And If I Perish: Frontline U.S. Army Nurses in World War II
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And If I Perish: Frontline U.S. Army Nurses in World War II

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  252 ratings  ·  38 reviews
In World War II, 59,000 women voluntarily risked their lives for their country as U.S. Army nurses. When the war began, some of them had so little idea of what to expect that they packed party dresses; but the reality of service quickly caught up with them, whether they waded through the water in the historic landings on North African and Normandy beaches, or worked around...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published November 9th 2004 by Anchor (first published 2003)
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A.L. Sowards
This was a really good book. I’d recommend it for history buffs or for people who just like reading about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Since female nurses are the focus, I’d also recommend it to readers interested in women’s history or who just like reading about the sisterhood that develops between women living and working together. For WWII ETO history buffs, I’d say it’s a must-read.

The authors said they weren’t trying to give a complete history of the European theater, and the...more
CJ Ewell
This is a great read but also a very important book for anyone interested in military history, women's issues, or nursing as a profession.
Unknown to many Americans, US Military Nurses served in battle, on the front lines, at great personal risk. Some were POWs in Europe and the Pacific, some were killed, many injured, and their sacrifices were almost immediately hidden from the world by politicians who did not want to upset the status quo. They were not paid fairly, were not afforded the officia...more
Lisa Dornell
A fascinating look at some of the unsung heroines of WWII. Did you know that Army nurses landed with the troops at Anzio? Did you know they served on the front lines throughout the European campaign? They served and died next to their male comrades and did so with less pay, fewer comforts, and only honorary rank. (They got to wear the bars but were not entitled to salutes.)

I devoured this book in a few days. Extremely well-researched and full of reminiscences from the women who where there. The...more
Chris Farrell
There are many histories of WWII, but you so rarely get to hear women's voices. I recall reading Antony Beevor's otherwise excellent The Second World War a couple years ago and being slightly depressed by the lack of any attention given to the role of women and (American) minorities in the conflict. Yes, the war was mostly fought and entirely directed by white men, but that's no excuse for overlooking everyone else.

Anyway, as an opportunity to hear other voices from WWII, And If I Perish was an...more
Through their specific stories, the women of the'greatest generation' Army Nurse Corps made WWII come alive for me. I felt the fear and witnessed the courage of the soldiers and the nurses who were always one step behind and very often alongside them as they landed on beaches, slogged in forests, endured scrafing and bombing and dealt with awful human suffering. Along the way we are reminded of cultural facts we now can regard as quaint history. Some random examples: males were not permitted to...more
This book chronicles the experiences of some of the 59,000 women who served as Army Nurses in the battle zones during World War II. Their stories are extraordinary. Nurses received only temporary relative rank—meaning that they wore military insignia but had no military privileges or status. They earned half the pay of their male counterparts in the armed forces. Yet fifty seven female nurses would land right alongside the invasion forces in North Africa. They and others would follow the troops...more
It's a little-known fact that 59,000 American women volunteered to be US Army nurses during World War II. And if I perish is a poignant attempt to make that history known. The authors, Evelyn Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee, got so many replies to a request made in conjunction with the National Salute to Women Veterans of World War II celebrating its 50th anniversary they found enough material to write several books. The authors did an excellent job incorporating the stories of specific nur...more
Mar 11, 2013 Roberta marked it as to-read
Shelves: nonfiction, history
I have only read bits & pieces so far. I picked up this book because I am participating in a project collecting short bios of local women who served in the military. My 20th century history courses in school did not prepare me for this project. There was nothing whatsoever about any of this in my textbooks. What these women experienced has come as a big shock to me.

