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Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives
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Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,098 Ratings  ·  173 Reviews
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 i ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 7th 2006 by St. Martin's Press
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Andrea Lynne
Dec 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: A Lawyer
Recommended to Andrea by: Ms. Biank
Since I am one of the women/characters in the book I can tell you what a disappointment ~ how inaccurate most of the story is on a personal level. I was never allowed to edit, have access to the narrative or even confirm some of the factual nature, let alone get a clue to the slant Ms. Biank took insinuating certain aspects of my views, family, friends or personality. This book was obviously written to be immediately marketed for a dramatic television series therefore the creative non-fiction st ...more
Cat
Mar 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Quite honestly, I bought this because it’s the book the Lifetime TV series “Army Wives” is based upon. It was pure research (with a heavy dose of envy thrown in). I had one of those “if SHE can turn her book into a TV series, so can I, dammit!” moments. I had wrongly assumed Tanya Biank was a first time author who got lucky while I, an English major with dozens of published books to my credit, toiled away in obscurity.

Boy, was I wrong. It turns out Biank is a reporter based in Fayetteville, NC w
...more
Sarah
Jun 27, 2008 rated it liked it
This was recommended to me by one of my Army wife girlfriends, ans she felt it was amazing and should be read by all. I didn't realize the Lifetime series was based on a book that was based on the lives of actual women... as a non-fiction book, I found it a much more interesting story. I think you'd almost have to live that life to feel it as deeply as my girl did. Forgive me, but only two of my military spouse girlfriends were not active duty at one time themselves, and it is definitely a diffe ...more
Liz
Jul 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Picked it up because of the show based on this. The show is a far stretch from this book, most things are totally different. I rated this ok based on the book alone. The author claims to want to dispel some of the average stereotypes of Army wives, yet she feeds into others. This is a very "Go Army" type book, you'd almost think the Army was the only branch of military in the country at times. On the flip side, male spouses are virtually left out of everything as well.

The stories about the wive
...more
Rachael Kathleen Hartman
I couldn't book this book down. The true story of four Army wives, along with shorter stories of other Army wives during the 2000-2002 timeframe. I lived in Fayetteville during the timeframe of this book. I worked on Fort Bragg during that time. The book hit home in many ways because I could relate to the Army culture (I grew up in it), as well as the fact that I remember the news reports of the Army wives killed by their husbands during that time. I didn't realize this book was a true story of ...more
Laela
Jun 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, military
To be honest I had a moment when I put this book down and didn't think I was going to pick it back up. There is a widow in this book and it hit a little too close to home. BUT, my mind really wanted to know how things turned out. SO I promised my heart that I would just skim through the burial details and carry on with the rest of the story lines.

This is what I really learned while reading this book. There is a class system in the military. It appears that your husbands rank determines everythin
...more
Doug
Jan 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book because I am a Military Brat and a vet. It confirmed what I already knew. There are people in the military (just like in the civilian world) who have no morals. I remember the guys who couldn't wait to go on temporary duty so they could cheat on their wives and I remember the wives who couldn't keep their pants on while their husband was away defending his country for a few months. Statistically military, cops, and miners have the highest divorce rates of any professions; it is ...more
Jennifer
Sep 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who has a spouse or significant other in the Military & for anyone who enjoys "Army Wives"
I am a HUGE fan of Lifetime's "Army Wives," and have wanted to read this book for quite a while now. I am glad that I did. Being a former Military significant other, I was able to relate to these women's stories and the whole story in a way I probably would not have been able to otherwise.

