame

  • Deb
    2018-12-20 22:21

    For lovers of light historical fiction, this book is as refreshing as a quick flight over the plains of Texas on a hot summer day. Friedrich did an admirable job in introducing his readers to this little known period of U.S. military history when civilian women pilots were recruited to ferry cargo, personnel and planes around the country during World War II in the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots program. Follow Sally Ketchum, who hails from a poor dirt farm in East Texas, as she pursues her dream of becoming a WASP. After her barnstorming boyfriend is killed in an aviation accident, the program represents an escape hatch for Sally from her abusive father and the dead end life she expects if she stays in East Texas. Other girls share her dream of flying with the WASP, with as many reasons as there are girls. And the recruits are as diverse and as polarized as possible. Dixie Ray Beaumont, a voluptuous and vivacious fashion model from New Orleans (and as different from Sally as night and day) becomes her closest friend. Another girl, Twila Tschudi, is the intellectual of the group. Her philosophy and education is a little off-putting for Sally, who has never known anyone who attended college. But Twila’s easy ways win over Sally and almost everyone else. Even pugnacious Geri Delaney--rich, spoiled, and used to having things her own way soon becomes special friends with Twila.Most of the WASP trainees are experienced pilots and have much more experience in the air than their male instructor counterparts. Indeed, cocky Beau Bayard is Sally’s first instructor and he almost gets both of them killed on the first trip out. Luckily, Sally wrests the controls away from him and they are saved when she lands the plane. Needless to say, their relationship gets off to a rocky start as Sally determines to get him fired. Things progress from that point.Friedrich has done his research on the history of the WASP program, and this book is more than just a fun, frolicking book about the “FlyGals” of World War II. Attitudes of the public toward the WASP varied, with most people not understanding what “services” it was that that the WASP provided. Rumors of the female pilots being loose women, and even prostitutes, flew around the Sweetwater, Texas community like tumbleweeds in the wind. The girls were ostracized by those in the private sector. The pilots were also detested by some in the military who somehow saw the girls as threats to their own livelihood. Since the program was made up of a group of civilian volunteers, there were no benefits provided like those for the male pilots in the Army. The girls’ paychecks were docked for payment for uniforms, room and board, medical services, and even funeral costs if they crashed and were killed. The WASP were basically in social limbo—not accepted by the private sector and certainly not appreciated by most of the military. Cutthroat politics are portrayed realistically as some in Congress and the military, by hook and crook, finally succeed in getting the program shut down.For this reviewer, the book contained too much technical information on flight and the mechanics of the airplanes that the girls flew. The story was not moved along with this minute detail. The implication is that the writer had gathered this information and was determined to use it. If the reader were an experienced pilot, these details might enhance the story--but only for that tiny population of readers. Another distraction for this reviewer was the use of clichéd names. “Beau Bayard,” “Dixie Ray Beaumont,” “Tex Jones,” and “Colonel Buck Bowen” could have easily been replaced with more believable names and that minor distraction would have been avoided. Also distracting was the somewhat superfluous insertion of an unnecessary sex scene near the end of the book. As if the editor had insisted that there be a little “spice” to sell the book, the scene added nothing to the overall plot and it may have reduced the chances that school children would have access to this title as a secondary resource in studying the WASP history. Even considering these minor flaws, Wings: A Novel of World War II FlyGirls by Karl Friedrich is a good book on a little-discussed topic in our history. It would be definitely recommended for any reader who is interested in aviation history or women’s roles during the World War II period. A fun read!

  • Audra (Unabridged Chick)
    2019-01-09 19:55

    In the 1940s, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program was started to free up male pilots so they could fly in combat, and women pilots were given Army flight training to do routine, non-combat flying jobs, like hauling cargo, towing targets for live artillery training, and transporting planes. I jumped at this novel because I love, love learning about how women fare during wartime and I have so admired the WASPs (who shamefully were only recognized in 2009 for their war efforts). It's clear Friedrich did his research: there are details that crop up that I presume are from first-hand accounts. Women applying for the WASP program had to pay to get to the school, they pay their own room and board, pay for their own uniforms, and work outrageous hours, flying in planes that were sabotaged by those who thought women shouldn't be in the cockpit, and in conditions comparable to combat. But they were seen as civilians, treated as unwanted jokes by many, and they worked thankless hours and shifts in situations that male pilots wouldn't and as expected, they had to maintain their femininity and remember their place.  It's a heartbreaking setup that promises disappointment, and I admire any woman who put herself in that situation -- they're stronger than me.Sadly, this novel didn't meet my expectation and hope.  The writing is straight-forward and simple and the plot predictable -- but I found myself still wishing for the best (that the WASPs would be recognized for their skill and hard work).  The characters were a little flat -- predictable stereotypes (bitchy rich girl, gallant flight instructor, tough tomboy, etc.) -- which took away my ability to wholly care about what was happening.  You could see a mile away the coming 'romance' and the villainous conflict.  I sometimes find that contemporary novels set during WWII are a little too intent on lionizing and commemorating the 'greatest generation' and as a result, the stories lack nuance or sophistication. I think this is the case with Wings: it's a really great premise, but I can't help but feel like the author is trying too hard to keep things noble, clean, and above board. Which works for some people, but is just too white-washed for me. (I found myself describing this as a family friendly, lady-fronted version of Memphis Belle.)  This was a fast read, and again, clearly well-researched which is what kept my interest.  In the end, I found myself yearning for a novel about Sally after this one finished, a story about how she lived her life after having this freedom, adventure, danger, and romance.  Friedrich is right -- these women were amazing -- and his book has me desperate to learn more about the real life WASPs.

