UNCLE SAM'S BRIDES: The World of Military Wives by Bonnie Domrose & Betty Sowers Alt Stone

UNCLE SAM'S BRIDES: The World of Military Wives

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Discrimination, loneliness, and physical hardship remain the lot of the American military wife, despite recent steps taken by the government to change things--so claim Stone and Alt, both married to military men. Traditionally, American military bases have been isolated worlds in which women's homes, jobs, child-care opportunities, incomes, and places in the social order are exclusively determined by their husbands' rank. The authors--basing their findings on interviews with many military wives--argue that wives' behavior is still often decisive in advancing husbands' careers, and social club memberships, volunteer activities, and the sacrifice of the wife's personal ambitions are unofficial requirements, not options, in this land left largely untouched by the women's liberation movement. In recent years, severe housing shortages on American bases have become commonplace; the government has reneged on its promise of free lifelong health care; prices at base exchanges have risen above those at some civilian stores; and lower-ranking military families have found themselves unable to support their families on unrealistic housing allowances, low pay, and the military's lack of enthusiasm for working wives. Add to this the disruption caused by constant transfers between bases, the intense loneliness suffered when husbands are absent on duty (sometimes for up to a year at a time), and the frustration wives feel when pressured not to make waves regarding issues such as on-base education for their children, and it comes as no surprise that military women's organizations have begun negotiating with the government for increased military attention to family concerns. As a result, some action has been taken, though, the authors emphasize, not nearly enough. Brisk, clear, and highly informative: an excellent handbook for those concerned.

Pub Date: May 30th, 1990
Publisher: Walker