Williams's account of her Iraq service tries very hard to be a fresh and wised-up postfeminist take: Private Benjamin by way of G.I. Jane. Showy rough language peppers every paragraph, and Williams's obsessive self-concern, expressed in a lot of one-sentence paragraphs beginning with "I," verges on the narcissistic. The surprise is the degree to which the account succeeds and even echoes military memoirists from Julius Caesar to Ernie Pyle. The fear, bad weather, intermittent supplies, inedible meals (especially for the vegetarian author) and crushing boredom of life in the field are all here. Williams's particular strength is in putting an observant, distaff spin on the bantering and brutality of barracks life, where kids from the Survivor generation must come to terms with a grim and confusing reality over which they have little control. The differences are less in the sexual dynamics (which mostly are an extension of office politics) than the contradictions of the conflict in which the troops are engaged, which Williams embodies more than illuminates. She learns Arabic; there's a Palestinian boyfriend and a short, failed marriage during her state-side training. While an ex-punk, Chomsky-reading liberal, Williams questions the day-to-day conduct of the war without ever really engaging with its underlying rationale. Such nuance, though, might be too much to ask.
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Williamss war memoir is just one in a string that originated from recent U.S.-led forays into the Middle East, and its uniqueness comes from its female perspective. Critics agree that Love My Rifle is no deep piece of literature. Instead, its a shocking, on-the-ground view of one military womans experience in Iraq. Williams spares no details about the stress of combat, the questionable treatment of Iraqi prisoners, and her scathing opinion of the U.S. administration, though she never explains why she enlisted in the first place. As one of only 15 percent of women employed by the Army, Williams possibly overplays the sexual harassment she sufferedor so claim a few of the more suspect male reviewers. But the storys not over: Williams can be called back to duty any time.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
"Young and Female in the US Army" accurately describes Kalya William's 2003-2004 tour in Iraq with the 101st Division (Airborne). Read morePublished 4 months ago by Brien Hallett
I was in the Army during the Vietnam War period. This is one of very few books about women in the military that sounds & feels real to me. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
Interesting personal story of military Iraq experience as a female soldier serving time in a male dominated army. Read morePublished 6 months ago by JRolin
This is a great book. I highly recommend all young women to read it. Great insight to a womans life in the military.Published 6 months ago by Nina McClain
This is the first Iraq memoir I read after I returned from Iraq. We were deployed at the same time (2003-2004), although in different locations and roles. Read morePublished 8 months ago by John Ready
Of all of the books I’ve read as research into women in the military, this is the most raw, grittiest yet. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Marianne S.
I love this. Being a female in the army myself. It hits close to home. Sad to say things haven't really changed from 2003 to 2014 but it's slowly getting better.Published 12 months ago by KG0713
Twice, I woke up in the middle of the night with my heart in my throat while reading this book - my anxiety pulling me from a deep slumber. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Evette Davis