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Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield Hardcover – April 21, 2015
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“Gayle Tzemach Lemmon expertly gives readers an inside look at what it takes to work alongside America’s elite forces. The book is a gripping, moving, and well-told war story, but more importantly it offers the first glimpse into a historic program.” (Kevin Maurer, author of Gentlemen Bastards)
“Lemmon has done her homework. . . . She is a strong and capable guide. . . . With a fine eye for detail, she shows us what set this program apart.” (Foreign Policy)
“A tremendous story. . . . Very moving.” (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart)
“Ashley’s War shares the remarkable stories of one of the first teams of women serving in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. This team forged the path for American women who serve in harm’s way all over the world and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice.” (Senator John McCain)
“Ashley’s War quietly grips the reader with the untold story of a small group of women selected to serve in combat alongside the US’s best soldiers. . . . Rich storytelling. . . . Compelling. . . . In battle as in life, these women refuse to quit.” (Christian Science Monitor)
“Fascinating and often moving, Ashley’s War follows one of the early groups of women who volunteered to serve alongside special operations soldiers, vividly portraying their training, their early missions as they learn their jobs, their bonds of friendship, and their reckoning with the toll of war. Remarkable.” (Phil Klay, author of Redeployment)
From the Back Cover
In 2010 the U.S. Army Special Operations Command created Cultural Support Teams, a pilot program to put women on the battlefield alongside Army Rangers, Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and other special operations teams on sensitive missions in Afghanistan. The idea was that women could access places and people that had remained out of reach and could build relationships—woman to woman—in ways that male soldiers in a conservative, traditional country could not. Though officially banned from combat, female soldiers could be "attached" to different teams, and for the first time women throughout the Army, the National Guard, and the Reserves heard the call to join male soldiers on special ops missions. Each had her own reason for wanting to serve alongside America's finest fighters—for wanting, as the recruiting poster advertised, "to be part of history."
In Ashley's War, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon uses exhaustive firsthand reporting and a finely tuned understanding of the complexities of war to tell the story of CST-2, a unit of women handpicked from across the Army, and of the remarkable hero at its heart: First Lieutenant Ashley White. Lemmon reveals how First Lieutenant White and the pioneers of CST-2 worked to earn the respect of combat-tested special operations warriors and illuminates the very human stakes of their battlefield successes.
Transporting readers into the little-known world of the CSTs, a community of fierce women bound together by valor, danger, and the desire to serve, Ashley's War is a gripping combat narrative and a testament to the unbreakable bond of friendship born of war.
Top Customer Reviews
And totally missing are the details of their missions. All I get is instructions to Afghan women and children is: "Go hide in the corner...You are safe now" or expecting an Afghan woman, straight away to rat on her Taliban husband.
This story should have been written by a competent combat writer, female or male not important. Again, I admire the female soldiers and their story, and especially Ashley White and her family and the wonderful legacy they continue to keep alive. Well Done!
The book's strength is its factual data - why the military needed this program, who these women were, and what experiences they had. However, the book is emotionally flat. I finished it with a sense that there was more I could have learned about how these women faced the stress of combat, how the Rangers they supported were affected by their presence, and whether the military leadership's position on women in combat was truly changed by the exceptional performance of this group, or simply bowed to growing societal pressures.
I could not recommend it more highly.
Special Ops Needed Special Assistance
Everyone has heard of SEAL Team Six, Delta Force, Army Ranger Snipers, and the other elite special operations units serving our country. If you're into military memoirs, you probably know about JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) who coordinates special op forces, along with all the other acronyms regarding the world of the modern warrior. The modern male warrior. Special ops and combat troops have always been the purview of men. Afghanistan changed that. Suddenly, our country was in a war where they couldn't stop, search, or speak to the women of Afghanistan. Even when soldiers thought they were being sensitive to the Muslim religious tenets, they often unwittingly committed offenses.
To some stationed in Afghanistan, it became readily apparent that women could gain access to places and people forbidden to men. Thus the idea of Cultural Support Teams, staffed by women, was born. Women of the CST could build relationships and gain information from women in ways men simply could not.
Ashley's War is the story of the women of CST-2 who went through selection aka Hell Week in hopes of obtaining a place in the special ops community and be posted with a special ops team in Afghanistan.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amazing book that will give insight to the life of a female veteranPublished 4 days ago by Pat Greear
A chapter in American military that should not be ignored. Even if your not interested women in military history, well worth the time.Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
Great read. So glad to see we have such patriots supporting our country.Published 7 days ago by Paul Schumann
Very interesting book to learn about women soldiers and their role in warPublished 10 days ago by Nora Gould
Great book to show the tough women that are working hard in the military. Many challenges to overcome still, but progress is being made. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Elizabeth O. Lape
A well written, insightful, researched account of women in combat.Published 1 month ago by Kristin J Dodds