45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2007
"If you fail to try, you have already failed". Wow, powerful stuff. Yet, this attitude infused the individuals portrayed in this "book about women at war". A number of them chose military positions fraught with the need to prove oneself to male counterparts. The women remained women throughout. It was not necessary to mentally change gender. Each accepted that she had to overcome stereotyping by the "boys' locker room mentality." Rewardingly, each prove up to the task given her. Each earned the honor bestowed upon her as a military individual dedicated to her country. They deserve our praise and gratitude.
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2007
As the wife of a former Marine, I am aware of the sacrifices that all military personnel make on a daily basis. However, after reading this book I can truly say that I am blown away at the commitment, dedication and determination that these women posses. The author presents each story in a clean, precise way making it easy to feel an emotional connection to each woman profiled. Each individual story is thoughtfully organized, and presented in a way that makes the reader feel like these are our neighbors, friends and relatives. I am truly thankful that the author took the time to seek out these women and tell their stories so that we as civilians can realize what it's like to walk a mile in their combat boots. I highly recommend this book and know you will not be disappointed after reading it!
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2007
Never before has the pharase 'to whom much is given, much is required', been more appropriately described as it has been in this book. The female warriors chosen, no doubt from among many who could equally have been selected, have shown that as leaders they had vision, were able to communicate that vision, and could execute it under extremely difficult and often in the most dangerous and desperate situations. This book shows in graphic literary detail the strengths and courage of all military personnel, especially female, who clearly believe that when put together in a combat situation they owe each other maximum loyalty. The courage of a De Caprio, the compassion of a Salinas, the leadership of a Mayo and all of the others makes this book a long overdue recognition of the modern military female warrior. The author has brought together the true strengths of women who more than men suffer and overcome discomforts by simple adaption (such as the lack of privations and hygiene) as well as having to demonstrate their courage, and they did this without whinging, bitching or whining. These are truly remarkable military personnel and this book demonstrates this. But most importantly the author has done it in a sound, descriptive, explanatory way. Neither she or the individuals interviewed use their service as a sopabox. It is simply as it is. A truly worthy book.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2008
Wow! This is a tear jerker for everyone! Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine (mostly Marine) - all can find someone here. Pilot, driver, nurse, etc.
If you want to know what it's really like over there (and take it from me!), read Band of Sisters.
OK, I wasn't really there - I was in Afghanistan instead but I still could identify with all but the fliers in this book. The weather was the same, the jobs are the same, women soldiers 'inspected' the Iraqi/Afghanistan women because the US military men were not permitted to, etc.
The language and words used were simple, curt and to the point - just like in the military. Very few compound sentences and even fewer complex sentences. You really felt as if you were there. Black and white. (Actually, beige, but, I digress.)
The chapters were well-written to keep you in suspense even though you knew how each chapter would end. If you read the last few paragraphs of a chapter like I did, you still will be riveted by the story from the beginning.
One thing did strike me, though. Each woman had something to prove and I have not found that to be so in my 25 years in the military, even being deployed.
The cover photo of Marines shows exactly what the sand was like. I now know how to explain it to friends - I'll show them this book. (Someone once told me to say it was like moon dust, but since I have never been on the moon and neither have my friends and family in the States, I didn't like that analogy. I used 'powdered sugar' instead.)
I actually thought the author had served in the 'sandbox,' it was all so real. However, I believe her MA was in creative non-fiction (now, what is that?) She obviously has a world of respect for military women.
I found a couple of words that were spelled incorrectly, which is inexcusable (one was 'template/tamplate') and for this reason I could not give 5 stars. Also the photos seemed out of order and there were more photos of some of the women than of others, as well as photos of women who were not profiled (and of Ollie North who seems to get his photo everywhere!)
Others have commented that the women seem flat and one-dimensional. This is to be expected in a combat zone where you have one job - to protect your buddy (whose job is to protect you) by doing what you have to do. The stress is overwhelming at times and never really lets up. You live 24/7 with people you would probably not choose to live with back home. The job is one-dimensional. Your life is one-dimensional, 24/7. It just doesn't let up.
I certainly relived my training clearing houses and my convoy experiences. The author successfully translates military jargon and weapons into words and stories and pictures that even my mother could understand.
What was especially telling to me was reading the introduction and the snippets about the women interviewed who decided not to allow their stories in the book - for some, their experiences were still too recent and raw.
