During the summer of 2002, at Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, NC, four base wives were murdered by their husbands, and the U.S. Army rose to assess why this happened and how, if at all, training men for combat influenced the men's attitudes toward wives and families. Biank, who covered the story for the Fayetteville Observer, here focuses on one of the murdered victims and three other Fort Bragg army wives. She seeks to understand the extent to which the military environment may or may not have influenced how these women and their husbands interacted with each other, how stable their marriages were, and how they dealt with lengthy separations, with their husbands often in very dangerous environs. Biank has strong credentials for understanding and explaining army culture: in addition to having been a military reporter, she is the daughter and wife of army officers. Her very readable and thoughtful book delves into a rarely studied segment of the army and should be appreciated by a large general audience.-Suzanne W. Wood, emerita, SUNY at Alfred Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A close look at the lives of four Army wives at Fort Bragg that depicts the challenges and stresses of being married to the military. Biank, a former reporter for the Fayetteville Observer who grew up as an Army brat and is now an Army wife, knows the military life and Fort Bragg well. Her interest in the lives of Army wives was piqued in the summer of 2002 by a series of murders there that she covered for the newspaper. Here, Biank focuses on four women, Andrea Lynne Cory, the wife of a lieutenant colonel, and Delores Kalinofski, Rita Odom and Andrea Floyd, all married to enlisted men. She traces the major and minor events of their lives from Christmas 2000 through the summer of 2002. In that short time, the husband of one is killed, the son of another commits suicide and a third is murdered by her husband. Their personalities and their backgrounds differ greatly, but all are shaped by the expectations and restrictions of the military. It is a world where wives carry the rank of their husbands, where class distinctions determine whom they associate with and where and how they live, and it is a world where poverty is common among the lower ranks. For much of the time that Biank is following these women, Fort Bragg is on high alert, with men awaiting deployment. Stress levels exacerbate marital problems, but for either a man or his wife to seek counseling is seen as a sign of weakness and bad for a man's record. Despite its excess of minutiae, Biank has created a vivid picture of life today as a military spouse that may give any prospective bride second thoughts.
“...a timely look at the impact of combat and military life on the families the soldiers leave behind.” The Washington Post
“Army Wives captivates readers with an up close and personal look into the 'real' everyday lives and challenges of Army spouses. Kudos to Ms. Biank for portraying each spouse's story with such heartfelt compassion.” Victoria M. Parham, Host of Military Spouse Talk Radio
“Tanya Biank has written a stunningly detailed, eye-opening account of what it is really like to be an Army wife. Army Wives demonstrates that while it is tough to be a soldier, it can be even tougher to be the wife of a soldier. Army Wives should be required reading for every military spouse and all those who are considering marrying into the military.” Ron Martz , Military affairs correspondent, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and co-author of Heavy Metal: A Tank Company's Battle to Baghdad
“Tanya Biank captures the atmosphere of military living and the pressure brought to bear on young wives to measure up as partners in their husbands' careers. . . In reading this detailed and insightful book we receive some hope in the fact that the military administration has recognized and has taken steps to support both husbands and wives in the future.” Ann Jordan Klunder, National President, The Society of Daughters of the United States Army
“…Biank's novelistic sense of detail and suspense vividly demonstrates how ‘the Army…could bring couples closer together…or it could rip relationships apart.' Army wives cope with unpredictable deployments and struggle to raise children alone, often on small paychecks, in a community both tightknit and sharply judgmental. ‘Army wives serve, too,' says Biank – in an institution ambivalent about families. She makes sympathetic both their pride and their tragedies.” Publishers Weekly
“Biank has strong credentials for understanding and explaining army culture: in addition to having been a military reporter, she is the daughter and wife of army officers. Her very readable and thoughtful book delves into a rarely studied segment of the army.” Library Journal
“Biank has created a vivid picture of life today as a military spouse.” Kirkus Reviews
“Tanya Biank's experience as a reporter has produced a candid and detailed study of her subjects and a riveting story, certain to engage Army wives of all generations. The incidents described and the issues surfaced in Ms. Biank's hard-hitting piece surely will get her readers' attentions and will cause us to say to each other, ‘Now, what can we do about it?'” Joanne Patton, the wife of Major General George S. Patton and the daughter-in-law of General George S. Patton, Jr.
“From tragic to bittersweet, this is the untold story of the wives of our Army warriorsa powerful look for civilians and soldiers alike into the lives of women who each day embrace Duty, Honor, Sacrifice.” W.E.B. Griffin
“In Under the Sabers, Tanya Biank invites civilians into the military world, a foreign culture. She introduces us to the true meaning of honor and duty as we see the strains on wives with a spouse serving in a war zone. She richly describes the bonds among military families that serve to support a wife during her spouse's deployments and simultaneously may limit her autonomy. Under the Sabers shows that military families are both the hidden casualties of war and a resilient group who meet the challenges for growth during every deployment. Tanya Biank helps those of us who work with families of deployed soldiers become better able to understand and serve them.” Dr. Jaine L. Darwin, PsyD Harvard professor, Clinical Instructor in Psychology, Harvard Medical School and Co-Director, SOFAR, Strategic Outreach to Families of All Reservists
“Thank you for putting a voice to the hardships and triumphs of this military life.” Tara Crooks, host of Army Wife Talk Radio
“A very realistic and enjoyable read about the pains and pleasures of military life.” www.militarybrat.com