Top Books on Women in the Military

Recommended Books

In today's military, women are serving more and more in combat roles. How new are these roles? Women have served in many wars and many ways, including in the underground resistance, in nursing, as pilots and doctors, and at the homefront. Here are a few books that document an often-ignored part of women's history.

1
They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil War

DeAnne Blanton and Lauren M. Cook have documented a huge number of women who served in the military in the Civil War, disguised as men. They served in the armies of North and South, some were discovered and some escaped discovery -- some even gave birth. Who were these women, why did they challenge the limits for women and how did they avoid discovery? Buy from Amazon »

2
A Piece of My Heart: 26 American Women Who Served in Vietnam

Fifteen thousand American women volunteered and served in Vietnam, many as nurses and WACs. This book includes the stories of a few of them, women who served in very different ways. Many experiences were traumatic -- memories of treating horrible battlefield injuries, their own risk and wounds, the sexual harassment and discrimination and other challenges they faced. (Warning: graphic language.) Buy from Amazon »

3
She Went to War: The Rhonda Cornum Story

Autobiography of a female Army surgeon and helicopter pilot whose helicopter was shot down in the 1991 Gulf War in Iraqi territory on a search and rescue mission. She was freed with the help of the International Red Cross. This is her story of the cooperation and strength that allowed her to survive her ordeal, one of only two women POWs in the war.

4
Sisters in the Resistance: How Women Fought to Free France, 1940-1945

The French Resistance relied heavily on women to oppose the Vichy regime and this book documents those roles through interviews with more than 70 survivors. That the Vichy regime wanted women to fulfill primarily a very traditional role contrasts with the many nontraditional activities which the women in the resistance found themselves filling.

5
Laughter Wasn't Rationed : A Personal Journey...

... Through Germany's World Wars and Postwar Years. A memoir of family life in Germany during the war years, a reminder of the often-traumatic life on the homefront during wars -- World War I, World War II and the divided Germany of the Cold War.