Read Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq by Kirsten Holmstedt Online


In Iraq, the front line is everywhere... and everywhere in Iraq, women in the US military fight. More than 155,000 of them have served in Iraq since 2003-4 times the number of women sent to Desert Storm in 1991 - and more than 430 have been wounded and over 70 killed, almost twice the number of US military women killed in action in Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm combinedIn Iraq, the front line is everywhere... and everywhere in Iraq, women in the US military fight. More than 155,000 of them have served in Iraq since 2003-4 times the number of women sent to Desert Storm in 1991 - and more than 430 have been wounded and over 70 killed, almost twice the number of US military women killed in action in Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm combined. But should women be in combat? Do they have what it takes to be warriors? Compelling questions once... but empty questions now, because more than ever, American women are in combat, and they are warriors. The real question is: What is their experience of war? We haven't heard their stories - until now....

Title : Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780811702676
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 327 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq Reviews

  • Betsey
    2018-11-03 20:27

    I purchased this book first and formost becuase I am a female Marine that served in Kuwait and was there for the start of the war on Iraq, March 20, 2003 and i wanted to hear other women's stories. Secondly my Officer-In-Charge (OIC) has her story in this book. It is a wonderful collection of stories. It is a great way for ordinary people to understand the reason women join the military, what they do while they are in and how they deal with the conflict we are put into.

  • Speedtribes
    2018-10-30 23:30

    I read about 2/3 of this book and skimmed the rest. I was initially hoping for a more female version of Generation Kill, but ended up going cross-eyed at something that came across like a clueless civilian trying very hard to get things right, and hitting all the wrong notes. Because of the writing style, the technical explanations felt dumbed-down. The writer had done just enough research to make it seem vaguely as if she knew was she was talking about, but then she'd go and talk about different branches of the military while using the wrong names for their equipment. She'd use military slang on one page, such as the term 'lit up' and explain what it means in terms of slang. And then a few pages down, use the term again, but in an entirely non-military way which just confused matters. I'm certain the women's experiences were real, but the writing style presented their stories so badly I had a hard time parsing or believing much of anything - It was like having someone's aunt tell the tale of someone's nephew's cousin, through the grapevine; half blown up and half missing vital information to make it a coherent and believable story.Far too much passive voice. I also disapprove of the attempt to capitalize on the name 'Band of Brothers'. If the women were all in a platoon, or even were all part of the same rotating organization like the Rochambelles - perhaps the title would have fit, but I don't believe the fact they happened to be women scattered across all different parts of entirely different sections of the military would be enough to make them sisters.I felt like I was reading someone's highschool term paper, or one of my mom's emails. I'm surprised the book got published at all. (Or at least had an editor hack away at it some more.) The soldiers should have written the stories themselves, and come across a lot better as a result. The forward by Maj. Duckworth was the best written part of the book.

  • Melissa
    2018-10-23 16:23

    I am an Army Veteran. I served in the 80s during the Cold War as a Russian Linguist. Female veterans of that time and those that served before us received almost no recognition. I have been happy that this has changed over the last decade or so and very much wanted to read and share their stories. Imagine my heartbreak when On the second page of Tammie Duckworth's Forward, she spends half the page insulting the generation of women who served before her.She says that some of the women that served before her served honorably but she doesn't spend any time on elaborating but goes into how many made her life as a solder more difficult. Really? What does she imagine it was like for us during the decade after the Army was first integrated? She says she was often the only woman in her unit. What them does she imagine it was like for the women that served before her? Maj. Duckworth is a woman I admire. I have appreciated her foray into the political arena and wished her well. To have her throw an entire generation of women who paved the way for her under the bus is beyond heartbreaking and disgusting to me. And worst of all, it was so unnecessary. Her story is remarkable without insulting anyone else, particularly the women who paved the way for her.

