Soviet Women in Combat: A History of Violence on the Eastern Front

Anna Krylova

Cambridge University Press, 2011

Soviet Women in Combat, the 2011 winner of the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association, explores the unprecedented historical phenomenon of Soviet young women's en masse volunteering for World War II combat in 1941.  For the next four years, more than one hundred thousand women in their late teens and early twenties shared combat with men, serving side by side and sometimes above them, as their commanding officers.  Rather than reducing the story of Soviet women in combat to a narrative of desperate emergency on the Eastern front, Krylova asks how Stalinist Russia, reputedly a patriarchal society, managed to merge notions of soldierhood and womanhood first into a conceivable and then realizable agenda for the cohort of young female volunteers and for its armed forces.