Some of the chapters were of only one incident, others were of daily life over many months to give you an idea of what it was like. Some chapters were stronger than others, especially the beginning ones. I would have preferred each story to be just as riveting as the next, however. The book seemed to drop off in excitement as I read on. However, you can finish it in one or two days!
Now I am waiting for a book to come out about the US military women in Afghanistan!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2007
Why did it take so long for someone to write a book of this caliber about American women at war? I served in the Air Force with many women during my 21 years of service and I know they are as capable as any man. What Ms. Holmstedt's book highlights is they are capable of making the ultimate sacrifice as well.
This is an awe-inspiring collection of personal stories that needed to be told about our brave Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines. The fact that they are the first women to serve in combat support and direct combat roles is of great historic significance and I found the book riveting and hard to put down. A MUST read!
These military members are true heroes who just happen to women. Makes me proud to be an American!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2007
The non-fiction book "Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq" is truly an amazing chronicle that finally gives us access to a more complete history of the Iraq War. Gripping testimonies from our women warriors. This powerful account of women on the battlefield gives us a different understanding of what comradeship is all about! This could very well be about your sister, wife, mother, daughter or your girlfriend. She is out there risking her life and soul as part of our new military force.
"What price freedom?" The experiences of these women give us a totally different and profound look at that question. This book is destined to become a military classic! There is power in these stories that must be shared. The American Authors Association gives this book its highest book rating of FIVE STARS and its recommendation as a must read book!
War has no gender and neither does courage or death. This book explores the role of women warriors on the battlefields in Iraq. It also explores the meaning of what comradeship is all about. It is an amazing tale of sisters, mothers, daughters and women of all backgrounds who risked life and soul to fight alongside their brothers. A must read!
Bombs and bullets are equal opportunity killers--it makes no distinction to what gender the warrior is. Our military women in Iraq chronicle a story that needed to be told. Our nation needs to listen and acknowledge what they have done and continue doing. They are a sisterhood of warriors like no nation has ever known the likes of! It is a tale of terror, courage, fear, loyalty, and survival. A must read book by all Americans!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2007
By defining technical terms and spelling out tactical situations and responses to those situations, the author speaks to readers who have little or no exposure to or experience in the military. I am confident that, in turn, by coherently and sympathetically telling the stories of U.S. military women who have accomplished missions under fire in Iraq, the author also speaks to members of the military. I appreciate how the author periodically presents her personal response to events she depicts in a story. This was not done frequently, and never intrusively. Ms. Holmstedt reserved such comments only for occasions she found very poignant or weighted with particularly compelling emotion; and she presents those responses in a cogent manner and with authentic voice. Since 2003, I have been surprised that a book like this has not, to my knowledge, been published. I am delighted that it's here because I am surely not the only person who wonders how being in combat may differ for men and women, given how many experiences men and women do not process or make sense of in an identical way. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2007
This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. My perspective of women in the militry has been broadened. No matter what your political bent is, this book is a must read. It is so not political; therefore, anyone can appreciate the way this book has been written. I certainly have been moved by the true stories of these military women. I've always respected those in the military, I now have a greater respect for the women as well as the men of our military. What sacrifices they make so the we can remain a free nation. I love these people, and I love the book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2007
I read this book for two reasons: the author is a local girl (Mystic, CT), and the subject is fascinating to me (women in combat). It was a good read, plus I felt like I was on the front lines with the women soldiers and sailors the author interviewed for the book. This book was originally a Master's thesis, and it reads more like a thesis than a book. The author rarely interjected her own political opinions, but stuck to her premise that she admired these women and wanted to know more about them, and to tell their stories. I appreciated this. The book is more than non-fiction; it's very factual. I finished reading with as great a sense of amazement and as much respect and admiration as the author said she developed while researching the book. We back here at home have NO IDEA what our soldiers and sailors in combat zones are experiencing, and I think we should. Thanks to the author for putting it all on paper.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2007
Bravo. This book, and the women in the stories it tells, makes me proud to be an American. As a soldier, I proudly served alongside female soldiers in many capacities. I married one of them. Hopefully this book will help convince Congress and the Department of Defense that it's finally way past time for full equality in the service ranks. Combat duty requires soldiers to meet minimum requirements for physical fitness, equipment expertise, MOS skills, conduct, and performance. Courage is a derived requirement soldiers expect of each other. Gender is irrelevant to ALL these requirements.