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Book Launch and Talk: 'Defending the Motherland: The Soviet Women Who Fought Hitler's Aces'


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 Lilya Litvyak with male trainees.

Lilya Litvyak with male trainees.

Defending the Motherland: The Soviet Women Who Fought Hitler’s Aces

BOOK LAUNCH and TALK at Pushkin House

Author Dr Lyuba Vinogradova will be in conversation with Sir Max Hastings.

7pm: Drinks and book-buying from 7pm

7:30pm: Talk, followed by Q&A.

Radio operator Anya Skorobogatova

Radio operator Anya Skorobogatova

Plucked from every background, the new recruits who boarded a train in Moscow on 16th October 1941 to go to war had much in common with millions of others across the world. What made these recruits unique was their gender: the Soviet Union was creating the first all-female active combat unit in modern history.

Drawing on original interviews with surviving airwomen, Dr Lyuba Vinogradova weaves together the untold stories of the female Soviet fighter pilots of the Second World War. From that first train journey to the last tragic disappearance, Vinogradova’s panoramic account of these women’s lives follows them from society balls to unmarked graves, from landmark victories to the horrors of Stalingrad. Battling not just fearsome Aces of the Luftwaffe but also patronising prejudice from their own leaders, women such as Lilya Litvyak and Ekaterina Budanova are brought to life by the diaries and recollections of those who knew them, and who watched them live, love, fight and die.

Tickets include a glass of wine and the opportunity to buy the book with a special launch discount.


(c) KB MacLehose Press

(c) KB MacLehose Press

Dr Lyuba Vinogradova was born in Moscow in 1973. After graduating from the Moscow Agricultural Academy with a PhD in microbiology, she took a second degree in foreign languages. In 1995 she was introduced to Antony Beevor and helped him research Stalingrad. Since then she has worked on many other research projects, and is the co-author (together with Beevor) of A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army. (Source: MacLehose Press)






Sir Max Hastings is the author of twenty books, including Armageddon, Warriors, Bomber Command, Overlord and Battle For The Falklands. Educated at Charterhouse and University College, Oxford, as a journalist he reported conflicts around the world for newspapers and BBC TV, experiences recounted in his memoir Going To The Wars. For almost ten years he was editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph, and spent a further six as editor of the Evening Standard. He has presented many television documentaries, and contributes regularly to the Daily Mail, Guardian and Sunday Times. He has won prizes both for his books and his journalism. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he was knighted in 2002. He lives in west Berkshire with his wife Penny, and has two grown-up children. (Source: Harper Collins website)