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The Women Who Flew for Hitler

The Women Who Flew for Hitler

A True Story of Soaring Ambition and Searing Rivalry

Clare Mulley

Picador

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Biographers' Club Prize-winner Clare Mulley’s The Women Who Flew for Hitler—a dual biography of Nazi Germany's most highly decorated women pilots.

Hanna Reitsch and Melitta von Stauffenberg were talented, courageous, and strikingly attractive women who fought convention to make their names in the male-dominated field of flight in 1930s Germany. With the war, both became pioneering test pilots and were awarded the Iron Cross for service to the Third Reich. But they could not have been more different and neither woman had a good word to say for the other.

Hanna was middle-class, vivacious, and distinctly Aryan, while the darker, more self-effacing Melitta came from an aristocratic Prussian family. Both were driven by deeply held convictions about honor and patriotism; but ultimately, while Hanna tried to save Hitler’s life, begging him to let her fly him to safety in April 1945, Melitta covertly supported the most famous attempt to assassinate the Führer. Their interwoven lives provide vivid insight into Nazi Germany and its attitudes toward women, class, and race.

Acclaimed biographer Clare Mulley gets under the skin of these two distinctive and unconventional women, giving a full—and as yet largely unknown—account of their contrasting yet strangely parallel lives, against a changing backdrop of the 1936 Olympics, the Eastern Front, the Berlin Air Club, and Hitler’s bunker. Told with brio and great narrative flair, The Women Who Flew for Hitler is an extraordinary true story, wit… More…

Biographers' Club Prize-winner Clare Mulley’s The Women Who Flew for Hitler—a dual biography of Nazi Germany's most highly decorated women pilots.

Hanna Reitsch and Melitta von Stauffenberg were talented, courageous, and strikingly attractive women who fought convention to make their names in the male-dominated field of flight in 1930s Germany. With the war, both became pioneering test pilots and were awarded the Iron Cross for service to the Third Reich. But they could not have been more different and neither woman had a good word to say for the other.

Hanna was middle-class, vivacious, and distinctly Aryan, while the darker, more self-effacing Melitta came from an aristocratic Prussian family. Both were driven by deeply held convictions about honor and patriotism; but ultimately, while Hanna tried to save Hitler’s life, begging him to let her fly him to safety in April 1945, Melitta covertly supported the most famous attempt to assassinate the Führer. Their interwoven lives provide vivid insight into Nazi Germany and its attitudes toward women, class, and race.

Acclaimed biographer Clare Mulley gets under the skin of these two distinctive and unconventional women, giving a full—and as yet largely unknown—account of their contrasting yet strangely parallel lives, against a changing backdrop of the 1936 Olympics, the Eastern Front, the Berlin Air Club, and Hitler’s bunker. Told with brio and great narrative flair, The Women Who Flew for Hitler is an extraordinary true story, with all the excitement and color of the best fiction.

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Praise for The Women Who Flew for Hitler

"Biographer Mulley comes through in a major way with this deep dive into the lives of WW2-era German aviatrixes...Absolutely gripping, Mulley's double portrait is a reminder that there are many more stories to tell from this oft-examined time." —Booklist (starred review)

"This compelling work has the drama and suspense of the best movie scripts. It is the perfect choice for lovers of narrative non-fiction, especially those interested in strong females." —Library Journal (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads

Clare Mulley

Clare Mulley is the author of The Woman Who Saved the Children: A Biography of Eglantyne Jebb, which won the Daily Mail Biographers' Club Prize in the UK. She is also the author of The Spy Who Loved. She lives in London.

image of Clare Mulleyo
John Kerrison Photography

Picador

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