Brimming “with the ebullient Bhagwati’s fierce humanism, seething humor, and change-maker righteousness,” (Shelf Awareness) a raw, unflinching memoir by a former US Marine Captain chronicling her journey from dutiful daughter of immigrants to radical activist fighting for historic policy reform.
After a lifetime of buckling to the demands of her strict Indian parents, Anuradha Bhagwati abandons grad school in the Ivy League to join the Marines—the fiercest, most violent, most masculine branch of the military—determined to prove herself there in ways she couldn’t before.
Yet once training begins, Anuradha’s GI Jane fantasy is punctured. As a bisexual woman of color in the military, she faces underestimation at every stage, confronting misogyny, racism, sexual violence, and astonishing injustice perpetrated by those in power. Pushing herself beyond her limits, she also wrestles with what drove her to pursue such punishment in the first place.
Once her service concludes in 2004, Anuradha courageously vows to take to task the very leaders and traditions that cast such a dark cloud over her time in the Marines. Her efforts result in historic change, including the lifting of the ban on women from pursuing combat roles in the military.
“Bhagwati’s fight is both incensing and inspiring” (Booklist) in this tale of heroic resilience and grapples with the timely question of what, exactly, America stands for, showing how one woman learned to believe in herself in spite of everything.