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Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  651 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
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 combined ...more
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published May 24th 2007 by Stackpole Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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Band of Brothers by Stephen E. AmbroseBlack Hawk Down by Mark BowdenHiroshima by John HerseyOn Killing by Dave GrossmanLone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell
Best Non-fiction War Books
352nd out of 922 books — 1,332 voters
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Best Iraq and Afghanistan War Books
86th out of 186 books — 305 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,620)
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Betsey
May 26, 2009 Betsey rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: military
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.
Nay
Aug 24, 2007 Nay rated it it was ok
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 the ...more
Ellen
Feb 10, 2016 Ellen rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Melissa
Nov 11, 2013 Melissa rated it did not like it
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
...more
Speedtribes
Feb 11, 2009 Speedtribes rated it did not like it
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 differen ...more
Karen
Sep 03, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
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.
Brigid
Oct 27, 2015 Brigid rated it liked it
Recommends it for: my bookies
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 ...more
Rachel
Dec 30, 2015 Rachel rated it it was amazing
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
...more
C
Feb 19, 2014 C rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned

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
...more
Nenette
Sep 21, 2014 Nenette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 th
...more
Patti
Jun 24, 2010 Patti rated it really liked it
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 t
...more
Mary  O'Brien
Feb 03, 2012 Mary O'Brien rated it liked it
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 i
...more
Kirsten Lenius
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 possib
...more
Dawn
May 21, 2008 Dawn rated it did not like it
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 t ...more
Joaquin
Jan 04, 2008 Joaquin rated it it was ok
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 on
...more
Patricia
Nov 12, 2007 Patricia rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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 ...more
Jeanne
Mar 10, 2016 Jeanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fighting and dying for America

Women have always been involved in all of our wars, and police actions, but this fact is rarely acknowledged. This book looks at the contributions being made by women warriors in Iraq.
This was a hard book for me to read bc, 50 years later I am still suffering from PTSD as a result of my nursing Viet Nam injured.
War is hell, be you male or female.
Mary Ellmann
Jul 23, 2014 Mary Ellmann rated it really liked it
Very good read if you are interested in what our troops go through and face during war. You don't hear a lot of these stories in the news and this book shows the fears and difficulties these troop, male and female, face on the battlefront. Have had friends who have gone to Irag but never truly knew what they faced while there. Gives you a better appreciation of our military and their commitment.
Emily Dahl
Sep 04, 2009 Emily Dahl rated it did not like it
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
...more
Julie
May 22, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: quite-enjoyed
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 soldier ...more
schmoozie
May 01, 2008 schmoozie rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Myriah
Aug 26, 2007 Myriah rated it did not like it
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- ...more
Tammy
May 04, 2015 Tammy rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book for what it was; the stories of many women warriors in our modern war. I didn't always agree with the way the author bent one way or another in her writing, but am glad to have 'met' these modern soldiers.
Jan
Feb 24, 2012 Jan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2012
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 f ...more
Filipe
Dec 10, 2008 Filipe rated it liked it
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
...more
Ayelet Waldman
Oct 21, 2015 Ayelet Waldman rated it liked it
Interesting stories.
Carolyn
Feb 16, 2008 Carolyn rated it it was ok
I read this book upon a recommendation from a friend. I do not feel that the author, having not served in the military herself, could truly capture the experience of females in Iraq. I've had many friends serve in Iraq. The experiences they have individually shared with me, has not been accurately captured in this book. I think the title Band of Sisters is a definite knock off from Band of Brothers. I would have liked something with Lionesses in the title...as that is a true portrayal of women s ...more
Jessica
May 20, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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 differen ...more
Kelly
I am thankful that my book club chose this book to read. I learned about Iraq and women's roles in fighting wars. However, I think the author is a TERRIBLE writer. She tells, never shows, uses multiple verb tenses in 1/2 a page, and just skims the surface of the book. I was angry the entire time I was reading this because FINALLY someone wrote a book about women in combat today and what it is like for them and the book is getting lots of attention, but the author does not deserve the title of wr ...more
Michelle
Jun 26, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing
A fantastic compilation of 12 women who have fought in Iraq. Tells the reality of what it is like to be a female at war on the "front lines." How they handle the pressure and struggles of trying to be recognized as a service member, not just a female, and all that entails. Eye-opening!! So fantastic, we have invited the author to come to Fort Carson to share at a workshop specifically for our female Soldiers and she has accepted.
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Kirsten Holmstedt grew up in Mystic, Connecticut. She graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2006 with a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Nonfiction Writing.

Ms. Holmstedt was finishing her first year of graduate school in the spring of 2003 when the war in Iraq started.
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More about Kirsten Holmstedt...

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