Curiosity is the reason I started to read the book, Women at War: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Conflicts. I am a woman but never was a soldier, and never experienced any armed conflict (and hopefully never will).  I try to keep up with the news, to be aware of what is happening in the world, and this book caught my attention. It promised to tell more than what was covered on tv. I expected this book to give me a “behind the scenes” look at military life.

I was curious why the women highlighted in the book chose a career path in the army; what their reasons for enlisting were. Do they regret their decision? How were they treated? And perhaps a slightly political question; did their opinion on a particular conflict or a foreign country ever change after experiencing it first-hand?
Most answers to these questions I found within the book and here is one idea that intrigued me the most: Can women go into combat? Absolutely not, was the common opinion. “Women break under pressure,” so say many skeptics. The women counter with, “We prove them wrong, we are there,” one of these women soldiers said. “We are doing it with courage and dedication. It is very important for the American public to know and understand that there’s no going back, women are now an integrated part of our country’s armed forces.” Another said that she was never looked at as being a woman. “I was simply a Marine.” All of the women soldiers stress that there is no difference between men and women in an armed conflict. They state that male and female soldiers both lose their lives for their country. They all have families. They are someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, or wife.

In addition to current conflicts, the book also includes the U.S. women’s involvement in Vietnam, Korea and World War II. It is estimated that as many as 400,000 women served in World War II. However, they were not sent into combat. Most served as nurses in field hospitals, troop transports, and operating rooms on the front. The saddest stories from the book are those dedicated to female soldiers who died in service and paid the ultimate price.  My respect goes to all the courageous soldiers whom the book is dedicated to.

Thank you, James E. Wise Jr., and Scott Baron, for compiling this interesting book and thank you, Andrew (MGC staff), for recommending this book. If it were not for your suggestion, I would have missed out on this remarkable read.

Iveta B.