  • Nay
    2018-11-04 15:43

    I have mixed feelings on this book. First off the title really bothers me, it's trying to play off Band of Brothers. I don't feel this is a title that is just interchangeable. The men who served and were the original Band of Brothers earned that title through blood, sweat and tears. There is a legacy with that particular unit that goes with it that continues today. The author should have thought a bit harder. I don't really feel that aside from being women who served in Iraq that enough ties them together to be branded "Band of Sisters". I am also bothered by some of the stories, while some really caught my attention others bothered me with "facts", I suppose they are facts, from my understanding the author sat with all the women and heard their stories, then turned around and published them in this book. Some of the stories I feel were a bit farfetched and also showed lack of professionalism and sadly some of the heroic acts cost some injuries and even their life. I hope it was bad writing versus actuality of facts and exploitation of lack of common sense. Perhaps I'm a bit harsh in my review as I've been a Soldier who has been deployed.Another fact that many might not ever catch but something that greatly bothered me. If you are going to write a book involving different branches of the military, learn that terms are not all interchangeable. The Army does not wear cammies. The lack of effort in making sure correct terminology was being used really makes me wonder who preread her book to make sure things were right. I'm big on the "getting it right" concept when it comes to our Armed Forces. While I admire that she felt compelled to contribute in some way after 9/11, it's important to get the facts right along with that contribution.I wouldn't recommend this book to many without a disclaimer that if simple things like correct terminology isn't being used, how much of the stories are true? Just my thoughts.

  • Ellen
    2018-11-12 16:14

    Holmstedt features the stories of 12 different women who were deployed to Iraq during the early years of the war. They are pilots, nurses, truck and humvee drivers, public relations journalists, mechanics, filling every job available to them. Although they are not allowed in combat many of these women found themselves fighting alongside their fellow soldiers in many extremely dangerous and life-threateing situations. Some were gravely injured and others lovingly cared for those who were in need of help. All bravely followed orders and paved the way for female soldiers who would follow in their footsteps. Being the mother of a young woman in the Air Force I found this book very difficult to read at times. It was hard not to see my own daughter in such frightening circumstances and some of these women's stories brought me to tears. Please let there come a day when none of our sons and daughters have to face deploying to a war zone.

  • Karen
    2018-10-27 21:26

    Reading about the women that are serving in combat positions in the middle east, learning how important their rolls are, and seeing how hard they have to work to be excepted as soldiers and not women was an eye opener to me. I have a great deal of respect for ALL that serve and at first was unfavorable of women serving in front line positions. This book has helped me see what sacrifice, dedication and courage women in the armed services really have.

  • Jessalyn Gray
    2018-11-18 19:37

    This is an incredible book! I loved reading every minute of it. I enjoyed reading about stories of women who served for many reasons. One is because I haven't seen a lot of books just on women who have served in the military branches. It was refreshing.

  • Tiffany
    2018-10-24 19:44

    Much more a work of passion than skill. The title is somewhat misleading, as there is no”band of sisters” that the tales follow. They are disconnected samples from women serving in assorted branches of the military.

  • Mak
    2018-11-08 20:26

    Excellent book with some moving and inspirational war stories from the women who were in the heat of it!

  • Aisha
    2018-10-31 22:31

    The stories were interesting and I liked getting another perspective into what someone else went through in Iraq. The writing was a bit mediocre at times but I powered through. I would recommend.

  • Ford
    2018-11-13 17:15

    The book is a series of short stories that are interesting. But I am not real fond of short stories books so that is the reason for 3 stars instead of 4 stars.

  • Dan
    2018-11-10 22:36

    The forward is the only useful part of this book.

  • Edward
    2018-11-03 17:32

    Excellent read.

