Not So Quiet...: Stepdaughters of Warby Helen Zenna Smith
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Praised by the Chicago Sun-Times for its furious, indignant power,” this story offers a rare, funny, bitter, and feminist look at war. First published in London in 1930, Not So Quiet... (on the Western Front) describes a group of British women ambulance drivers on the French front lines during World War I, surviving shell fire, cold, and their punishing commandant, "Mrs. Bitch." The novel takes the guise of an autobiography by Smith, pseudonym for Evadne Price. The novel's power comes from Smith's outrage at the senselessness of war, at her country's complacent patriotism, and her own daily contact with the suffering and the wounded.
"This intriguing book . . . vividly and impressionistically tells of the author's tour of duty in France. . . . One welcomes its return to print." New York Times Book Review
"The reader of Not So Quiet . . . today is immediately gripped by its furious, indignant power." Chicago Sun-Times
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This book tells the story of British Women Ambulance drivers who work among the battlefields and trenches of World War I. Many of these young women are sent by their parents (mothers especially) who believe that for every child, son or daughter, they send to war they will get an extra star in their crown, and be seen as the epitome of patriotism. As a result, many of these girls go off to war having no idea what they are getting themselves into, or what horrors of war they will see in the trenches. This book is a bit gory at times while describing the women's work of transporting the dead and wounded, but overall it paints a vivid portrait of the role of women in war. A side that is often overlooked. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the role of women in society or women's issues, and also anyone who enjoys seeing history from another perspective not shown in history books.