Read Red Sky, Black Death: A Soviet Woman Pilot's Memoir of the Eastern Front by A.A. Timofeeva-Egorova Online


Born in a tiny village amidst revolution and civil war, Anna Yegorova came of age during the grimmest years of Soviet power. An optimistic and resolute young patriot, she saw hope and vision in the nascent superpower's ideology. She volunteered to help build Moscow. And she took to the skies and learned to fly.But when Germany's 1941 invasion shook Russia to its core, YegoBorn in a tiny village amidst revolution and civil war, Anna Yegorova came of age during the grimmest years of Soviet power. An optimistic and resolute young patriot, she saw hope and vision in the nascent superpower's ideology. She volunteered to help build Moscow. And she took to the skies and learned to fly.But when Germany's 1941 invasion shook Russia to its core, Yegorova joined her fellow pilots in the bloodiest war zone in human history, flying hair-riasing reconnaissance missions in a wooden biplane. She became a flight leader in the famously deadly "Shturmovik" ground-attack aircraft, guiding her comrades in furious air battles along the Southern Front.Eventually shot down and captured near Warsaw, Yegorova survived five months in a Nazi concentration camp. After the war, she was welcomed home with suspicion and persecution by the notorious Soviet secret police.Amid the epic catastrophe of Russia's "Great Patriotic War" and her own personal tragedies, Yegorova's story is also one of joy, camaraderie among soldiers and pilots and the quiet satisfaction of defending one's country, all against a backdrop of love for the freedom of flight. In 1965, Yegorova was awarded the illustrious "Hero of the Soviet Union," then Moscow's highest honor....

Title : Red Sky, Black Death: A Soviet Woman Pilot's Memoir of the Eastern Front
Author :
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ISBN : 9780893573553
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 213 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Red Sky, Black Death: A Soviet Woman Pilot's Memoir of the Eastern Front Reviews

  • Tara Chevrestt
    2019-05-05 00:14

    While the United States was wasting time arguing over whether or not women should even be allowed to ferry aircraft on the mainland, Russia had women flying in combat and this is the story of one of their amazing women. Anna's memoir begins before the war when she joins the communist movement and leaves her home (a farm) to find a job in Moscow. She takes a job working in the underground mine building Moscow's first subway. One day, Anna is deeply inspired and goes from the dark underbelly of the city to flight school. From that day on, Anna serves her country and her people by taking to the skies. There is minor setback when her brother is arrested for a trumped charge and her relation to him is not taken kindly by the authorities, but Anna does not let that deter her. Instead she heads right into a commandor's office and states her case and her desire to fly, not taking no for an answer. She proceeds to ferry generals to and from camps during the war, fly top secret messages to their designated locations, gets facial frostbite, searches for missing soldiers from her viewpoint in the clouds, and at one point, gets towed by a horse. Then she flies the fighters and things get exciting. On top of getting shot as well as getting off a few good rounds herself, she even becomes a prisoner of war. (This does not bode well with her own country as readers will discover for themselves.)Amid all the war details is some touching stories like the time her mother shows up at an air show and thinks to catch her daughter in her apron, the doctor that hands out chocolate and makes a bathhouse at every camp, and my personal favorite is when Anna's mother sends her a package of mittens made with two fingers, so that Anna may be unhindered in pulling a trigger. Good autobiography.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-05-06 17:56

    An amazing memoir. Anna Yegorova trained as a pilot before World War II (after working as a miner and helping to build the Moscow Metro), and after the onset of war basically blustered her way into the ranks of the Air Force through sheer determination. I think I find the stories of her courier flight days, in a wooden biplane skimming the treetops through snowstorms, getting shot down and leaping out of the burning plane and delivering her military package on foot, more dumbfounding than her later days as a combat pilot.She eventually crashed behind enemy lines and was dragged from her charred plane with all her ribs, her spine and her pelvis broken and was summarily thrown by her Gestapo captors into a POW cell on starvation rations. When the camp was liberated by the Russian Army, instead of being hospitalized she was immediately thrown into jail and subjected to weeks of party interrogation as a traitor to the Soviet Union—resulting in years of battle for a pension, an apartment, and her party membership to be reinstated. Of her days in the POW camp she writes, “All the prisoners received packages of food and medicine from the International Red Cross, everyone except for the Russians, that is. The Soviet Union withdrew from the organization. According to Stalin’s reasoning, ‘We don’t have prisoners of war. We have traitors.’”*headdesk*She was eventually “rehabilitated” and awarded the honor of “Hero of the Soviet Union” TWENTY YEARS LATER. And, you will be happy to know, she married one of her former commanders and had two children and wrote this book and lived to the ripe old age of 93.It’s a thrilling read. Her prose style is straightforward and simple; as a soldier, girlish innocence wars with fierce determination. I love the story of how on one flight she is instructed to pick up an escort of a couple of fighter pilots of lower rank than her own—of course they assume the pilot they’re following is a man, and when they first hear her speaking to them over the radio they make fun of her “effeminate” voice. But when they hear her home control tower greet her as “little Anna” they start performing celebratory aerobatics above her as she lands! Back on base her comrades tease her for bringing her boyfriends back to the airfield with her! It was fun reading this in combination with Garth Ennis' Battlefields Volume 6: Motherland, because the heroine of that graphic novel is so obviously based on Yegorova.

