book cover of Switchboard Soldiers
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Switchboard Soldiers

(2022)
A novel by

 
 
From New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini, a bold, revelatory novel about one of the great untold stories of World War I—the women of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, who broke down gender barriers in the military, smashed the workplace glass ceiling, and battled a pandemic as they helped lead the Allies to victory. 

In June 1917, General John Pershing arrived in France to establish American forces in Europe. He immediately found himself unable to communicate with troops in the field. Pershing needed operators who could swiftly and accurately connect multiple calls, speak fluent French and English, remain steady under fire, and be utterly discreet, since the calls often conveyed classified information.

At the time, nearly all well-trained American telephone operators were women—but women were not permitted to enlist, or even to vote in most states. Nevertheless, the U.S. Army Signal Corps promptly began recruiting them.

More than 7,600 women responded, including Grace Banker of New Jersey, a switchboard instructor with AT&T and an alumna of Barnard College; Marie Miossec, a Frenchwoman and aspiring opera singer; and Valerie DeSmedt, a twenty-year-old Pacific Telephone operator from Los Angeles, determined to strike a blow for her native Belgium.

They were among the first women sworn into the U.S. Army under the Articles of War. The male soldiers they had replaced had needed one minute to connect each call. The switchboard soldiers could do it in ten seconds.

The risk of death was real—the women worked as bombs fell around them—as was the threat of a deadly new disease: the Spanish Flu. Not all of the telephone operators would survive.

Sometimes mocked as the “hello girls,” the women of the U.S. Army Signal Corps served with honor and played an essential role in achieving the Allied victory. Their story has never been the focus of a novel…until now. 



Genre: General Fiction

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Hardback Editions

July 2022 : USA Hardback
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Title: Switchboard Soldiers: A Novel
Author(s): Jennifer Chiaverini
ISBN: 0-06-308069-9 / 978-0-06-308069-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: William Morrow
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

July 2022 : USA Paperback
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Title: Switchboard Soldiers: A Novel
Author(s): Jennifer Chiaverini
ISBN: 0-06-324197-8 / 978-0-06-324197-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: HarperLuxe
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Audio Editions

July 2022 : Australia Audio edition
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Title: Switchboard Soldiers: A Novel
Author(s): Jennifer Chiaverini
Publisher: HarperAudio
Availability: Amazon AU   


July 2022 : Canada Audio edition

Title: Switchboard Soldiers: A Novel
Author(s): Jennifer Chiaverini
Publisher: HarperAudio
Availability: Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

July 2022 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: Switchboard Soldiers: A Novel
Author(s): Jennifer Chiaverini
Publisher: William Morrow
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU