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INTO THE BREACH by Dorothy Schneider


American Women Overseas in World War I

by Dorothy Schneider & Carl J. Schneider

Pub Date: July 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-670-83936-1
Publisher: Viking

 A comprehensive and moving record of American women's participation in WW I, when for the first time women served in ways that went beyond the traditional. Drawing on memoirs, diaries, novels, and personal papers, the authors (Sound Off! American Military Women Speak Out, 1987) chronicle the experiences of socialites, scholars, entertainers, journalists, the handful of courageous black women who were with the YMCA, and pacifists who worked energetically to end the war. There were those--mostly upper-class and already living in Europe- -like Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, who drove a van distributing supplies to hospitals; or Edith Wharton, who started and funded hostels and workrooms for the thousands of refugees. Others organized Red Cross and YMCA operations at the front, taking care of the wounded and the men in battle. Some, like novelist Mary Roberts Rinehart, covered the war as journalists, venturing even into Russia during the Revolution. Most not only endured the rigors and dangers of war, but had to contend with pervasive male prejudice: women doctors made to serve as nurses; women librarians thought unequal to the task of maintaining military libraries; and that most poignant group, the Signal Corps Telephone Unit, who took the customary oath on enlistment but were not granted veterans' benefits until 1977, by which time the youngest survivors were nearly 80. A long overdue tribute. (Eight pages of b&w photographs--not seen.)