Beyond Combat

By Heather Marie Stur,

Book cover of Beyond Combat: Women and Gender in the Vietnam War Era

Book description

Beyond Combat investigates how the Vietnam War both reinforced and challenged the gender roles that were key components of American Cold War ideology. Refocusing attention onto women and gender paints a more complex and accurate picture of the war's far-reaching impact beyond the battlefields. Encounters between Americans and Vietnamese were…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Beyond Combat as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

(Spoiler alert: I appear in Ms. Stur’s book, albeit briefly)

Beyond Combat is one of the few books that examines the role of the more than 60,000 women who served in military and civilian capacities in Vietnam and the gender stereotypes that accompanied them. In addition to nurses, who formed the largest group of U.S. military women in Vietnam, Stur highlights those who served under the auspices of the Red Cross Supplemental Recreational Activities Overseas program. These young college graduates were commonly known as “donut dollies” because of their girl-next-door appeal. “Our job was to lift the guys’ spirits,” recalls…

Heather Stur’s Beyond Combat provides an incomparable gender analysis of the U.S. war in Vietnam and its coverage in the United States. Digging into images of dragon ladies, the girl next door, and gentle warriors, Stur shows just how deeply ideas about gender (and race) permeated public perceptions of U.S. intervention. Stur also uncovers the roles that U.S. women in the Women’s Army Corps played in Vietnam—primarily as support to combat troops—and examines whether women’s real-world experiences in a war zone reconfigured gender role assumptions back home in the United States.

From Jessica's list on women and the US war in Vietnam.

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