  • Kathleen (Kat) Smith
    2019-01-09 16:07

    Sally snatched the sheet from Dixie's fingers. Typed boldly across the top were the words, "An Overview Of Facts For Personnel Considering Entering WASP Training." Her mouth turned dry. By mid-page, her tongue had become cotton."train in military aircraft...the same number of training hours as male pilots...learn navigation and instrument flying...station at a military airfield following bombers/or pursuit aircraft to wherever ordered within the contiguous United States...base pay of one hundred and fifty dollars per month during training..."Dixie grabbed the papers back. "Didn't you get one like this?" She stuffed the papers protectively into her purse.Sally shook her head. "I guess they forgot to put it in the envelope."Both were well on their way to begin training in the WASP program, the U.S. military's Women's Airforce Service Pilots program. At the special school known as Avenger, they will learn to fly PT-19's. BT-13's and AT-6's. The program come from Jacqueline Cochran, director of the Women Airforce Service Pilots and the women that received invitations to join, would train in Sweetwater for a period of six months to qualify as a WASP ferry pilot to deliver airplanes to bases all over the United States. Trainees had to pay their own travel expenses to Sweetwater and, presumably, to leave should they wash out. Minimum flying hours required for WASP training: thirty-five.Well Sally had well over 300 hours as a barnstormer while Dixie managed to log in 36 hours. Yet not everyone was happy to see the women due their part to help in the war efforts."Women airline pilots?" Dixie hooted. "Maybe in the next life, where everybody's got their own set of wings, so it don't matter. But if you're talking about right down here on earth in the hear and the now, I'm going to have to disagree with you hon. 'Cause a whole bunch of men had rather fight bears barehanded than see a skirt in a cockpit. The nature of the male isn't gonna change in my lifetime nor in yours.""It'll never happen," Geri interrupted loudly. "Look at the way the army's treating us. We make half the money of men who're doing the same job. We're expendable to the army as bullets."Twila answered, "Yes. We are expendable. If someone's got to die delivering an airplane, the army had rather it be one of us than a man. The army is saving them for combat. A man dying in combat is far more beneficial to winning the war than if he dies here at home because hopefully he'll die killing some of the enemy."And so the training of the pilots begins while Congress looks for a way to disband the WASP program, but hopefully these flygirls will be able to change their mind after all.In the book, Wings, A Novel of World War II Flygirls by Karl Friedrich, he takes the readers on a journey based on the true World War II story of America's first female military pilots. This is such a remarkable story that shows another side of just how some women served in assisting our war efforts in other ways besides the Rosie the Riveter working girl. I love how this portrays the stereotypes the women were faced with and how they were treated by civilians and service personnel while trying to do their job. It was not a easy one by any means.I received this book compliments of TLC Book Tours for my honest review and was completely captivated from the first page all the way to the end. You will see how so many people really treated these women unfairly, some local townspeople even thinking the army was bringing on whores to service the men overseas, when they simply had to reason to understand that women could actually fly the planes as well as the men could.In fact more than 25,000 young women volunteered for training as WASP pilots. Of the 1,830 who were accepted, 1,074 graduated. Almost all went on to fly many types of aircraft, from the smallest and slowest trainers to giant bombers and hot fighters. Missions ranged from ferrying aircraft to dispersal points for shipment overseas, to towing targets for student gunners firing live ammunition. These missions were often as dangerous as combat, and in fact, thirty-eight WASP died. By the war's end, WASP has flown sixty million miles in seventy-eight different types of aircraft. This is a wonderful story and I can't wait to share this with my readers. Highly recommend and hands down 5 out of 5 stars! Would love to see this one made into a movie!!!

  • C Bowen
    2018-12-28 15:19

    I loved it & wrote the following review of it for the paper I edit, Focus Newspaper, which isonline at Ketchum, the young heroine of Karl Friedrich’s fine debut novel, Wings: A Novel of World War II Flygirls, has a lot to overcome. By the end of the first chapter the list is short and painful: an abusive, deprived, motherless childhood on a farm in East Texas, and the endless heartache of losing her true love in a blazing plane crash which she survives.Though Friedrich’s taut, descriptive style is evocative and often romantic, this is not a romance novel. This story of a woman determined to have the life she desires at nearly any cost, piloting airplanes in the 1940s as a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), is gritty, sometimes gruesome and often very moving.WASP were civilian employees whose job was to move aircraft during WW II, freeing male pilots for battle. The history of the WASP program, along with technical information about flying various airplanes of the period, is woven into the narrative with the excellent result of bringing an immediacy to this story based nearly 70 years ago in West Texas. Sally’s true love, Tex Jones, had swept into her life a few years before, removed her from her father’s bitter grasp and taught her to fly a Jenny. Jennys were biplanes used for barnstorming, the business of flying from tiny town to tiny town across America, sleeping at night in a field by the plane and selling rides each day to the locals. She became a deft, confident pilot. Tex dies in a mid-air collision with turkey buzzards a short time after they find each other. A few years later Sally takes a train to Sweetwater, Texas, at the invitation of the War Department, to become a WASP. A broken, suspicious, self-pitying satchel of sorrow, en route she meets the beautiful, confident and very funny model/pilot Dixie Ray Beaumont, also headed to WASP school. Sally is an appealing and sympathetic character but when Dixie arrives in Friedrich’s story, full of pitiless, wise-ass advice and wild stories, I was completely hooked. They become uneasy friends, and Sally’s life is immediately blown wide open by the realities of fighting her own self-doubt and the inherent sexism of the era to win her WASP wings. Let me also say two words that appear early in Wings, pop up often to torment Sally, and provide terrific drama throughout: Ira Waterman. Waterman is as evil a nemesis as any hero or heroine ever had. But, like any nemesis, he has his own reasons. He’s been charged with shutting down the WASP and is ruthless and relentless in his efforts.Wings is a story of hard-won redemption (in saying that I am not revealing Sally’s fate), a coming of age tale filled with some laugh-out-loud situations and real mystery. The characters as revealed by their behavior and words are distinct, memorable and crucial to the outcome of Sally’s life. Overbearing Army supervisors and an array of WASP wanna-bes of every type as well as tough critics who transform into staunch Sally-supporters provide a solid, absorbing story that I found hard to put down and which I carry with me still. I hope that Karl Friedrich’s working on the story of the rest of Sally Ketchum’s life because I want and need to know where she lands and how she’s doing. Wings, A Novel of World War II Flygirls is available beginning April 1st in bookstores and online. Published by McBooks Press in hardcover, it can be downloaded to digital readers as well.

