Under the Sabers is a groundbreaking narrative detailing the complex personal challenges Army wives face, presenting a provocative new look at Army life. Tanya Biank goes beyond the sound bites and photo ops of military life and shows what it is really like to be an Army wife—from hauling furniture off the rental truck by yourself at a new duty station when your husband is in the field, to comforting your son who wants his dad home from Afghanistan for his fifth birthday—she takes readers into the hearts and homes of today's military wives.
In the summer of 2002, Army wives were in the headlines after Biank, a military reporter for the Fayetteville Observer, made international news when she broke the story about four Army wives who were brutally murdered by their husbands in the span of six weeks at Fort Bragg, an Army post that is home to the Green Berets, Airborne paratroopers, and Delta Force commandos. By that autumn, Biank, an Army brat herself, realized the still untold story of Army wives lay in the ashes of that tragic and sensationalized summer. She knew the truth—wives were the backbone of the Army. They were strong—not helpless—and deserved more than the sugarcoating that often accompanied their stories in the media.
Under the Sabers tells the story of four typical Army wives, who, in a flash, find themselves neck-deep in extraordinary circumstances that ultimately force them to redefine who they are as women and Army wives. In this fascinating and meticulously researched account, Biank takes the reader past the Army's gates, where everyone has a role to play, rules are followed, discipline is expected, perfection praised, and perception often overrides reality. Biank explores what happens when real life collides with Army convention.
Biank describes what it means to be a wife and mother in a subculture that is in a constant state of readiness for war. In this hard-hitting and powerful book, Biank takes a close look at the other woman—the Army itself—and its impact on wives, marriages, and home life. This story of strength and perseverance is an eye-opener for those who have never experienced military life and an anthem to those women who each day live the "unwritten code."
For four years now, combat scenes from the war on terror have dominated our newspapers and our television screens. And though the White House recently released its National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, there's no sign that the war is actually slowing down. "No war has ever been won on a timetable," the White House plan says, "and neither will this one." That makes these upcoming books about private lives on the home front all the more important. Authors like Biank and Henderson show us how war affects not just soldiers, but families, and how war's effects linger after soldiers are called home. With Cindy Sheehan working on a memoir to be shopped by David Vigliano after the holidays, homefront books are poised to become nonfiction's next wartime trend. Marcela ValdesUnder the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army WivesTanya Biank. St. Martin's, (288P) In this insider's account of the sometimes-lethal strains that military life puts on families, Biank, an award-winning journalist and the daughter of a career army officer, finds much to admire in military spouses. She follows the lives of four women at Fort Bragg, N.C., home of the 82nd Airborne Division: the wife of a high-ranking officer who adds luster to her husband's career with her own polish; a senior noncommissioned officer's wife who ambivalently watches her son follow in his father's footsteps; a woman who falls in love with an enlisted man early in his career and struggles with balancing army demands with her own needs; and a former soldier who finds that the counterterrorist operative she married may be just as dangerous to her as he is to terrorists. Though her prose is sometimes clunky and some of the history feels a bit dated, 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.
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Under the Sabers--5 STARS!
I am a physician who ironically lived in Fayetteville for the first 12 years after I completed my residency & 2 fellowships (sub-specialty training) in S Carolina. Every street mentioned--both on & off post, the weather, and most importantly...the military way of life, to this day...rings fresh, absolutely accurate in it's description. Our biggest hospital in town--which I ironically re-named during a Board meeting-- was the only major trauma center center on I-95 (major Interstate between Florida & NY). Both @ this hospital & @ Highsmith-Rainey (mentioned in the book), we regularly treated military personnel & dependents. We saw an enormous amount of domestic abuse injuries, especially to children (we were likely better equipped to treat very sick/injured neonates & kids). Almost a third of all the surgeons I worked with & approximately 1/2 of my partners and employees, including my business manager--were either "weekend warriors"--reservists, or retired military (including Delta Force, Full Bird Army Colonels, Full Naval Commanders & Navy Seals)---all with hip-pocket "walking papers". That meant that in event of war, they could be re-called for their jobs (as MDs) ANY TIME! In fact, the rumor mill, so accurately described in this book, permeated our work-place too. When Desert Storm came, rumors flew that there was a desperate shortage of Anesthesiologists (my specialty) & that ANY of us could be called up. Almost everyone in the OR (operating room) either was in the Reserve & was called up (mostly for state-side backfill) or was married to someone gone. I remember the 'ghost-town' and deep fear that no one dared mention. This book captured the deeply ingrained military life that did not stop at the entrance to the "Reservation" (Ft Bragg's nickname). Many kudos to the author for her amazing work. The only description missing was the constant "bombing" that went on 24/7--especially @ the beginning of each month! (live-fire exercises). I now live in the largest city in the US--but as bad as the crimes & gangs--I'll never forget the fear of a simple walk down the street (I lived on one of the nicest streets in town) & the number of guns EVERYONE owned. A MUST-READ! The TV show does capture life on an army post (& Charleston--where I did my residency!) so faithfully... (**Be prepared for many typos in the book!)
Under the Sabers
This book seems to to be the same book as Army Wives. It is quite readable,but nowhere in the discription does it mention that it is identical to the other title by the same author. So,I have bought the same book twice! Annoying at best....
Under the Sabers - Horrible e-book
Would NOT RECOMMEND this e-bok. This was the first e-book I have ever purchased from Apple. The editing was horrific. Paragraphs would start mid sentence. Paragraphs would be italicized for no reason. The word battle was constanly written as batde. There were many other misspelled words. The content of the book was pretty good which is why I gave this book 2 stars instead of one. I was expecting something more, I am not sure what I expected, but this wasn't it. To be fair to the author, my expectations should not be the only measure used to judge the book. I watch Army Wives, which is loosely based on this book. I am also the wife of a National Guard soldier who was been to Iraq and Afghanistan. But I do not lively a base, so this story interested me. It was an interesting read, but not one that I will be re-reading or recommending to friends.
Read this book, but buy the hard copy, DO NOT BUY THIS E-BOOK!!!