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Call Sign, White Lily

CALL SIGN, WHITE LILY

The Life and Loves of Russia's Heroic World War II Ace

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Synopsis

“[MGCrisci] captures the essence of the folklore surrounding this fallen heroine.”

– 5/5 stars, San Francisco Book Review. Read the full review.

With her country under siege, Lilia Litvyak transformed herself in just a few years from a child chasing fireflies to an aerial demon tormenting Hitler’s Luftwaffe. In the process, she not only became the world’s first female ace, Litvyak rose in a male-dominated society to become one of Russia’s greatest World War II heroes. Litvyak’s incredibly and largely untold story is set as historical fiction against the background of a devastating war that claimed the lives of as many as 30 million Soviet soldiers and citizens.

Yet the story of her transformation from child to Hero of the Soviet Union is more than fascinating.  It serves as an important reminder of the unprecedented sacrifices the Soviets made during the Second World War against a common enemy—sacrifices that are increasingly and dangerously fading from the collective memory of Russians and Americans alike. Equally disturbing is that until now Lilia’s story—her childhood, life, loves, sacrifices and death in aerial combat over the Ukraine—have only been shared in bits and pieces.

Call Sign, White Lily helps to correct this. It also  tells the story of how an American with no Russian ancestry came to know Litvyak, visit her gravesite and monument in a tiny section of the Eastern Ukraine, speak to those that knew her and dig through long-buried records on her life and death. Call Sign, While Lily brings Lilia Litvyak back to life—and in the process reminds both Russians and Americans of the importance and positive impact these great peoples can have by working together.

4th Edition, 2013.

ISBN#: 978-0-9663360-3-0  (paperback), 978-0-9834478-8-7 (e-book)


Testimonials

“A fascinating but tragic story that made me re-live my youth in Germany. I hope Lilia brings me some closure.” - Gisela L., Born Berlin, Germany / Resides Thousand Oaks, CA

“Wow. Lilia made in relive my youth in that concentration camp. I can still see that picture of Hitler at the front of that room.” - Anthony G., Originally Churiv, Ukraine / Now San Diego, CA

“I was sucked into the story from the first chapter. I happen to enjoy non-fiction, but this book was written as a story not so much as an biographical sketch. I found the author's style of writing to be easy to follow and still had all of the details one would expect from a fiction novel. I am sure that if you read the book you would be pleased with your decision!!!!” - David P., PhD., Auburn, AL

“I just finished reading “Call Sign, White Lily” and I take my hat off to you on marvelously and sensitively telling this story of an incredible young woman. I can see why you were so intrigued by Lilia and had to tell the story. I literally could not put the book down and did not want it to end. I have read so many books from the European and American perspective of World War II but you captured the perspective from the Russian side (their determination and sacrifice to overcome the Nazis). You developed the story so well the reader feels they are in the sky with Lilia, Lyosha and Katya.” - Dennis O., Executive Search Firm

“As a retired Professor of Russian Language and Literature, I regret that this fascinating book was not available when I taught Soviet Literature. The 1920s had many great writers, but Zhdanov destroyed Russian literature in 1932 with his Socialist Realism. This great book about Lilia gives insights to life in Russia after the Revolution of 1917 and during the oppressive 1920-30s. It is also a wonderful portrayal of life during the Second World War and the frightful period afterwards. The heroine would carry the interest of any student. I would have used the book in my course.C” - Dr. Thomas E. B., Baltimore, MD

“While Lilia Litvyak's story took 66 years to tell, her courage, her skills and love of country are terribly relevant today. This book is also a moving tribute to the 30 million brave Russian civilians and soldiers who died during The Great Patriotic War.” - Fred B. Tarter , Chairman, Radio Free Europe Foundation

“Once again, M.G. Crisci does not disappoint. He writes non-fiction so well that it feels like fiction. I loved all the characters in Call Sign Lily; there's not a person I didn't like. I also loved how the book sound likes it was Russian translated into English. It gave the book more authenticity. Crisci makes you feel like you are actually living the story beside Lilia Litvyak. I recommend this book to anyone who just wants to read a great book.” - Goodread Review, Defiance, OH

“Wonderful. The dialogue captured how we Russians feel about many things. Maybe LILIA can help Americans understand we are more similar than dissimilar.” - Igor B, MD, Born Moscow, Russia / Resides Fresno, CA