  • Amanda
    2019-01-11 20:04

    Yay, First reads win! :)This book was just okay for me. I really liked learning more about WASP, and all of the crap that the women had to go through, but I hardly liked any of the characters, especially the main character, Sally. She's hostile, untrusting, and her moods and feeling seem to change all the time, towards Bayard especially. He'd say or do the littlest thing and she'd go from being swoony over him to wanting to knock his lights out. Dixie was amusing sometimes, but she also annoyed me, being nosy and having a sort of high and mighty attitude alot because she's pretty. The ending was pretty cool, and tied a lot of little things in the book together, and I kinda liked how Sally's future was open ended. Just seemed right for her. My favorite parts in Wings were just the ones about WASP, the facts and stories about it; I'd probably have liked reading just a history book on the subject better. If anything, this book just got me interested in a new subject I probably wouldn't have known about otherwise, and was a fairly enjoyable read.If you'd like to hear more of my babblings, please visit my blog, Veni, Vidi, Legi

  • Julie
    2018-12-19 16:20

    While not the smoothest writing or adventurous plot, I enjoyed this book because of the subject matter, the WASP - or Women Airforce Service Pilots who were part of the US Army during WWII. It was a good look into their lives and situation, and more importantly, the prejudices against them. Many men did NOT want women flying airplanes! They endured everything from sabotaged airplanes to towing target planes for the mens' live target practice.(!!) with unequal pay, no military benefits, and no funeral services should they get killed. They were expendable to the army - better a woman gets killed delivering a faulty airplane than a man in combat.The characters seemed awfully cliched - and goodness, the argument scene between the women when the WASP was disbanded dragged on and women really argue like that?? The dialogue was somewhat unbelievable as well and more informative than anything else. I guess he had to get the info about the WASP in there somehow. Good, but not so good. I'd give it 2.5 stars.

  • Terri Epp
    2019-01-09 17:58

    This is my first reads review.I really enjoyed Karl Friedrich's debut novel. Tbe language is clear and conscise and keeps the reader enthralled until the end.Sally Ketchum is the main character, a poor farm girl, who meets Tex and learns to fly. After tragedy occurs in Sally's life, she learns she has been accepted into the military's program called WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilots). The novel explores the difficulties in a male dominated military and political landscape and the women who struggle to prove themselves in a variety of aircrafts.The airbase called Avenger is the backdrop for learning about what the WASP training entails, Tex's mysterious identity, the politicians who want to see the program shut down and one man intent on destroying Sally."Wings" introduced me to a part of World War Two history I had not heard of before. I love historical novels and to learn about aspects of history I was unaware of.I look forward to more novels from Karl Friedrich.

  • Tanya
    2018-12-26 22:15

    3/30/11 Just won this through first-reads!5/13/11While I enjoyed learning more about the often-overlooked WASP program, I found this novel a bit on the amateur side, particularly in regards to dialogue. I was not surprised to learn that author Karl Friedrich's background is in newspapers and advertising, because the best parts of Wings are those that inform and persuade about life as a WASP, rather than character and plot development.

  • Crystal
    2018-12-21 22:55

    Absolutely loved this book, based on the history of WASP, a great read of a female pilot's struggle against prejudice and pursue her love of flying.