  • Joaquin
    2018-10-27 22:31

    Once I resigned myself to the mechanical, didactic, and just plain ho hum writing style, this book generated a lot of different thoughts and feelings for me. For people into reading about wartime experiences, this is not another All Quiet on the Western Front, Jarhead, or Citizen Soldiers. It's pretty dry. I attribute this more to the author's writing than to any lack of emotion or perception on the veterans' part.What was interesting to me was how important it was for these women to be 'just one of the guys.' And I can understand that - by definition people in the US military today all need to be interchangeable, dehumanized automatons - literally GIs, as in 'Government Issue' - to function effectively. To succeed, these women seem to have effectively removed one the main differences between themselves and their co-workers - their gender.I was also struck by how positive, and almost Pollyanna-ish, all the women's experiences were. Yeah, it was difficult and traumatizing, but no more or less so than what the men experienced. Very different from the "slut or bitch" choice written about in "Love my Rifle More than You." And also seemingly in a different dimension than the one describe in a NPR report I heard last month where as many as TWENTY EIGHT PERCENT of all women veterans returning from Iraq report being victims of sexual assault. These women seem to be describing a fundamentally different military. Which one is the one over there in Iraq right now?This book also reinforced my impressions of how the writing about US veterans' experiences from both Iraq wars is limited by the US' military and technological dominance. Yes, these veterans did go through exceedingly dangerous experiences that will affect them on a psychological and emotional level for the rest of their lives. But for me, their experiences, or at least the way people write about them, are much less gripping and affecting when compared to writing from earlier conflicts where the 'sides' were more evenly matched. So for what it's worth, the nature of this particular conflict makes for more difficult storytelling from the US side. From this reader's perspective, it would be interesting to read accounts from people who fought against the US in this conflict.

  • Kirsten Lenius
    2018-11-18 18:33

    This is a book written using interviews with members of the various branches of United States military service. It could have been better written. I think that the failings are the result of a combination of factors: it is difficult for a civilian, and I include myself here, to understand and know all the appropriate terminology, acronyms and slang used by the different branches; there was an effort, I believe to keep the text of the interviews as true to the exact words of each woman, as possible which resulted in some a rambling feeling to the stories; and there were a few basic typos and formatting issues. That said, I did enjoy hearing the stories, in an attempt to gain something of an understanding of what was happening over there.The one thing that I am prepared to take issue with is that some folks seemed to feel the title was inappropriate, because the women were not all serving together, as the men in the book and subsequent movie 'Band of Brothers' were. While it is true that these women did not serve in close proximity to the others and that most of them never met, that doesn't mean that they do not all belong to the subset of women who served in combat.The original phrase for the title comes not from the book, but from Shakespeare's Henry V, Act III. This is part of it, though I read a longer version that mad it seem even more fitting to me that it be applied here: "From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's Day."

  • MaryO'Brien
    2018-11-15 15:20

    According to Goodreads: In Iraq, the front line is everywhere...and everywhere in Iraq, women in the U.S. military fight. More than 155,000 of them have served in Iraq since 2003--four times the number of women sent to Desert Storm in 1991--and more than 430 have been wounded and over 60 killed, almost twice the number of U.S. military women killed in action in Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm combined. Band of Sisters presents twelve amazing and often heart-wrenching stories of American women in the frontlines including America's first female pilot to be shot down and survive, the U.S. military's first black female combat pilot, a 21-year-old turret gunner defending a convoy, two military policewomen in a firefight, a nurse struggling to save lives, including her own and more...I thought that I would read this book because of my affiliation with the military. I am an Army Wife. I have heard of the struggles that women have had, and still have being in the military. Many still believe that the military is not a place for a woman. I will say that the book, The Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq was alright. I was hoping for more in-depth details about there experiences in Iraq. This book covered a handful of women's encounters as they experienced it. The writing style wasn't my cup of tea and the author seemed to only gather the basic information to write the book. I felt that more emotion and detail could have been put into writing this book.I rate this book 3/5

  • Nenette
    2018-10-22 21:25

    Picture this: A woman pumping her legs on the treadmill; lips parted; panting; trying hard not to cry...That was me, actually; and yes, if you looked closer, you'd see I have a book open in my iPhone on the treadmill's console. This book is not the ideal treadmill companion, as the crying will get in the way of the panting.Seriously, this is a great book. Just like the author, who didn't have a clue of what it's like, we will all benefit from knowing how the US women soldiers braved it out in the battlefield, both as support personnel, and front liners (but as they say, "in Iraq, there are no front lines").Difficult as it may seem, many of these women are actually mothers, who left behind very young children. They had a duty to fulfill, and they stood up for it; they didn't back down. As they said, they were soldiers first, before they were mothers. One of them didn't want her children to be fighting the same battle ten or fifteen years down the line, so she fought it for them.Recognition and distinction are the last things in these women's minds during and even after their time in service. They only knew to serve. But they deserve recognition, they deserve distinction. Sure, most of them were awarded medals and ribbons. But with the words of their stories in printed form, this book gives to them what I believe they truly deserve - that the world comes to know about these modern day heroes.