“M.G. CRISCI has created a fascinating (and absorbing) read describing the life of Lilia Litvyak. Born and raised during the formative years of Communist dictatorship in Russia. As a Marine naval aviator who served during the Vietnam era, I particularly admired Lilia’s unswerving dedication to duty by becoming a Russian combat pilot during WWII and her aeronautical skills, demonstrated by her being decorated as a war hero. I urge not just aviators, but all who appreciate good literature to consider reading this book.” - Lt. Col Joseph R., San Diego, CA

“Call Sign is an unbelievable story about an unbelievably beautiful and courageous woman. An inspiration for every woman who wishes to achieve her dream. ” - Michael Y. (Emmy Winner) , Los Angeles, CA

““Call Sign, White Lily” was embraced in the Ukraine with great interest and admiration, especially by members of the Ukrainian NGO ”Aviatrissy”, which is the respected professional Club of women-pilots. The Club members spoke highly about your work, research and dedication to the story about Lilya Litvyak – this young, beautiful and courageous Russian pilot, who made her outstanding contribution to the victory of World War II, known as the “Great Patriotic War” in Russia and Ukraine. ” - Natalia P. Batova, Cultural Attaché, Russian Embassy, Kiev, Ukraine

“It is amazing that Lilia Litvyak’s coming-of-age story took 66 years to assemble. Her courage, her skills and her love of country are terribly relevant today to freedom-loving people around the world. The story’s engaging, the writing more so.” - Radio Free Europe Foundation, New York, NY

“I just finished this book - I couldn't put it down....it was superb...I think it should be made into a movie...” - Ralph A., Director Tactical Investments

“This book is a treasure for all ages! The author's style of writing is clear and easy to understand. I hope this book garners the audience it deserves.” - Raymond J. K., CFP, Hamden, CT

“Incredible book, incredible story. What a heroine. Something everybody should consider reading. I learned a ton, and was terribly entertained at the same time. To think a Russian, a Ukrainian, and an American collaborated on a world class project. Maybe a few well-intentioned individuals with a dream can make this a better world.” - Robert R., CPA, New City, NY

“It continues to amaze the editorial staff of our newspaper that an American with no Russian ancestry could deliver such an insightful literary work. We applaud his vision, tenacity, writing prowess, and desire to break down long-standing barriers of misunderstanding and mistrust.” - Russia Now Newspaper, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Moscow

“Call Sign, White Lily does a superb job of poignantly depicting the life and times of an extraordinary young lady, Lilia Litvyak. But, the book does much more. It provides insights into many important Russian customs and traditions, and accurately depicts the extraordinary resolve of the Russian people to seek peace among all the world's communities.” - Russian Cultural Centre, Washington, D.C.

“The story is poignant and powerful. The reader will be rewarded with a magnificent tale of patriotic integrity and characters that must be admired, and acts of valor and loyalty that embody the dedication of undying love and devotion to country and countrymen.” - San Francisco Book Review, San Francisco

“I met M.G. Crisci at a friend's daughter’s wedding. We sat and talked and I found him most interesting. During the conversation we talked about my love of books, especially historical. He mentioned that he had written an unusual book. M.G. was so engaging I thought why not give it a read. Well, all I can say is WOW. From the way he discovered the subject matter to how well it is written is just fantastic. Lilia is one of the more interesting subjects of WW2. What is especially important to me is that if not for M.G. Crisci I would have never heard of this wonderful women and her colleagues. Read this book and you will fall in love with this fascinating woman. M.G. Thanks. It’s the first wedding I went to that I got a gift.” - Saul S., Lyndhurst, NJ

“Lilia Litvyak’s unflappable patriotism and amazing flying skills are the perfect vehicle to remind today’s generations of young people to never forget the unimaginable atrocities our people (i.e., Russia and the Ukraine) experienced at the hands of the Nazi’s. Mr. Crisci’s sensitive and approachable style brings the substance to life in engaging human terms.” - Ukrainian Embassy to the U.S., Washington, D.C.

“This book contributes to the important effort to define and evaluate this period of social change, so that new generations of Russians and Americans today may become acquainted with the life and heroic deeds of this modest and brave young Russian woman.” - Yury Zaytsev, The Head of the Russian Cultural Centre

“Lilia’s story reminded me of the brave Russian women in the Great Patriotic War that my grandparents used to tell me about. They were my inspiration to become a doctor.” - Zulfuera S., MD, Born Orem, Russia / Resides Old Tappan, NY

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