  • Amy Meyer
    2019-01-16 15:11

    Wings by Karl FriedrichPublisher: McBooks Press Published Date: April 4, 2011ISBN: 978-1590135709Pages : 340Genre: Non-Fiction; Historical FictionRating: 4.5 out of 5Book Summary: Sally Ketchum comes from dirt-poor farm folk. She has little chance of bettering her life until a mysterious barnstormer named Tex teaches her to fly—and becomes the first person worthy of her love. But Tex dies in a freak accident, leaving Sally to make her own way in the world. She enrolls in the U.S. military’s Women Air force Service Pilots (WASP) program, and in a special school located in West Texas begins learning to fly the biggest, fastest, meanest airplanes the military has to offer. She also reluctantly becomes involved with Beau Bayard, a flight instructor and aspiring writer, who seems to offer her everything she could want. But many people see no place for a “skirt” in the cockpit, and Sally soon finds herself pitted against a high-powered Washington lawyer who wants to disband the WASP once and for all. Their battle is a story of extraordinary women who broke society’s rules and became heroes, and of men who stood in their way.My Thoughts: Wings is absorbing fictionalized account of the very real US military's Women's Air force Service Pilots (WASP) program that operated from September 1942 until December 1944. Civilian women with pilot's licenses enrolled in WASP to be trained by the military for routine, non-combat flying jobs which primarily involved delivering military aircraft to bases around the country and occasionally abroad. The purpose of this program was to free up men in the military for combat by employing women to do the non-combat missions. Wings is a riveting account of a handful of the female pilots who enroll in flying school in Sweetwater, Texas following an invitation from Jacqueline Cochran, the head of the WASP program. In accessible and simple prose style, author Karl Friedrich informs , through some fascinating female characters that, although the women attending Avenger Field, the flying school, were trained by the US military, they were civilians and remained civilians. Women were only accepted for WASP if they had their pilot's licenses and, at least, 36-hours flying time. Under these regulations, Sally Ketchum, the main character in Wings, easily qualifies having earned a living for several years as a barnstormer working with her boyfriend Tex. Sally enrolls in the flying school after a terrible tragedy that ended her barnstorming days but didn't lessen her love of flying planes.Sally is an intriguing woman whom it seems, in the early chapters of the book, we are going to come to know quite well. I was really looking forward to getting to know Sally and, through her, the WASPs, because she's smart, intense and eager to learn but also quick to anger and often very judgmental. It becomes relatively clear why she's like this after we learn she was raised by an alcoholic, bible-thumping father who made her life miserable. We are privy to many of Sally's fits and outbursts, as the story progresses. She quickly and easily becomes irate when she thinks she's not being treated fairly, which happens often to women in the WASP program. Unfortunately, the walls Sally built to protect herself while growing up never come down completely as she seems to see, in almost every man, elements of her dead father. Sally has experienced too much disappointment and pain in her short life. She does reveal that she's longed for, since she was a little girl, someone to love and protect her. I was still surprised when, instead of becoming stranger and more sure of herself, Sally unexpectedly gets romantically involved with her initial training pilot, Beau Bayard, a military man and a terrible pilot who wants to be a writer. On second thought, my hope that Sally would follow a different path was simply a hope since this aspect of the storyline was foreseeable from Bayard's first appearance in the book. I was disappointed that we don't get the chance to identify with Sally. Despite this, Sally's story doesn't follow the stereotypical path similar to several of the other characters like Geri, the nasty, rich one and Dixie, the stunning, superficial women well aware of her power over men. The military men are, of course, all skirt-chasing, horny characters.Sally remains somewhat of an enigma personality-wise, but there's no mistake about her flying ability. Her talent as a pilot doesn't go unnoticed at the flying school where she's gained a name for herself and a reputation that results in admirable comments from some of the top military men at the school. She's not loved by everyone, though. An egomaniacal, nasty attorney , Ira Waterman, has been sent to Sweetwater by Congress to find a reason to shut down the WASP program. Apparently there are many powerful men in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere in the USA who cannot fathom the idea of women leaving the home to fly planes. Mr. Friedrich adds a tantalizing secondary storyline in which Sally has incurred the wrath of Waterman who seems to have made it his mission to destroy her. Kurt Friedrich has written a captivating story about the WASP program. Despite some issues I have with the book, Wings is an immensely readable story and enjoyable particularly because much of it is true. It's hard to stomach the way women were treated at this time in our country. The military needs their help desperately, yet there are many men in positions of power in the 1940's who, it seems, would rather lost the war than be assisted by women flying planes! It would be laughable if it wasn't so horrendous and painful. The female pilots who attended flying school were given no advantages or benefits and the rumors spread about them were sickening. Many of the residents in Sweetwater believed the female pilots were actually whores for the military!I highly recommend this book to everyone. It's a fast, entertaining read that's also informative. I was completely unaware of the WASP program before Lisa who co-runs TLC Book Tours asked me if I wanted to review Wings. The WASP program was disbanded in December 1944 and, finally in 1977 the WASP were awarded veteran status. It's sad that it took this long, but at least it happened. In 2009 WASP women were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, a long overdue honor. I'm grateful to Mr. Friedrich for writing this book and shining a light on a brief but remarkable program and time period in our country's history. It's difficult to understand the thought processes and attitudes that resulted in the behind the scenes controversy caused by the WASP programI wish Wings was longer and Sally was a women we could identify with strongly and were able to relate too, but this is still an important book that should be read by everyone!

  • Erin
    2018-12-26 23:20

    I really liked this book. I do wish more of the story took place while flying, on missions or during the simulated instrument training...I really wanted to feel what these women were experiencing and with a bit more historical references. Overall the story and interactions among the characters was entertaining.

  • Jeanne
    2019-01-14 17:25

    Historical fiction about the first female pilots during WWII. Interesting subject potential for a great story. Weak writing coupled with a saccharine storyline = two stars.