The topic of women in combat has been in the news a lot since the Department of Defense lifted its ban on women in combat roles...more
Great educational book about the struggles, sacrifices, and accomplishment of some of the unsung heroes of WW2 - the nurses. It is not a quick read but well worth your time.
Very interesting book about some very courageous ladies.Thank you for all you did. Of course they got only half the pay of the males of similar rank....when will it ever end
Sarah Sundin
A beautifully written, touching, and exciting account of the unsung heroes of World War II - the women who served in frontline hospitals. They dealt with air raids, mud, bugs, and the ordeal of caring for the seriously wounded. This book includes detailed information about nursing in the European and Mediterranean Theaters, some background history to ground the reader, and gripping personal anecdotes. I found it an excellent resource for researching my World War II novels, but enjoyed it on its...more
Margaret D'Anieri
This is a history of WWII in Europe as seen through the experience of nurses serving just behind the front lines in N Africa, Italy, France, and Germany. Based largely on oral histories fortunately recorded before the passing of " the greatest generation". Part Band of Sisters, part research project ; the prose isn't imaginative but that is redeemed somewhat by the thoroughness and the untold story brought to light.
Cheryl S.
I rarely give a book 5 stars. This one received the rating because of the importance of the information it contains. I've read a lot of books about WWII and of course had the usual history lessons in school but nowhere have I ever read of the courage, determination and patriotism of the women who served as nurses during the war. If you are a woman and appreciate some of the rights and freedoms we have today read this book.
Jenna Marie
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!! This is one of my favorite books of all time!! It made me feel like I was right there alongside with the army nurses in North Africa, escaping the sinking ships of the Newfoundland and St. David, struggling to survive on the Anzio beachhead, etc.... Everybody who wants to learn about women's monumental contributions to WWII have to read this book!!!
This is an amazing account of the tens of thousands of American women nurses who served on or near the front-lines during WWII. These women were amazing and courageous and I cannot believe that Hollywood, with it's obsession for all things warlike and violent, has not made a movie (or ten) about the experiences of these women.
Kate E.A.
This is such a heart-wrenching book. I have cried multiple times reading it. I read it very slowly, because I can only take so much before I had to put it down. To think of what my fellow nurses have gone through -- to think of what these women volunteered to do in the Army Nurse Corps -- touches me deeply.
Paige Johnson
I am also a nurse and enjoy any historical book on nurses in service. This is very well written and shows the many experiences of nurses in the European and African theatre during WWII. It is so important to chronically document these stories because we are losing these veterans every day.
Aryn Youngless
This was an amazing book, & I recommend it to anyone looking to learn about a whole other side of World War II. "If I Perish" was written in a way that you felt you were in the hospitals with these women, & that, in the end, you had just made a group of new friends. I very much loved it.
An excellent book about a too often overlooked group of soldiers from WWII. For people who think they have a good feel for our nations history; especially related to WWII - you owe it to yourself to read this book. I am proud to have these strong women to point my daughter to as role models.
This was an incredibly well put together book about the nurses in the North African, Mediterranean, and European theaters (with a tiny bit about the Pacific). I definitely recommend this to people who enjoyed Band of Brothers. It had the same narrative scope.
A story well worth telling, of people well worth remembering. However, this was horribly written. Heavy-handed and repetitive, with sloppy structure and overly-colloquial prose. I was expecting a work of serious history and was disappointed.
I had to give up on this one....I just couldn't slog thru it. I think I have given up on exactly 2 books in my reading career. So many details, so much, "then we moved here and then we went there." I just lost interest.
Suzie Deborah
Glad to see these nurses are finally recognized for their sacrifices they made for our country. Information on where troops landed that was helpful in regard to who was where during the war.
Lisa Hayes
One of the most interesting World War II books of all time. Personally made more interesting because it follows the course of my Grandfather's war from North Africa to the Bulge.
This was a very interesting book about World War II Nurses. This history of nursing tries to elevate the nurses experiences, which have largely been ignored.
Elizabeth Nesbit-comer
This book is awsome. My favorite part is when the nurses asked for supplies that they needed and the government sent them lipstick lol
You will never learn this in schools; it opened my eyes to how much women did during WWII. One of the best books I have ever read.
Katie Chargualaf
Every nurse should read this book - facinating account of nurses in WW II! I never realized what nurses did and were expected to do!
this is a compilation of interviews with women who served as nurses in north africa, italy and france during wwII..fascinating!
Margaret Petersen
I really enjoyed this book about the rarely recognized contributions that nurses made to the war effort.
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