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Army Wives: The Unwritten Code of Military Marriage Paperback – May 29, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
In this insider's account of the sometimes-lethal strains that military life puts on families, Biank, an award-winning journalist and the daughter of a career army officer, finds much to admire in military spouses. She follows the lives of four women at Fort Bragg, N.C., home of the 82nd Airborne Division: the wife of a high-ranking officer who adds luster to her husband's career with her own polish; a senior noncommissioned officer's wife who ambivalently watches her son follow in his father's footsteps; a woman who falls in love with an enlisted man early in his career and struggles with balancing army demands with her own needs; and a former soldier who finds that the counterterrorist operative she married may be just as dangerous to her as he is to terrorists. Though her prose is sometimes clunky and some of the history feels a bit dated, Biank's novelistic sense of detail and suspense vividly demonstrates how "the Army... could bring couples closer together... or it could rip relationships apart." Army wives cope with unpredictable deployments and struggle to raise children alone, often on small paychecks, in a community both tightknit and sharply judgmental. "Army wives serve, too," says Biank—in an institution ambivalent about families. She makes sympathetic both their pride and their tragedies. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The author of this provocative portrait of modern army wives is herself an army wife and comes from an army family. That combination of experience and insight enhances the value of the book's depiction of the army-family community. Basically, army wives these days are more often than not educated professionals but are expected to function enmeshed in a unique hierarchy very different from anything in civilian life. Moreover, they are far more frequently required to move house and home than civilian wives, and their risk of suddenly becoming widows is constant. For this the army has established support networks, but again, those are sui generis. Overall, Biank furnishes a detailed reminder, if any is needed, that the military is still a hierarchical subculture dominated by male values that imposes a considerable burden on those semi-innocent quasi bystanders, army wives. A good choice for military collections of any size. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
The women here are so different, from girls who married too early to escape a difficult life at home to women who have put in a full military career with their husband, then endured sending a son to serve as well. The book touches on the consequences of men being convinced that their girl will not be faithful through “Jody Calls” (marching songs) and rumor mills, who come home looking for proof to match their worst suspicions. Tanya Biank caught on early that there is something different going on here to cause so many soldiers to come home and kill their wives, children and/or themselves with such insane violence. After reading one passage about how many times one soldier stabbed his wife, I counted out the dozens of times as I pounded the table for each stab – true madness!
The military has since put into place measures to prevent post-deployment violence, and I think we can credit this book to encouraging that, but those measures are not near enough. Investigation of the cause of such animosity and violence that has become common in all branches needs to take place by an independent party so that this is no longer swept under the rug. We cannot fix this problem if we continue to ignore its existence. Sincere thanks to Tanya Biank’s work and service.