  • Zohar -
    2018-12-29 14:57

    Wings: A Novel of World War II Fly­girls by Karl Friedrich is a his­tor­i­cal fic­tion book about the Women Air­force Ser­vice Pilot or WASP. The WASP were part of the US Army, before the Air Force became its own entity.Sally Ketchum came from a poor fam­ily of dirt farm­ers, her mun­dane life were changed for­ever once she met a Tex, a pilot who makes his liv­ing barn­storm­ing. How­ever Tex died in an acci­dent and Sally enrolls in the Women Air­force Ser­vice Pilot (WASP) program.At the school, known as Avenger Sally learns to fly planes, large and small, con­tended with sex­ism, ego­ism on part of her com­man­ders and fel­low WASP , and high pow­ered Wash­ing­ton lawyers hell bent on shut­ting the pro­gram down.Wings: A Novel of World War II Fly­girls by Karl Friedrich is a fas­ci­nat­ing book cen­tered around strong female char­ac­ters. It is no secret that I love World War II book and the sto­ries which come out of that period of time never cease to amaze me.The book is rich in his­tory and does jus­tice to a group of women which, until recently, it seemed that his­tory for­got their mag­nif­i­cent con­tri­bu­tion to the war effort. This select group of young woman, 1,074 to be exact, were pio­neers, heroes, role mod­els and very much as pilots as their male counterparts.This novel is read­able and fun. The author does a fan­tas­tic job make the WASP can­di­dates as deter­mined, intel­li­gent, resource­ful and capa­ble indi­vid­u­als who are get­ting a shot at mak­ing some­thing out of them­selves regard­less of class, social stand­ings or background.I did find the dia­logue a bit clunky and a char­ac­ter­i­za­tion which played up to cer­tain stereo­types, but that was part of the fun of the book. The plot was over the top enter­tain­ment, the pro­tag­o­nist, Sally, seemed to be the one to find her­self involved in near fatal­i­ties which she only sur­vived due to her tremen­dous fly­ing skills honed dur­ing her barn­storm­ing days.How­ever, the details of the WASP pro­gram and the air­planes are what made the book worth read­ing for me. I have heard of the WASP pro­gram but never really read any­thing about it. Mr. Friedrich has a mar­velous abil­ity to com­bine tech­ni­cal writ­ing and ease of under­stand­ing dif­fi­cult sub­ject mattes (aero­nau­tics, maneu­ver­ing, learn­ing to fly etc.).It was aston­ish­ing to me to learn of the way the U.S. mil­i­tary treated women dur­ing World War II. I’ve been in the mil­i­tary and while some­times resent­ful of the sup­port per­son­nel who were drink­ing cake and sip­ping cof­fee in town square while I was eat­ing mud on a cold night (that’s the way I envi­sioned them any­way), in hind­sight I always appre­ci­ated them. Once I worked my way up the ranks (not too high), I learned how valu­able they actu­ally were.Com­ing from this point of view, it seemed incred­i­ble and idi­otic that the top brass didn’t rec­og­nize what the sup­port at home always knew. How valu­able they actu­ally are.For more reviews and bookish thoughts please visit:

  • Holly Weiss
    2018-12-27 21:20

    Who Says Skirts Can't Fly Better than Pants? Books honoring the heroes of World War II abound and rightfully so. Karl Friedrich breaks out of the mold and venerates women trained to fly planes on the home front due to a shortage of male pilots. What no one realized at the time was that these “flygirls” could pilot the pants off their male counterparts. Karl Friedrich, newspaper reporter, public relations writer, photographer and copy writer makes his debut as an author in Wings: A Novel of World War II Flygirls. He gives voice to a neglected but intriguing slice of World War II. His lifelong fascination with women who accomplish great things despite the displeasure of men and his love of flying permeate the pages of his book.Charged with aviation duties within the US so that male pilots were free for combat, members of the Women Air Force Service Pilots program were free to resign whenever they wanted. Their salaries were half that of the male aviators who often heckled the “skirt” pilots. WASP women trained for five months so they would be qualified to deliver airplanes anywhere needed by the military. Sally Ketchum leaves the poverty and superstition of her Texas home with no sense of security or family history to be a member of the civilian WASP program. Her hands are full dealing with daily calisthenics, sub-standard chow and some jousting amongst the women trainees. Harassment from the men intimidated by their female associates tops it off. Waterman, a lawyer hired by Congress to find a way to shut down the WASP program turns out to be her biggest challenge. Her victory comes in being called “the best pilot in the army.”Not exactly a plot driven novel, Wings does capture the era of wartime 1940 as well as the battle of the sexes. It offers this interesting tidbit— the job of male flight instructor was desirable because the pay was better than army pilots and it was a way to avoid the draft. Of most interest to this reader was senior flight instructor Skinner, prone to tirades and sympathy for the women of WASP. The author’s technique of developing Sally and Tex’s characters of through Sally’s recollections is commendable, but the many Tex references seemed overdone. Sally’s romance with Beau, who turns out to be a much better writer than a pilot, seems forced. Be prepared for extensive descriptions of aircraft and flying. All in all, the book was an energetic story of an intrepid woman who wouldn’t quit until she achieved her dream. The Epilogue of Wings notes that in 1979, women of the WASP program were finally granted long overdue military recognition and veteran status. This reader commends Karl Friedrich for bringing to light those women who served our country as part of the WASP program. World War II and aviation buffs will love this book.I thank McBooks Publishing for supplying a review copy of Wings. The opinions expressed in my review are unbiased and wholly my own.

