Love My Rifle More than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army

Love My Rifle More than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army

3.7 20
by Kayla Williams, Michael E. Staub

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“Brave, honest, and necessary.”—Nancy Pearl, NPR SeattleSee more details below


“Brave, honest, and necessary.”—Nancy Pearl, NPR Seattle

Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
Ms. Williams makes it clear that she can take as much of this as the next guy can - and that it came to matter very little to her whether the next guy was male or female. She also lambastes any women who fall back on tears and weakness, even if those women ranked as her superiors. As this lively war diary makes clear, Ms. Williams saved her own hurt feelings for better occasions. When she came home to see CNN treat ducklings caught in a sewer drain as a news story "while the story of soldiers getting killed in Iraq got relegated to this little banner across the bottom of the screen," that was what hurt.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Williams's account of her Iraq service tries very hard to be a fresh and wised-up postfeminist take: Private Benjamin by way of G.I. Jane. Showy rough language peppers every paragraph, and Williams's obsessive self-concern, expressed in a lot of one-sentence paragraphs beginning with "I," verges on the narcissistic. The surprise is the degree to which the account succeeds and even echoes military memoirists from Julius Caesar to Ernie Pyle. The fear, bad weather, intermittent supplies, inedible meals (especially for the vegetarian author) and crushing boredom of life in the field are all here. Williams's particular strength is in putting an observant, distaff spin on the bantering and brutality of barracks life, where kids from the Survivor generation must come to terms with a grim and confusing reality over which they have little control. The differences are less in the sexual dynamics (which mostly are an extension of office politics) than the contradictions of the conflict in which the troops are engaged, which Williams embodies more than illuminates. She learns Arabic; there's a Palestinian boyfriend and a short, failed marriage to an Iraqi civilian. While an ex-punk, Chomsky-reading liberal, Williams questions the day-to-day conduct of the war without ever really engaging with its underlying rationale. Such nuance, though, might be too much to ask. Agent, Sydelle Kramer. 8-city author tour; 20-city radio satellite tour. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This is a story of a slut and a bitch! What an unfortunate self-characterization for a woman who is obviously terribly bright and sensitive but who has suffered an admittedly hard life. Williams focuses on her training as an army intelligence expert and her year of service attached to various infantry units in Iraq in 2003. Her prose is rough, vulgar, and explicit about her experiences, her leaders, and her colleagues. Her knowledge of Arabic gave her the opportunity for closer relationships with the Iraqis, which forms an interesting part of the story. The book's title is horribly misleading, for her effectiveness in doing her job, her essential kindness, and her intelligence have far more important consequences in her life than her rifle. Recommended for public library collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/05.] Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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1 MB

Meet the Author

Kayla Williams, a former Arabic linguist in the U.S. Army, is the author of Love My Rifle More than You and Plenty of Time When We Get Home. She lives with her husband Brian and their two children in Virginia.

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