A no-holds-barred condemnation of discriminatory training policies within the Marines and of systemic sexism facing women...

FIGHT LIKE A GIRL

THE TRUTH BEHIND HOW FEMALE MARINES ARE TRAINED

A passionate account of a former Marine Corps officer’s fight for equality and justice in a historically sexist system.

When Lt. Col. Germano was hand-selected to take command of the 4th Recruit Training Battalion at Parris Island, a group that trains only female recruits, she was well-aware of the challenges ahead. The Marine Corps is the only service that still segregates men and women during basic training, and the biased strategy is a breeding ground of issues. Implemented after an outdated, inaccurate study that showed mixed-gender units performed worse than single-sex units, the training program holds women to lower standards and maintains the damaging assumption that women are inherently mean and emotional. This strategy results in poorer performances in female recruits as well as dangerous and destructive behavioral issues. When Germano took command of 4th Battalion for what was supposed to be the swan song of her 20-year career, she was determined to change things for the better and prove women could be just as effective as men. After a year in charge, Germano’s recruits had markedly improved performance and fewer behavioral issues and injuries, and the overall quality of life at the training camp improved. Despite these achievements, the author’s high expectations and no-nonsense command style shook up the status quo and the many Marines and leaders who wanted to protect it, and she was ultimately fired. Using her firsthand experience and anecdotal evidence from her year in command, Germano concludes that it was sexism, prejudice, and an overt opposition to women’s success that ended her career. At times, the author is repetitive, and her prose can feel clumsy and awkward. Still, she provides a unique, powerful story of sexism and gender bias that will resonate with women across industries and experiences.

A no-holds-barred condemnation of discriminatory training policies within the Marines and of systemic sexism facing women everywhere.

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63388-413-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Prometheus Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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