  • Amanda
    2019-01-12 22:09

    This book was fantastic. Absolutely wonderful! Wonderful characterization; they were all amazing yet horribly flawed in one way or another, making them tremendously real. There was definitely some major plot twists throughout the book that keeps the reader in suspense and I loved them all. Whatever expectations I might have had going into the book, by the end they were blown out of the water; I loved it.That being said, there were a few things that weren't 100% perfection. The foreshadowing of some of the twists was extremely obvious sometimes. If you're a frequent reader, you should catch them easily. Honestly, I love it when that happens; I get to jump and squeal "I was right I was right I was right!". I know that sometimes people don't like predicting things, they like to be surprised, so if you find many things predictable, you might be able to catch a lot of the twists before they happen. One thing that kind of bothered me was the repetition. Some of the characters got themselves into the same situations, over and over again, and they handled them the same way, over and over again. This wasn't extreme, though, and I really didn't mind so much as it's just something I noticed.Another thing is the tremendous amount of lectures and speeches the characters give each other, usually while fighting. I found it slightly tedious. At one point near the end of the novel, the main character Sally seems to walk around the base, encountering and engaging in lecture after lecture after lecture. And they were all characters yelling at other characters things like "Oh I know all about you..." and then precede to infer what their life story is. "You just live off of your daddy's money", "you just get everything handed to you on a silver platter", "for your whole life you've let yourself be a victim" just to name a few. Probably the most "meeehhh..." part of the whole book for me. But I seriously did enjoy the book. It was never short on action which I LOVE. I fell in love with all of the characters, except the ones I was supposed to hate. I loved all the plot twists; the ones I could predict and the ones that I couldn't. I can't usually call a book 'amazing' but I certainly can about this one.

  • Meg - A Bookish Affair
    2018-12-31 15:12

    World War II opened up a lot of opportunities for American woman. For the first time, many of them were welcomed into the workforce and welcomed into positions that men generally held. It totally changed the course of history in our country. Some women were even able to fly for the military. They weren't able to fly in combat but they were allowed to help transport goods throughout the country to help the military under the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program. Technically a civilian organization, women were trained to fly military planes to support the war effort.Sally Ketchum is a barnstormer, a pilot who does tricks and flies around the country, with her boyfriend, Tex. When Tex is killed in a plane accident, Sally decides that she still wants to fly so she goes to Texas to join the WASP. When Sally joins, the WASP program is under attack. Congress doesn't want to pay for it anymore because they don't see the value of training women flyers. Mr. Waterman, a Congressional liaison is sent to "observe" the WASP program but he seems to go above and beyond his call of duty and maybe even causes a little trouble himself. Because Sally is an incredibly talented pilot, Waterman seems to go out of his way to make her life a living nightmare. There's a huge twist towards the end of the book involving Waterman that I totally didn't see coming. The characters in the book are fabulous. I loved Sally and how strong she was. I loved her friend,Dixie, and how she doesn't take anything from anyone. I liked Beau even though he royally screws Sally over in the beginning book. He definitely redeems himself in the end, I thought. You really feel for the characters and they are what really make this story. I really, really liked this book. You all know that I love any kind of fiction about World War II but this covered a topic that I know very little about. I knew what a game change for women WWII was but I didn't know a lot about some of the different jobs that women took on. This book definitely filled a void for me. Bottom line: This is a great historical fiction story that covers a little known part of history.

  • Pam
    2019-01-03 14:57 farm life in East Texas has nearly run Sally Ketchum into the ground. With a missing mother and a drunk father, there isn’t a lot to live for. There isn’t, at least, until the day Tex arrives and takes her flying. The day she sails up into the heavens, is the day that she knows that there’s more to life than the worn out pastures she’s always known. She and Tex fall in love and climb the skies, barnstorming their way through life, until tragedy leaves Sally alone, yet again.At the end of her rope, Sally can barely believe it when Uncle Sam and his grand ideas step in, inviting her to join the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). Though it’s a civilian corps, their main goal is to transport planes to free up young men to hit the front line. It’s about as close as she ever dreamed she’d get to adventure.Sally joins a crowd of eager young women at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, TX, including rambunctious and vivacious, if slightly obnoxious, lingerie model, Dixie. The two become fast, albeit very unlikely friends.Sally’s life takes an upturn as she steps up to defend her country. Little to her forewarning, though, it’s not the Germans she’ll battle against but hired gun, Ira Waterman, who represents all of the XY’s in congress who would rather see the WASP shut down than aide their young men with help from home.Friedrich’s narrative is at once startlingly honest and fresh while proving to be jaded and wise. Knowing little to nothing about the WASP, going in to the book, I have to say, it’s become one of my favorite research points in U.S. history, currently. I find myself falling in love with this time period, the more I read about it. Friedrich does a bang up job of getting both male and female fears and hopes about both sexes in the service at the time and for that, he should be commended.

  • Marg
    2018-12-20 23:05

    I just got it in the mail, thanks! Look forward to reading it!I really like what this novel is about - the women pilots from World War II. These pilots, to free up male pilots, were responsible for ferrying around aircraft and flying aircraft that men would not. They did not fly into war, but I suppose they had a war of their own - against the males of their own country - for the right to fly. They did not get treated with respect by all, and forces in the government tried to shut them down. They did not get paid the same or get the same benefits as males, and sometimes the women flew when and what the males would not. You see all of this in the book.Sally, after a run of bad luck and a bad growing up experience, dreams of being a pilot for WASP. She is very determined to get there. But she faces adversary through certain characters that want to shut down not only WASP, but her as well. You also see some terrible accidents (but probably aren't really accidents), that show how much men did not want women in the cockpit. It is shocking, but sadly, not surprising. Some of these women pilots were clearly better than some of the male pilots.Sally goes off to join WASP and begins her training. There is an instructor, Beau, who takes her up on her first flight. It didn't go so well, to say the least, and she has a hatred for this character. But it suddenly changes later on in the book to become something else, and in my opinion, it seemed forced. There was not any build up towards a change, it was just snap, and she is heads over heals for this character. It seemed uncharacteristic of this character to all of a sudden change like that. The ending, was fairly solid, though I wish there was a afterward note or something that told us what Sally ended up doing and what happened to her. It was a fairly solid book. I enjoyed learning more about history and about airplanes.