*Contains a Spoiler*
As for how the book relates to the TV Show, the characters in the book and not specifically based on any one character in the show. Several of the characteristics of the characters in the b
...more
Lana
Jul 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any military spouses
I am an army wife and army brat. I watch the tv show but the book is completely different. Yes, there are some parallels, but it's more compelling to read the actual stories. I don't like the speculation she puts into certain conversations but I enjoyed the actual stories of the women she interviewed. I especially liked quizzing my husband on certain landmarks in Fayetteville and Bragg, ie Bragg Blvd where he blew $800 at a strip club, and how no one really dared go into the Green Beret Bar. All ...more
Jennifer
Dec 21, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this paperback at the Offutt BX. I enjoy the TV show, and so I thought I might enjoy the book. I was undergoing quite a bit of military-induced stress and needed some light reading. Little did I know, just how light it was. The story was very familiar, but not at all like the tv drama. Low and behold, I had already read the book years ago when it was called "Under the Sabres". And I was not crazy about the book then. Fortunately, the first time I checked the book out from the library ...more
Sarah
Dec 11, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It is with great reluctance that I mark this book as "read." I couldn't really get into it. I'm a huge fan of the Lifetime series, and was eager to read the book that inspired the show. I'm sad to say I was very disappointed, not because the book wasn't based on the same characters (as the show is, of course, fiction) but because of the style of the book. Even taking into account that the author was a reporter, and making allowances for that style of writing, I simply wasn't able to convince mys ...more
Jan
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-bought
Having been a Navy Wife this story rang so true to how it is to be a military wife. I knew this was the book that the tv show Army Wives was based on but I didn't know it was about the Fort Bragg killings too. Its a little different than the show but you can figure out who is being portrayed on tv even though the names are different. I couldn't believe how this turned out to be a tear jerker for me halfway through the book. Be aware there is a long prologue/intro at the begining. The story is ba ...more
Pam Herald
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story, because it was a true, real life picture of four Army Wives. You can see how the TV show adapted their situations for the shows characters. Have a box of tissue handy, cause you go through a roller coaster of emotions!
Heather Painter
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book!

I play the clarinet in a community band that supports the military, and I watched the Army Wives show on Netflix, so I was interested to see how the show compares to the book. The book centers around the murder of 4 army wives in a 6 week period in 2002. The show didn't talk about the murders at all, but a lot of the elements in the book are infused into the show. The author did a great job of profiling the women who are the main characters of the book. The characters in the sh
...more
Grace Viola
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book caught me by surprise. I was going to give it only 3 stars because I didn't like how it jumped from chracter to charcter so much. I was getting confused and couldn't make sense of it sometimes. However, I realized it had me completely captivated. I was flying through it. It had me in tears multiple times. Tanya Biank broke my heart with her stories. I couldn't justify giving it 5 because I did get frustrated occasionally with the character hoping.
Diana
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting interpretation of military life for some of the women who chose to enter such a unique union. It is in my opinion that those who serve our country have one of the most highly lauded, yet difficult positions in life. Their families share that sacrifice in countless measures. That being said, the mental health of our soldiers should be a top priority.
Kalyn
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Growing up, I watched the tv show based on the book. I rewatched the show on Netflix my junior of college and reconnected with it and the characters. For this reason, I believe I prefer the show.

The book was well written and had I not seen the show and it been a big part of my life, I would have enjoyed the book more.
Joan
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book behind Army Wives, written by an former Army child.
Robyn Galbreath
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm not quite sure how I feel about this book. I'm a fan of the show Army Wives and was looking for more detail like books often do. I'm trying to think of it separately from the show since it seems like the show just took basic circumstances from these wives' lives and is not a true adaptation of the book.

The book was a bit confusing as the author skipped between telling the stories of each wife separately, then starts adding in her own personal opinions, quips, and then there are parts where
...more
Megan
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to read this book because I lived in Fayetteville and spent time on Fort Bragg, so it was cool reading about familiar places. This book deals with some really heavy stuff and definitely sheds light on the ugly side of military life, and relationships in general. However, as an Army brat and military girlfriend, I can say that the events in this book are the extreme, not the norm. Military life comes with its own unique set of challenges and will test even the strongest of relations ...more
Dana
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will be the first to admit that I loved the show Army Wives. Since most of the original cast members have left, I have stopped watching, but I was always intrigued by the fact that this show was based on a book. I wanted to see how the two differed.
The basis for the book came from the string of Army Wife murders in the spring and summer of 2002, that occurred in Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, North Carolina. The author, Tanya Biank, is a reporter who had covered the army base for years. Traveling
...more
Heidi Willis
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
I picked up Under the Sabers because I knew it was the inspiration for the TV show Army Wives.