  • Brigid
    2018-10-25 19:20

    This collection of personal stories about women who served in Iraq as part of the US military is an eye-opener for people who don't already know that women are serving in combat (not sure who that would be). These women deal with everything their male counterparts do and then have to deal with being one of the few women in their unit. None of these women discussed any harassment or negative attitudes (except one pilot who carefully talked about her former squadron not being very welcoming), but as an Air Force veteran myself, I'm sure they had to deal with it. Thing is, it is just like women at home or work--we suck it up and get on with things. We do our job, and then some. Read this book to get some insight on women serving in Iraq, their lives before war, and after they return to the states. No matter where they served in Iraq or what their job was, they also put their lives on the line, because unless you are sitting back in the states pushing paper, you are in harm's way. I admire these women as soldiers and pilots and weapons experts, seamen, airmen, and Marines. No need to put "female" in front of their jobs--I admire all the folks that serve in the armed forces.

  • Patti
    2018-11-17 22:32

    Serendipity is a very interesting thing. In the last 6 months or so, we have shifted staff so that all staff has a chance to check in items as well as check them out at our library. This book was returned about 2 months ago; I would have never seen this book otherwise, and I'm glad I got the opportunity to read it.I'm impressed by anyone's strength in making the choice to join the armed forces. The 12 women discussed in this book have given me much more to be impressed about. They perform very technical or high-risk jobs at a high stress level for months at a time. They are also wives and mothers who are torn at leaving their families behind. All of them encounter dangerous situations, and a few are physically harmed in those situations. I was very impressed by all the jobs the women in this book perform, from pilots to truck drivers to nurses. The frightening thing is that there was almost no safe place in Iraq--even the so-called "Green Zone" wasn't safe. That's a terrifying amount of stress to live with day after day.Highly recommended.

  • Dawn
    2018-11-01 22:43

    My mother sent me this book to read... I am fairly certain that she did not read it before sending it to me. I like to think that my mother has better taste. But perhaps she was able to look beyond the deplorable writing style and enjoyed the stories. I cannot imagine that she did. Perhaps the author was trying to gear the stories to a completely non-military audience, but even I, "barely in the Army" as a medical corps officer felt like much of the descriptions were dumbed-down. While some of the reading was touching, the writing style made it difficult to enjoy. I was almost embarrassed to read some of the descriptions of what the women were going through because they seemed so fake. Not that the womens' experiences are "fake" but, the presentation made them seem so. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if the women were able to write their own stories. I am sure they could have done just as well as the author did. I would also not recommend sending this book to your daughter in Iraq to read. Make the next one a silly fiction Mom...

  • Patricia
    2018-10-31 16:19

    The writing isn't the greatest, but the stories of these women in Iraq are fascinating. I'm sure that the publisher picked the title for the book instead of letting the author choose - "Band of Sisters" is too cliche. As a member of the Army Reserves, I'm glad to see true stories of female soldiers, sailors, and marines from the current war. I have read Jessica Lynch's book and been disappointed in both her and the media frenzy surrounding her, but this book rings true where Lynch's didn't. Like the women profiled in the book, I don't want to prove anything or be anything special as a soldier - I just want to be a part of the team doing my job and serving my country. This work should be a must-read for every male who thinks that women shouldn't be in combat (I have news for you males - women have been and are in combat right now and are doing just as well as the males who are in combat).

  • Emily Dahl
    2018-10-24 23:17

    this was very poorly written. at first, i appreciated that the author was trying to introduce civilians to the military lexicon and way-of-life, but it quickly became heavy-handed and shockingly clumsily written. i picked up this book because i wanted to learn more about contemporary women in the military and the challenges they face and the successes they've had (Hell Hath No Fury really inspired me to learn more about women today), but the author seemed bound and determined to keep the women's voices out of this narrative. every word was delivered through the lens of the author's choosing and the women themselves were hopelessly removed and lost. the women's stories could have been compelling and really made the book, if the author had only let the women themselves tell them. big disappointment. so i will continue to search for a book about military women. suggestions?