  • Connie N.
    2018-12-29 22:22

    This is a fascinating novel based on the WASP program of World War II when women civilians were trained to fly aircraft for the war effort, freeing up men for combat. The women were transport the aircraft to locations where they could be flown overseas where needed. The story is a fictional look at a training base in Texas, following several very different women and their reasons for joinig this effort. What was so frustrating about this book was the prevailing attitude at the time, both of men and surprisingly of women. Most people thought it was totally outrageous for women to do anything but be at home taking care of their families. It's hard to imagine in this day and age what the beliefs were in the 1940's. A large majority of men, especially those in the Army, were shocked and dismayed with "skirts" in cockpits. What seems so natural nowadays was considered ridiculous then. Even when a woman was a much better pilot than a man, most people would consider the man to be in charge and the woman to simply be along for the ride. Most of the story centered around Sally Ketcham, a skilled pilot training to be in the WASP program. She has been a victim all her life, without realizing it, and discovered her strengths by working with the other women in the group. The book is soap opera, but with interesting information and a peek at an entirely different lifestyle from the freedom women have today. I would rate it 3.5 stars, but rounded up because the book kept my interest throughout. It seemed to have a young adult vibe about it, but no one else rated it as such nor was it marketed to be, so I assume that's the writing style of the author, which certainly made it very easy to read.

  • aspasiacat
    2018-12-17 22:07

    Women, airplanes and war are the premise for Karl Friedrich’s WINGS: A NOVEL OF WORLD WAR II FLYGIRLS, which could have been subtitled “sassy skirts take on D.C. bureaucrats for the chance to fly military aircraft for the war effort.” Friedrich’s lead character, Sally Ketchum is a somewhat clichéd backwoods, dirt poor farm girl who traded that life for one of adventure when she met a young pilot who taught her to fly both literally and figuratively. After his tragic death in a flying accident she volunteers for the “WASP” program (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots). She finds herself at the school where she will learn to fly military aircraft –to ferry them to bases, etc. and free up military pilots for combat.The aptly named “Avenger Field ” program in Texas is tough and is complicated by a Congressional “spy” who seems to dislike Sally in particular and female pilots in general. He is looking for problems and seems bent on closing the WASP program. With this conflict simmering, Frienderich who based his novel on real-life stories of WWII flygirls gives the reader a massive helping of the long hours, tough classroom and flying conditions experienced by the women in the program. He also adds a dash of romance, mystery and history to his book pulling in historic figures as well as pertinent war information.It’s an easy and interesting read and if it is true that this will be a series, a TV mini-series seems probable as well. Entertaining with believable characters (perhaps just a bit too black and white in terms of the good vs. bad guys) but a delicious slice of history for anyone interested in aviation.

  • RivkaBelle
    2019-01-01 21:01

    I managed to snag this through LibraryThings's Early Reviewers program, and was really excited. I have always had an interest in aviation history, and this sounded right up my alley. Once I started reading though, I was a little disappointed - I'll explain in a minute. First, let me say that it is a good book - worth a read if you're interested in aviation history, or American women's history. Maybe some of my "eh"-reaction to the book was from taking in different expectations than what I received in the reading - if any of you read it, I'd love to hear what you think!Okay, let's discuss the book itself. The premise is awesome: Sally, a 'self-trained' pilot from Texas, is part of the Army's WASP training program (Women Airforce Service Pilots). She and her fellow WASP students are being trained in flying 'the Army way' so they can then transport planes as needed for the Army to free up male pilots to fight and do 'official' World War II duties. The chronology felt a little awkward to me - the pace of what I was reading felt much slower than where I felt like I should have been in the story. I think my biggest 'issue' with the book is that I had a really hard time investing in Sally's story. She's a character who goes through a lot in life, with a fierce determination to succeed, but she doesn't actually grow. I got rather frustrated with her attitudes and choices, I wanted her to open her eyes and see what was going on - but she just kept on keepin' on the same old way.

  • Cheryl A
    2018-12-31 16:01

    Sally Ketchum escapes her hard scrabble life in East Texas with her boyfriend, barnstormer Tex. When tragedy strikes, Sally is forced to return home to her drunk father and worn-out farm. When a letter from the WASP's reaches her, she makes her way to Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas where she will learn to fly the Army's planes in order to ferry them across the country, freeing up male pilots for duty on the front. Sally finally feels that see has found her place in the world - she's a damn fine pilot and the sky's her limit, until Washington lawyer Waterman decides that the WASP program needs to be shut down and Sally needs a lesson in civility.The settings of Sweetwater and Avenger Field were quite enjoyable as were the flying aspects of the novel. The character development of Sally and the other women flyers was a little "off" - I never developed any empathy for any of the characters. The main focus of the novel seemed to be on Waterman and his vendetta against the program. While the author used this plotline to establish the prejudices and unfairness of the treatment of the women in the program, I felt that more could have been written on how the women characters reacted to this aspect of the story. Overall, I felt the novel lacked a cohesive theme -the short vignettes of action and descriptions left it up to the reader to piece together the story.