Under the Sabers is a non-fiction book that follows four Army wives stationed at Fort Bragg the two years prior to the shocking summer in which four Army wives were murdered within a 6 month period. The author does a great job in showing how the Army affects marriages and the role that it plays in a family without condemning the military.

I was afraid, starting the book, that the moral of the story wou
...more
Gloria
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb book! Excellent read!

I really loved this book. I am from and grew up in Fayetteville and so it was a true trip down memory lane for me to read about the different places mentioned. My father was an Air Force veteran, my husband is also retired Air Force, my son was in the Army and my son-in-law was a Marine. As the daughter of a First Sergeant I grew up hearing the phone ring at all hours of the night with calls from airmen regarding all kinds of issues. As a military wife I knew my role
...more
LeighAnne
Mar 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-books
I read this book because my husband met the sister of the author. And honestly, the tv show is one of our guilty pleasures (that we try to hide from friends....). The show has just enough authenticity to keep us watching the silliness.
I can't really write out a good review of the book, because I'm torn. On one hand, it was a fairly good representation of some of the "quirks" about Army life. (obviously not the murders--I'm talking about other things) But even though the author was raised in the
...more
April
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
In some aspects I enjoyed the book and could identify with some of the situations, fears, etc. that were a part of the overall story of these four women as a military spouse and I enjoyed that aspect of the book. However, I feel like the book failed to really tell the story of these four women on which it focused. Yes, the reader gets an overview of each of the women's stories, but the book would have been much more effective if the author had really delved into each woman's life in a deeper and ...more
Book Concierge
I don’t watch TV so never saw the show “Army Wives.” I was searching for a book to fulfill a reading challenge for an online book group, and this title popped up. I thought it was going to be a sort of chick-lit romance. It’s not what I expected … it’s MUCH better.

This is a nonfiction account of four women married to men stationed at Fort Bragg NC. It covers two years beginning in Dec 2000 in the lives of these families. But what happens has ramifications for the military and for the entire Ame
...more
Jennifer
A very interesting case study of four real-life Army wives, who were used as the basis for developing the characters in the TV series. I think perhaps I may have robbed the book for what it originally was since I have been an avid viewer of the show, and can identify where scenarios, and sometimes direct lines, have been drawn. I found myself very much wondering how closely the show plans on following these very real women, which creates some level of disappointment as I am unable to read the bo ...more
Kristine Kohut
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very journalistic in style. I usually prefer a more flowing fiction style, but I did get used to the feeling that I was reading a book-length article.

The content is amazing, well researched. The prologue is a bit redundant with the content of the book, to the point that the reader may choose to skip it, get on with reading the book, and not feel like they missed anything. I would almost say that this book is a must-read for women who are marring into the military who haven't previo
...more
Mainon
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wedding
So I didn't really read the synopsis of this book before borrowing it. As I'm in the midst of planning to become an Army wife myself, I was looking for something interesting on the topic, and the title plus the picture on the front (soldier and bride kissing under the saber arch) seemed to be what I wanted. Truthfully, I was thinking it would be a little sweet, a little gossipy, and sortof like a slightly-more-serious version of the TV show Army Wives.

I. Was. So. Wrong. The book starts off with
...more
Hilary
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
First off, let me say this very clearly: This is NOT the book of the TV series. A lot of people seem to think it is; the TV series is loosely based on this book. If you've seen the series you will be able to recognize aspects of the characters from these real women, but it's important to remember that they are not the same.

This non-fiction book, written by a journalist living in the area who grew up an Army brat, gives an interesting insight into the reality of Army life from the wives' viewpoin
...more
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