BOOK REVIEW: The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line by Mari K. Eder

Title: The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of Women Who Changed the Course of World War II
Author: Mari K. Eder Major General
Publication: August 3, 2021
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Pages: 400

SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line are the heroes of the Greatest Generation that you hardly ever hear about. These women who did extraordinary things didn’t expect thanks and shied away from medals and recognition. Despite their amazing accomplishments, they’ve gone mostly unheralded and unrewarded. No longer. These are the women of World War II who served, fought, struggled, and made things happen–in and out of uniform.

Liane B. Russell fled Austria with nothing and later became a renowned U.S. scientist whose research on the effects of radiation on embryos made a difference to thousands of lives. Gena Turgel was a prisoner who worked in the hospital at Bergen-Belsen and cared for the young Anne Frank, who was dying of typhus. Gena survived and went on to write a memoir and spent her life educating children about the Holocaust. Ida and Louise Cook were British sisters who repeatedly smuggled out jewelry and furs and served as sponsors for refugees, and they also established temporary housing for immigrant families in London.

Retired U.S. Army Major General Mari K. Eder wrote this book because she knew their stories needed to be told–and the sooner the better. For theirs is a legacy destined to embolden generations of women to come.


**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

I am admitting now that I am not a huge non-fiction reader. I prefer documentaries over non-fiction books, but I’ve really been trying to push myself to read more non-fiction. I love reading stories from World War II about people surviving or how it all played out, so I thought Eder’s book The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line would be the perfect book for me.

This book is made up of multiple stories of different women who played different roles in World War II that significantly changed the course of the War in general, or the course of the war for a group of people. Eder did such a great job telling these stories. I found myself worked up a lot and fighting tears as I read about the things these women went through during the war. They weren’t even counted as soldiers at the time, but the things they did were groundbreaking and life changing in the eyes of those suffering from and fighting in this war. I love the different types of stories Eder chose to tell. This book shares stories about women in intelligence, women in camps, women in administrative roles, pilots, and so much more. I never knew the things women were doing during World War II and I feel I am better now for knowing what they, and so many more, did.

My only issue with this book was the ending. After so many great stories, the last few chapters seemed a bit unorganized. They fluctuated back to some of the women in the stories we had just read and added little bits and pieces to their stories, but it jumped around in time, acknowledged some of their achievements, and also talked about current women who are continuing to “step out of line” and do things women aren’t expected to do. This part of the book just came across disorganized and didn’t flow well for me. I enjoyed the information, I just wished it was a bit more smooth like the rest of the book was.

With that being said, I love this book. I highly recommend it for everyone, whether you are a World War II buff or not. The information shared is so useful to understand what was going on for women in that time and how their roles played a part in our success in that war. It’s inspiring to hear what these women did. You want to be more like them. Do more. I truly enjoyed these stories and would love to read of more greatness from women in World War II. You will get emotional. You will feel inspired. You will want to cheer. This book is so much more than a few stories of women. So much more.


Preorder your copy of The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line by Major General Mari K. Eder on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or check your local bookstore on August 3. You can also add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished.

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