  • Mike Hankins
    2019-05-01 23:05

    Fascinating memoir of Anna Yegorova, a woman Soviet pilot during WW2. What jumped out at me, first of all, is the degree to which personal relationships formed her motivation for fighting, and her world view entirely. Much like soldiers of other places and times, the personal connection with the people she fought with seems to be her #1 concern, and the lens through which she processes what is happening.Of course, she is a firm believer in the communist cause (all the more interesting, since this book came out the year after the Soviet Union fell) but seems to compartmentalize quite a bit. Even though her brother is arrested as a traitor, even though she is treated with suspicion and interrogated by secret police multiple times, even though her government causes her all sorts of problems, she doesn't see that as a problem with the Soviet state in general, and continues to believe it is overall a good government. Seeing the generational gap between her, who grew up in the Soviet system, as opposed to her parents and older family members who remember the pre-revolution era and prefer it, is particularly interesting. Her patriotism is not necessarily connected to her support of the Soviet state, as she is patriotic of Russia as an entity aside from her thoughts on communism. I also found it interesting that she talks about flying much the same way that American pilots do, with the romantic flair that emphasizes individualism, escapism, etc. She also has a similar longing for combat roles, attack aircraft, and sees fighter pilots as better than other types. There's also a lot of great moments here where she proves that women can be just as effective as men, and this illuminates some of the patriarchal attitudes at play in that era, and how she fought against them and overcame them.All in all, very good, and a short, quick read from a perspective that is very different from the type of stuff us Americans usually see, yet still very familiar.

  • Darius Jung
    2019-05-19 00:00

    As a source of stories and ideas, is there anything that can compare to World War II? Its scale and impact was so monumental, it seems every type of conflict affecting people from all walks of life and all corners of the world, every moral dimension and literary archetype can be drawn from the real life experiences of the war. For a time period that has been covered as extensively as it has been by our popular culture over the past six decades, there still seem to be limitless supplies of new and compelling stories to be mined from its depths.The most recent example I've encountered is also one of the best military memoirs I can recall reading. Red Sky, Black Death is the story of Anna Yegorova, a ground attack pilot who fought for the Soviet Union during World War II. The book traces her youth, from her time as a proud communist worker building the Moscow underground, to becoming one of the world's only female attack plane pilots, finally ending with her struggle against the shameful stigma placed on her by Stalin's policies as a former prisoner of war. The Soviet Union was the only country to officially recruit women for combat duty during the war. Even having read numerous first hand accounts and non-fiction books on the subject of Soviet women combat pilots, Yegorova's story still surprised and enthralled me in equal parts.First and foremost, what stands out is the quality of writing and translating. Yegorova's experiences are interesting enough on their own, however, given the length of time that has passed, it could easily devolve into either unlinked snippets of memories or a grocery list of events. It is neither of these things. The book is a story and it holds together a clear sense of events as they happened, sometimes sprinkling with intimations of the future and how the recollections linger in the present. The narrative momentum never falters. Further making her telling stand out is her unusual openness about the contradictions in Soviet life at the time. Many similar memoirs suffer from excessive influence from Soviet era propaganda that the authors' experienced, or simply gloss over the political realities. But having bitterly confronted her own brother's persecution during one of Stalin's purges as well as her own after the war, Yegorova gives us a fully formed notion of the cruel ironies of risking and sacrificing so much country she loves that is ruled by such a repressive system.What would have served to improve the book would have been an appendix, which could clarify the progression of time and place during the narrative (a bare bones timeline is offered as a preface.)Still, this is a personal record, and it stands with the best military memoirs from the war. I am very happy that this book has found an English translation, as it sheds light on several little known (in the Western world at least) corners of the World War II canon. It is such a rarity not only as a memoir of the Soviet experience, but also of a woman in combat.

  • Jeff
    2019-04-24 22:15

    "Red Sky, Black Death". Anna Timofeyeva Yegorova. 2009. A tender and heartfelt, humbly written memoir of a Russian, combat pilot. Young, patriotic Anya Yegovona relentlessly drives herself to confront the "Hitlerit" invaders. Although the totalitarian regime under which she fights for is nearly as dangerous as the Nazi enemy, her commitment never waivers. Her brother is wrongfully sentenced to ten years in a Siberian prison camp. Her future husband is exiled and she herself is later imprisoned as a traitor for 'allowing' herself to be shot down behind enemy lines. By gracefully allowing a hint of tans-literal choppiness to seep gently into the narrative, translators M. Ponomaryova and K. Green do a commendable service to the memoir, giving the writing a distinct sense of exoticism, a feeling of Russianness, that appropriately separates the reader in both place and time. Yegorova's experiences are beautifully rendered on an emotional and historical level. The editor's choice of footnotes are indispensable. Annotations educating the reader on geography, history, aeronautical terms that very few non Russian or non military experts would be familiar. It is unfortunate that this book is rather obscure, as it stands as one of the great memoirs of WWII aerial combat.

  • Thomas
    2019-05-18 21:52

    I really enjoyed this historical snapshot of World War 2 told narrated through the personal diaries of the first female Russian fighter pilot. The writing style was so realistic and natural, it transports you back to the 1940s and you feel as though you are on the battlefield. This remarkable story stirs up strong feelings of nationalism and patriotism as Anna Yegorova sets the shining example of what every soldier should be. For all you feminists out there that vehemently support women in combat, this novel speaks louder than any protest could ever hope to achieve.

  • Lucianna
    2019-04-23 19:05

    Really interesting memoir. Would love to read a fully translated edition that hadn't been shortened.

  • Leanna
    2019-05-18 18:56

    Riveting and inspiring story, with some truly poetic language and details from Yegorova's life. I would have loved to read more details from the time after she was shot down, and could possibly have done with a little bit less military detail and toeing-the-party-line, but I'm sure those choices reflect the author's own preferences.