American Women: Heartbreak and Bravery in the Military


Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War
Author: Helen Thorpe
Publisher: Scribner
Genre: Biography
Hardcover Edition: 394 pages
Source: Personal Copy

Three women signed up to serve in the Indiana National Guard. In this riveting account of what happened in their lives, readers gain enormous insight and understanding of the sacrifices required of those who serve our country in uniform. There’s heartbreak, bravery, and perspective on woman serving in the military that broadens understanding of the complexities of military service.

The push and pull of living life in two places is made real as the reader follows Thorpe’s narrative. Damage to parents and children who must be separated is hard to read. But Thorpe is never sentimental nor sensational. She sticks with the facts. It is facts that clarify feelings. She is a masterful reporter. Her writing is both meticulous and empathetic. The book holds the readers attention on every page.

If you support fellow Americans serving overseas in combat zones, you will want to know more about the reality of their experience. If you have never understood why a young woman would join the National Guard, the experiences of these women and the decisions they make will capture your interest. Their stories help the reader grasp what we Americans owe them, for their service and sacrifice. Their struggle for resilience is completely compelling. After reading the book, service and sacrifice are no longer just words. This book is for all of us, no matter our attitude toward military service.

The story here, the heartbreak and the happiness, is in the details. Helen Thorpe does not let the reader down. She lifts up her subjects and her readers and brings the reader’s grasp of these complex ideas and experiences to new levels. This gripping tale is utterly moving in every way.

For this reviewer this book is a must-read, quite possibly the best non-fiction of the year!

Follow Helen Thorpe on Facebook and at her website

One thought on “American Women: Heartbreak and Bravery in the Military

Leave a Reply