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Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2006

    great read

    After dating a soldier for a while, and us talking about marriage and a family, i decided to buy this book to see exactly what i was getting into. It was very very informative and actually kinda scared me because I didn't seem anything like these women in the book. BUT after asking around to other military wives, my fears were put at ease. Although the book is wonderful the author should point out that a lot of the activities that these women MUST participate in and such...are basically officers wives or e7's and higher. Having said that...i would still recommend the book to anyone not only army wives or girlfriends because it gives a great in depth look into their lives in general, and they really do differ greatly from civilians.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    In 2002 the murder of four Army wives within a six week period at Fort Bragg, North Carolina was a shocker. These tragic stories were covered by Tanya Biank, then a military reporter for the Fayetteville Observer. The Army was her logical beat she¿s the daughter and wife of an Army officer. She wasn¿t naive yet these killings stunned her, and the further she probed the more she realized that she had more than these sad stories to tell. She wanted to present what life was really like for Army wives, to highlight their strengths and perseverance. As she has written, ¿We often hear about the sacrifices soldiers made for their nation, but we rarely hear about their spouses struggles. Army wives are bound by an unwritten code. They are expected to endure hardships with graciousness and tragedies with heads held high.¿ Biank used as her springboard the story of four typical Army wives each of whom reaches a crisis point in their lives at Fort Bragg. We first meet Rita Odom, a recent bride who viewed Army life with wide eyes. She came from a small Alabama town where had suffered abuse and lived in poverty. Having known him for only a short while, her husband was almost a stranger. Thus, it was Rita¿s task to grow in her marriage and as an individual in an atmosphere that applauded conformity. Next, we¿re introduced to Delores Kalinofski, a woman with 20 years of Army life behind her, much of which was spent at Fort Bragg. Tragedy was to come - how would the Army community respond? Andrea Lynne Cory is a battle commander¿s wife, therefore very much a part of Fort Bragg¿s social scene, which is rich in protocol and customs. Finally, we find Andrea Floyd, a wife whose life was given or lost, depending upon your point of view. The final character in Biank¿s book is the city itself, Fayetteville, the place some call Fayettenam. She loves this city due largely to its diversity, a blend of races, religions, rich and poor. One black Vietnam vet described it thusly, ¿If you have to die next to each other, living together isn¿t so hard.¿ ¿Under the Sabers¿ is an uncompromising look at Army life, its privileges and pitfalls. Well written and absorbing it will gain nods of understanding from those who have shared similar experiences and wide-eyed surprise from those who have not. - Gail Cooke

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2009

    A great read

    I thought this book was very well written. She did an excellent job of putting the reader in the places of the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2006

    An Odd Mix of Satisfying and Disappointing

    I found the book very easy to read and very interesting, but my only complaint is about the title. I was expecting a completely different book after reading the title. I was under the impression that there was an actual 'code' to being a military wife, other than the obvious '[the wife] is an extension of the husband' statements. While I'm sure that sentiment is heightened in the military, its true of all marriages. Ms. Biank is an excellent writer, however. I was sucked into the book almost as soon as I began reading it. And I do wish it would have been longer. I found myself wishing that the book was fictional when the women experienced heart-wrenching losses. I would recommend this book more as a true crime than an examination of what it is to be a military wife. Maybe we could even get a sequel?

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