  • Jan
    2018-10-30 18:42

    I actually liked reading this book. Having been a Navy wife and a Marine Mom and a daughter of an Army Dad I found the stories interesting as they gave us a glimpse into modern warfare and what women are doing over there in the middle of it these days. There were a few mispellings but not many.I don't know all the terms between all the branches so that didn't bother me like it may have others. I think the author succeeded in what she started out to do with this book and I think Band of Sisters fits as it shows different branches, ranks and jobs women can do these days and some exceptional women we have in the military now. I felt this was about as real as you are going to get when it comes to women in the military!

  • schmoozie
    2018-11-05 16:39

    I totally agree with the other reviewers who said the writing was pedantic. I know someone in the military who interacts with soldiers who come and go from Iraq. She read it too. It's very whitewashed. Their experiences are a lot harsher than they are protrayed in the book. But on the other hand, at least there is more recognition of their lives and the service and sacrifice they provide our country. But hopefully, other books will be better. I have started "Love My Rifle More Than You" by Kayla Williams and I already like it much better than this book. Ms. Williams was a soldier (Sgt. in a military intelligence company of the 101st Airborne Division) and her writing style is a lot grittier and straighforward. I'm looking forward to it.

  • Myriah
    2018-11-06 16:23

    After hearing the author on NPR, I was super excited to read this book. A compilation of war stories from American women currently serving on the front lines - what could be more riveting? Yet Holmstedt manages to completely mangle this book. The stories told by the women are very personal and Holmstedt clearly wants to protect their voices within her re-telling. Instead of strengthen the voices of the women and making the stories come alive to the reader, Holmstedt makes them sound like fourth-hand re-hashes of what were once amazing tales. I kept trying to read this book because I knew Holmstedt had access to amazing tales, but the actual telling of them is so piss poor, I eventually gave up and didn't finish the book.

  • Julie
    2018-11-14 15:20

    I think it is amazing that all these women were willing to share their stories. It was well-written and it was nice that the stories were broken up by the servicewoman interviewed, so it was like a collection of short stories (for lack of a better term). So you didn't have to worry about forgetting what happened, etc. These women, as well as all of our military, face scary things that we cannot even imagine. And they do not see their gender as a weakness. If anything, it made them better soldiers, because they did not want their children to have to fight this "same old war". I would recommend this to anyone. For people who love books where the woman is the hero, or how just because you shave your legs and not your face does not make you less of a person.

  • Rachel
    2018-11-18 22:42

    This is one of my go to books when I need a pick me up- a boost of inspiration. These women who serve in the military gave me that as I read this book. Their daily obstacles, the highs and lows, and everything in between is amazing. As a child, I was always raised that women are the weaker sex, and these women proved that it is not the case. I always hear about what males go through while serving in the military; so it was nice to read a book about the women's side of it. Band of Sisters wasnt a boring read, within the first chapter or so, it almost feels as if you are a part of their every day life. Well done.

  • C
    2018-11-15 16:14

    The idea of this book is great and the women's stories should be told, but I just could not get past the writing. Military jargon (good) mixed with cutesy terminology (bad - "furry critters," for example), mixing past and present tense, weird rhyming ("she yearned to learn and earn..." or something to that effect)... Each chapter follows a different woman (or women). Some may be better written than others, but after a few I gave up. I give it 3 stars because, again, the women's stories should be told and I think it's worth that much on the merit of their effort, but I feel the writer's effort (or lack of more strict editing) undermined her intentions.

  • Filipe
    2018-11-03 17:40

    I chanced upon this book at Border's and found myself intrigued by the subject matter. I have read several books of units and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and this was an interesting perspective from female soldiers who often, have found themselves very involved in war which has been called by others the cruelest or worst of all human endeavours. Reading this book has led me to rethink some of my opinions regarding women in military combat roles.The book is non-fiction and reads as such and I do not think it is close to the driest non-fiction I've read but I did find it to be an easy read.

  • Jessica
    2018-11-18 16:24

    I really enjoyed learning about women featured in this book. The stories were incredible and really opened my eyes that women served in combat positions. Incidentally, this week, Congress (officially) permitted women to serve in combat. I think one of the areas of this book that I enjoyed was the interaction between women and the men in their units. One of the best quotes that illuminated this issue was, "You'll never be one of the guys. But you can be part of them, and that's where the difference is."