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The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II

Review

The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II

They were women who would have and should have gained fame for a myriad of reasons, though their very gender was often their greatest barrier. But when the need arose to fight for their country, they "stepped out of line" to accomplish deeds of daring that required skills, grit and high intelligence. These are the heroines of retired U.S. Army Major General Mari K. Eder’s collection.

The book opens with the story of “Wonder Woman.” Alice Marble was an aspiring athlete who took up tennis in her teens. In 1933, she collapsed on court and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She rallied back, becoming #1 on the Top Ten list of amateur players. Her life allowed her to mix with the rich and famous, and she was asked to endorse a new comic series to be called Wonder Woman. She did so, and became part of the production team only when its creator agreed to use the comic to highlight accomplishments of great women like Clara Barton and Eleanor Roosevelt.

"This impressive work can serve as an inspiration to other strong-minded women ready to take their rightful places in the history books of the future."

When war broke out, Marble had the opportunity to act as a spy for the U.S. in Switzerland, and would later become such a strong advocate of young Althea Gibson that her words were instrumental in getting the first African American woman accepted to the U.S. Open.

Another remarkable female highlighted here is Virginia Hall, who lost her left leg below the knee in a hunting accident in 1933. Brilliant, with a grasp of multiple languages and a photographic memory, she began work for the Allied underground at the inception of World War II, using every conceivable disguise, including that of an old farm woman, dying her hair gray and using the shuffle of her prosthetic limb to enhance the effect. Her life-threatening work was vital to the war effort, gaining her a Distinguished Service Medal among other awards. After her service ended, she rarely spoke of it --- out of respect, she said, to the many who had died in her same line of work. 

With 15 historical portraits drawn in dramatic detail, and predictions made about current female icons --- such as Greta Thunberg, Ilhan Omar and Queen Elizabeth --- THE GIRLS WHO STEPPED OUT OF LINE casts light on women whose careers, abilities and aspirations can shine now, out of the obscurity of history. Eder’s outstanding international career has led her to recognition as a speaker, writer and educator. This impressive work can serve as an inspiration to other strong-minded women ready to take their rightful places in the history books of the future.

Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott on August 7, 2021

The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II
by Major General Mari K. Eder

  • Publication Date: May 1, 2022
  • Genres: History, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks
  • ISBN-10: 172824272X
  • ISBN-13: 9781728242729