From Publishers Weekly
The experiences endured by young American men during the Vietnam War have reached mass audiences. But the 10,000 young women who served alongside them have, for the most part, been ignored. In digest form, Gruzhit-Hoyt presents snapshots of women who served, in one capacity or another, during the war. Like many college students of the era, Linda Sullivan Schulte opposed U.S. participation in the war and was active in campus protests. But when challenged by a visiting military officer to go there and see the truth for herself, she joined the Red Cross. Air Force Corps nurse Eileen G. Gebhart's skills were vital, but didn't insulate her and her colleagues from repeated sexual harassment, the uncertainty of life in a war zone and other indignities and dangers. Karen Offut's ex-husband blamed her for their children's medical problems, citing her probable exposure to chemicals during her tour of duty with the Women's Army Corps. Two subsequent marriages also ended in divorce for Offut, who went on to suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. Others, like Schulte, who became a successful businesswoman and local politician, emerged relatively unscathed and arguably strengthened. The profiles are similar in format, detailing each woman's reasons for going to Vietnam and what happened once she arrived. Although the book is informative and some of the individual stories moving, Gruzhit-Hoyt's prose is dry, keeping readers at arm's length from the events and feelings the women experienced. But nearly every one of these individual profiles will shed new light on readers' understanding of the daily life of the war. (Nov.)
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