  • Helen
    2018-12-31 17:19

    As someone who loves historical fiction, especially as it relates to WWII, I found ”Wings: A Novel of World War II Flygirls” by Karl Friedrich intriguing on one level and disappointing on another. Historically, it provided insights into the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) of WWII who were recruited to work as civilian employees for the Army Air Force to ferry airplanes, thus freeing up men to take combat flying positions. Mr. Friedrich does a wonderful job of portraying the recruitment and training of these women as well as the prejudice they experienced with male military pilots and some in Congress. The book details the history of the very last class of WASP to be trained before they were decommissioned by Congress and who never actually acted as ferry pilots. This book was disappointing to me because I had hoped for some history and/or fictionalized story of their actual work experiences. Being historical fiction it also is laced with a fictional plot that includes good guys and bad guys as well as romantic interests. The romance in this book often made me feel like I was reading a romance novel rather than historical fiction which was too much for me. If you’re looking for a good read about the WASP, this is your book, however, if you’re looking for a great underlying story it was not.

  • Rachel
    2018-12-24 16:02

    Full disclosure up front: I won this book through FirstReads.First, I have to say I LOVE the premise for this book. WHY, WHY, WHY haven't we heard anything about the program at the center of this book before? It's called WASP--Women Air Force Service Pilots. It was a military-based training program for women to fly planes anywhere the armed services needed them, aside from actual combat of course. It operated for only a few years during World War 2, but it is a fascinating piece of history with almost NO prior coverage in fiction that I know of. (This would be a FANTASTIC film or television premise.) I only gave this book three stars because of the story. Friedrich is only an okay writer, not varying his sentence structure much and not really crafting words together in interesting ways. He also tries to imitate Southern twang and it is a bit silly. Sally Ketchum is a decent lead character but the villainous Ira Waterman, a Washington lawyer determined to shut down the WASP, is not remarkable. I don't really feel the way he scares Sally. And the personal backstory Friedrich creates between them is a bit silly too. The actual plot and other characters are solid enough, but the premise is the star here. It deserved better.

  • Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
    2018-12-28 20:01

    Sally's life is inherently unhappy, except for her brief time with Tex, the man who taught her to fly and the man with whom she fell in love. After his death, she learns about the WASP program and enrolls to become a female military pilot. Once at school, however, she learns that there are those who want the program disbanded and of one individual, in particular, who has a personal vendetta against her.While historically, this is a very rich novel, it's not a particularly happy story. Sally's life is hard and it never gets easier, although she's tough and plucky and manages to overcome obstacles and adversity. She meets an a assortment of young women in the WASP program, all of whom have their own secrets and reasons for joining up. Their collective story is fascinating. Moderate profanity and innuendo is noted.I think Karl Friedrich has done a terrific job of portraying a time in our history that was difficult for all: those who went to war and those who were left behind. Women rose to the occasion and took on many jobs that until the war came, had been male only jobs, including flying military jets. I'm appalled at the treatment these women received at the hand of our government and I'm proud of them for the pathway they paved for future women.

  • Lorri
    2018-12-27 15:20

    The history of Womens Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS) is heavily examined in this excellent novel, by Karl Friedrich.The main character is Sally Ketchum, who joined the WASPS program in order to better herself, yet faced flack from the male pilots who didn't believe women belonged in a cockpit. She was belittled for even dreaming she could succeed. All the women involved in the novel were belittled, and sexism played a major role within the pages.From the first page to the last page, I could not put this book down until I finished it. It is inspiring on many levels, especially for the determination of one woman who went up against the odds and survived the adversity thrust upon women in the military. It is also a heartwarming story of determination to succeed in a world reigned by men, and also determination to better one's human condition.Although it is fairly predictable, I enjoyed reading it for the historical value. I recommend Wings: A Novel of World War II Flygirls to everyone who is interested in womens' military participation during WWII.Thank you to Library Thing for the Early Reviewers Copy.

  • Kate Widhalm
    2018-12-17 22:00

    I actually really enjoyed this book and ironically enough read it on the airplane while heading to vacation! I find myself drawn to books that take place during WW II but I had yet to read anything that involved the WASP program. The information that I gathered from the story has made we want to find more books on the subject of the program and the trials and tribulations that the women had to go through in a "man's world".The heroine of the story is Sally Ketchum who suffers some terrible experiences in the first chapter of the book and then follows her as she leaves to go through WASP training. Once at Avenger she forges (if you can really call it that) a connection with 3 other women trainees: Dixie, Geri and Twila. She also develops a tumultuous relationship with one of her flight instructors (Beau Bayard) and manages to be the punching bag for the Washington lawyer (Ira Waterman) who was sent to gather information that would force the program to be disbanded.Some of the storyline did seem a little slow at times but with that said I would and have recommended it to others.

  • Cherie
    2018-12-20 22:10

    During World War II, young women were trained to fly Army planes to various locations within the United States where the planes would then be turned over to Army pilots to be used in combat overseas. At that time, most people were against women being pilots of any kind, and these young women who wanted to fly were looked down on and definitely discriminated against. It was a constant uphill battle to keep the program open and in this novel, the program is closed down before these girls even finish their training. These women were never considered Army personnel; they even had to buy their own uniforms. It was only in 1979, over thirty years after the war ended, that the US government granted recognition to these women and they received their long overdue veteran status! I have always been interested in the World War II WASPS, as they were called, but I wish I had found a better or more riveting novel about them.