We're in this War, Too: World War II Letters from American Women in Uniform

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9780195075045: We're in this War, Too: World War II Letters from American Women in Uniform
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Veterans' Day, 1993. The Vietnam memorial, Washington, D.C. Tearful thousands gather for the unveiling of a new monument, a long-overdue tribute to the women who served in Southeast Asia. The event was a powerful reminder of the importance of women in the war--and of its emotional role in their own lives. Yet Vietnam was not the first war in which American women enlisted alongside men. Fifty years ago, an even greater conflict engulfed the lives of tens of thousands of women as they joined the Second World War. Now Judy Barrett Litoff and David C. Smith recapture their experiences in the most direct way possible--through the words of the women themselves.
In We're in This War Too, Litoff and Smith draw upon their archive of 30,000 wartime letters--the product of a decade-long, nationwide search--to provide an immediate sense of the lives of women in every branch of the armed forces. From the military build-up in Hawaii in the months prior to Pearl Harbor to the agonizing and horrific final days of hostilities, uniformed women played an integral role in the war effort--a role vividly captured here. Letters from Army nurses describe the devastating events of December 7, 1941. A member of the first WAAC officer class describes her immense pride in being a member of "the pioneer 440." A Red Cross worker reports on the challenges she faced when setting up a "tent club" in a remote province of China. Here are eyewitness accounts of the fierce fighting at Anzio and the Battle of the Bulge, wrenching commentary on caring for the wounded and the victims of concentration camps, and poignant reflections on the larger meaning of the war. Here, too, are the trials of military service in the 1940s: a WAVE reports on how it felt to be the only Jewish servicewoman in Yeoman school, and an African-American WAC writes of the descrimination and prejudice she encountered while traveling by train through the southern United States.
The Second World War was the greatest conflagration to overtake our nation in living memory, producing a vast body of literature--yet the role of women in the contest has been sadly neglected. We're in This War Too is the first comprehensive account of uniformed women in the war ever published, capturing the essence of their experience in all its complexity. It provides a view of the Second World War that has been missing from the pages of history for far too long.

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About the Author:


About the Authors:
Judy Barrett Litoff is Professor of History at Bryant College. David C. Smith is A.A. Bird Professor of History at the University of Maine. Their books include Since You Went Away: World War II Letters from American Women on the Home Front, Miss You: The World War II Letters of Barbara Wooddall Taylor and Charles E. Taylor, and Dear Boys: World War II Letters from a Woman Back Home.

Review:

"A valuable contribution to both World War II history and women's studies....Editors Litoff and SMmith's research has been painstaking, and their editing is magisterial, refreshingly avoiding Procrustean analytic schemes and anachronistic jargon."--Booklist

"A collection of letters from American women in uniform. The editors introduce each chapter with comments that set the historical stage and then allow the letters to tell the story. All aspects of the war are covered, including the contributions women made stateside as well as in EUrope and
Asia. The letters reveal much about each of these women, who are writing to their families and feel comfortable expressing their deepest feelings about the war; we see the many ways their lives are changed. The letters in this excellent collection will delight readers, while the bibliography will
lead to many other sources about women and the armed services. Those with an interest in World War II and students of women in American history should not miss this book."--Library Journal

"In this marvelous and unique collection of letters, America's fighting women confide to loved ones the joys and the heartaches, the challenges and the frustrations, of serving their country during the Second World War. Eventually 400,000 women rallied to the colors--and whether members of the
Women's Army Corps or the WAVES, whether nurses or pilots, whether stationed at home or in Europe or the Pacific, they all wrote home. In We're in this War, Too, for the first time we have their own stories in their own words."--William M. Tuttle, Jr., author of "Daddy's Gone to War": The Second
World War in the Lives of America's Children

"Vividly captures the emotions, spirit and poignancy of the American experience in World War II."--William H. Chafe, author of Paradox of Change and Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History, Duke University

"Litoff and Smith bring 400,000 American women in uniform front and center....The result is a carefully crafted volume, the best single starting place to capture the flavor of the war and the emotions it triggered from the perspective of women who were active participants."--D'Ann Campbell,
author of Women at War With America

"Funny, matter-of-fact, bubbly, compelling--and always interesting. At long last a record of the on-scene feelings, experiences and observations of the women who served. Tremendous assist to those interested in women's history. Invaluable resource for the Education Center of the Women in
Military Service Memorial."--Brig. General Wilma L. Vaught, USAF, Retired, President, Women in Military Service Memorial Foundation

"I love this book. Litoff and Smith have done their usual remarkable work, pulling together letters from the American women of World War II that tell the wonderfully complex story of women's experience in the military in a compelling fashion. The pride these women rightly took in their
achievements shines through. They were pioneers. They paved the way. These are their stories."--Stephen E. Ambrose, Director, The Eisenhower Center, The University of New Orleans

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