WOMEN VETERANS: America's Forgotten Heroines by June A. Willenz

WOMEN VETERANS: America's Forgotten Heroines

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That sudsy subtitle is a tipoff to the approach and the content of this weak if well-meant work. Ignoring both Jeanne Helm's Women in the Military (1982), a detailed account of both policy developments and servicewomen's experiences from WW II onward, and Helen Rogan's Mixed Company (1981), a close-up of women in the integrated services, Willenz goes on and on about how American servicewomen have been ignored. There is then a brief reprise of women's military role from the Revolution to Reagan--who, notoriously, has been reducing their role--followed, for the largest portion of the book, by profiles of vets Pat (""A petite attractive heartbreaker, this enormously capable woman. . .""), Irene (""Tall, red-haired, gracious, with a penetrating look, she might have been your favorite brownie mother""), Zoe (""Why can't I be judged for myself""--Willenz has her thinking--""not for the color of my skin?""), etc., etc. Whether from WW II or later, they attest to the benefits of service--a broader outlook, more social consciousness, more self-confidence. They recount--boringly, inconsequentially-how they used their veterans' benefits, or didn't get to use them. (""As a veteran, Harriet recalls that she got very little counseling about benefits before she left service. The only Gl educational benefit she used was a course after the war in cooking and in home management. She had never taken home ec, because her mother. . . ."") Willenz, executive director of the AVC, does finally have some particulars on inequalities in the administration of veterans' programs. Presumably the AVC also has a pamphlet that women vets can consult more expeditiously.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1983
ISBN: 0595003672
Publisher: Continuum