Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield

Harper. 2015. 320p. photos. bibliog. ISBN 9780062333810. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062333834. BIOG
Journalist Lemmon (The Dressmaker of Khair Khana) delivers an inspiring account of the women chosen by the U.S. Army to serve as combat agents during the conflict in Afghanistan. By 2010, the army recognized that it could no longer ignore the need for female operatives to help gather intelligence in this war zone. (Cultural differences virtually forbid male personnel from approaching Afghan women.) As a result, a program for female soldiers to work alongside army rangers and other special operation units as cultural support teams (CST) was developed. Though women were officially banned from ground combat, the CST program allowed for these highly trained females to assist in treacherous battlefield Intel missions. At the center of this story is First Lt. Ashley White, an unassuming young American whose dedication, strength, and courage forged a path for her peers who also desired the recognition and respect that military service can bring. The increasing scope of the work of women in the armed forces has been explored by such insightful works as Helen Thorpe's Soldier Girls.
VERDICT This compassionate and intimate exposé addressing the female battlefield experience will resonate with readers interested in the woman warriors of today's military.
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