Download The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq by Helen Benedict PDF

By Helen Benedict

More American ladies have fought and died in Iraq than in any battle given that international conflict , but as infantrymen they're nonetheless painfully by myself. In Iraq, just one in ten troops is a girl, and he or she usually serves in a unit with few different ladies or none in any respect. This isolation, in addition to the military’s deep-seated hostility towards girls, motives difficulties that many girl infantrymen locate as demanding to deal with as warfare itself: degradation, sexual persecution by means of their comrades, and loneliness, rather than the camaraderie that each soldier depends upon for convenience and survival. As one woman soldier acknowledged, “I ended up waging my very own battle opposed to an enemy wearing an analogous uniform as mine.”
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In The Lonely Soldier, Benedict tells the tales of 5 girls who fought in Iraq among 2003 and 2006. She follows them from their childhoods to their enlistments, then takes them via their education, to struggle and residential back, the entire whereas environment the war’s occasions in context.
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We meet Jen, white and from a working-class city within the heartland, who nonetheless shakes from her wartime traumas; Abbie, who rebelled opposed to a loved ones of liberal Democrats by means of enlisting within the nationwide safeguard; Mickiela, a Mexican American who grew up with a relations entangled in L.A. gangs; Terris, an African American mom from D.C. whose formative years used to be torn through violence; and Eli PaintedCrow, who joined the army to stick to local American culture and to flee a lifetime of Faulknerian hassle. among those tales, Benedict weaves these of the 40 different Iraq battle veterans she interviewed, illuminating the complicated problems with battle and misogyny, category, race, homophobia, and post-traumatic rigidity illness. every one of those tales is exclusive, but jointly they upload as much as a heartbreaking photo of the sacrifices ladies infantrymen are making for this country.
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Benedict ends via displaying how those girls got here to stand the reality of struggle and by way of providing feedback for the way the army can enhance stipulations for girl soldiers—including dispensing girls extra lightly all through devices and rejecting male recruits with files of violence opposed to girls. Humanizing, pressing, and strong, The Lonely Soldier is a clarion demand switch.

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Additional info for The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq

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Every Memorial Day, he would take her to the parade and point out the female soldiers. “Look at those women there,” he’d say. ” He talked often about how he had wanted to go to Viet- 26 the lonely soldier nam when he was young but had been prevented because the war ended just as he finished high school. This filled Jen with a longing to realize his ambitions for him. “I knew ever since I was twelve that I was going to join the army. ” She told me all this in her childhood home in a housing development just outside Racine, Wisconsin, a small industrial town on Lake Michigan surrounded by open fields.

This went on for two years. One night, when she was sixteen, she was driving with friends to a local youth center when a gunfight broke out in front of her car. Too drunk and disoriented to know what to do, she sat there helplessly until a teenaged boy pulled her to safety. He was nineteen, a handsome Mayo Indian named Joe. She and Joe became friends, then lovers. Seeing a way out of her nightmarish life, Eli took her baby and ran off with him. But before long, he too turned abusive. “He put me in this immigrant housing place that was literally a shack, with two windows and boards that made a table that were attached to the wall.

This filled Jen with a longing to realize his ambitions for him. “I knew ever since I was twelve that I was going to join the army. ” She told me all this in her childhood home in a housing development just outside Racine, Wisconsin, a small industrial town on Lake Michigan surrounded by open fields. She wasn’t home when I arrived to meet her, so I took the opportunity to look around. When her family had moved there, the housing development had been brand new, but twelve years later it still looked as bland as if it had just been built, its trees short and spindly, its houses painted in washed-out colors.

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