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Women and the Vietnam War – 5 Nonfiction Reads

Women and the Vietnam War - 5 Nonfiction ReadsTo celebrate Women’s History Month, I thought it’d be fun to assemble a reading list looking specifically at the women’s history aspect of a particular historical event. When I thought about it, I couldn’t easily think off the top of my head of any books about women and the Vietnam War, so I decided to build my list on that. It taught me something while I was assembling the list for you.

I tried to cover both women part of the War, as well as women protesting the War or part of the counterculture. All book blurbs come from either GoodReads or Amazon.

Women and the Vietnam War - 5 Nonfiction ReadsDaughters of Aquarius: Women of the Sixties Counterculture
by: Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo
Publication Date: 1997
Blurb:
“Hippie women” have alternately been seen as earth mothers or love goddesses, virgins or vamps-images that have obscured the real complexity of their lives. Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo now takes readers back to Haight Ashbury and country communes to reveal how they experienced and shaped the counterculture. She draws on the personal recollections of women who were there–including such pivotal figures as Lenore Kendall, Diane DiPrima, and Carolyn Adams–to gain insight into what made counterculture women tick, how they lived their days, and how they envisioned their lives.

This is the first book to focus specifically on women of the counterculture. It describes how gender was perceived within the movement, with women taking on much of the responsibility for sustaining communes. It also examines the lives of younger runaways and daughters who shared the lifestyle. And while it explores the search for self enlightenment at the core of the counterculture experience, it also recounts the problems faced by those who resisted the expectations of “free love” and discusses the sexism experienced by women in the arts.

Women and the Vietnam War - 5 Nonfiction ReadsHands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC
by: Faith S. Holsaert, et al
Publication Date: 2010
Blurb:
Fifty-two women–northern and southern, young and old, urban and rural, black, white, and Latina–share their courageous personal stories of working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement.

The testimonies gathered here present a sweeping personal history of SNCC: early sit-ins, voter registration campaigns, and freedom rides; the 1963 March on Washington, the Mississippi Freedom Summer, and the movements in Alabama and Maryland; and Black Power and antiwar activism.

Women and the Vietnam War - 5 Nonfiction ReadsHome Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam
By: Lynda Van Devanter
Publication Date: 1983
Blurb:
On June 8, 1969, a patriotic, happy-go-lucky young nurse fresh out of basic training arrived in Vietnam to serve a year’s tour of duty as a second lieutenant in the Army. It was a year that was to rob Lynda Van Devanter of her youth, her patriotism, her innocence – and her future.

Women and the Vietnam War - 5 Nonfiction ReadsUnfriendly Fire: A Mother’s Memoir
By: Peg Mullen
Publication Date: 1995
Blurb:
Outspoken, fearless, and wickedly humorous, Peg Mullen tells the story of her transformation from an ordinary farm woman into a nationally recognized peace activist following the death of her oldest son, who was killed by artillery misfire in the Vietnam War.

Women and the Vietnam War - 5 Nonfiction ReadsThe Valiant Women of the Vietnam War
By: Karen Zeinert
Publication Date: 2000
Blurb:
From journalists and nurses to those who mobilized to protest or support the war effort on the home front, women of all ages took advantage of the changing social climate of the 1960s to break free of their traditional roles. A discussion of Vietnamese women’s roles in the conflict is included.

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Book Review: Tundra 37 by Aubrie Dionne (Series, #2)

February 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Man and woman holding each other in front of a spaceship.Summary:
Gemme is the Matchmaker for her generation on board the Expedition a spaceship that has been headed toward Paradise 18 for hundreds of years and multiple generations in the hopes of saving humanity from extinction due to the failure of Earth.  The ship is driven by a pair of seers–twins from Old Earth who have been kept alive an abnormally long amount of time by being hooked up to machines and virtually made part of the ship.  The seers make a mistake for the first time in hundreds of years and end up in a meteor shower and having to crash-land on the barely inhabitable ice planet Tundra 37.  Gemme finds herself reassigned from Matchmaker to the exploratory team Alpha Blue with the hunky Lieutenant that the computer system matched her with just before blowing off into space during the meteor shower.  Can she land the hunk without anyone knowing about the match?  And will the colonists manage to survive Tundra 37?

Review:
Although this is the second book in the series, which I didn’t realize at first, it appears that each book follows a different spaceship that left Earth, so I really do not think it’s necessary to read them in order.  I didn’t feel like I was missing anything, for instance.

It’s been a while since I read a book this bad that came from a publishing house, but it does happen.  This is part of why I firmly believe it shouldn’t matter if a work is self-published or indie published or traditionally published.  Bad books happen everywhere.  Although it definitely is more baffling when something like this slips through a publishing house.  (Then again, Twilight happened…..)

There is just so much wrong with this book.  The characters struggle in this odd land between one-dimensional and three-dimensional.  They’re two-dimensional?  The structure itself is odd.  We jump around at illogical points between Gemme/Lieutenant, the Seers’ lives on Old Earth, and the little crippled girl on the ship, Vira.  I’d just get interested, finally, in one of the plots and then get yanked over to another one, only to have it happen all over again.  Actually, the Seers’ lives are interesting and unique.  I wish Dionne had simply told their story and ignored the total snoozefest that is the love interest between Gemme and the Lieutenant.  These are all moderately minor things though that I could still see another reader enjoying, if it weren’t for the things that make zero fucking sense.  There’s so many of them, I’m just gonna go ahead and bullet-point them for ya’ll.

  • When the ship first crash-lands, the Seers (telekinetic, all-knowing types) announce that they have enough fuel to keep everyone warm and everything running for three months.  Mysteriously, this number changes to three days without any explanation.
  • Seriously, how could one person’s entire career be matchmaking one generation that fits on-board a space-ship? Plus, all she does is double-check the matches the computer sets up.  This could be done in a day or two.  A week at the most.
  • NOBODY noticed little Vira’s telekinetic powers before now? Puhleeze.
  • Supposedly the Seers’ eggs have been randomly implanted into random women for all the generations on-board the ship in the hopes of getting another Seer.  Nobody knows this except the Matchmakers.  Fact: The Seers are African-American.  Double-fact: It appears almost everyone else on-board the ship is white. And you expect me to believe nobody noticed the random inter-racial babies popping up?! When these people mate for life? Apparently the facts of genetics that are so important to these people are completely unnoticed when it comes to race. HUH

As if these inconsistencies were not enough, there’s also the fact that Dionne simply tries to do too much throughout the book.  Among the ideas and storylines going in this rather short book (thank god), we’ve got:

  • People reliving their past lives in their dreams.
  • Soulmates from past lives finding each other.
  • The humans’ attempts to survive on Tundra 37.
  • The explanation of how this ship got in the air in the first place.
  • One seer’s love story.
  • The story of the seers’ relationship with each other on Old Earth.
  • How Old Earth went to hell.
  • Vira being telekinetic and hiding it.
  • An “evil entity” on board the ship.
  • The mysterious orb.
  • The mysterious beacon.
  • The Gemme/Lieutenant/Luna love triangle (wtf is with the love triangles in romance novels?!)

Basically, the problem is, you can either tell the story of the Seers’ lives or the story of the colonist’s lives on Tundra 37.  You can’t really do both.  It’s confusing and jarring and seriously that orb/beacon thing was totally unnecessary for either one.  This is honestly an understandable problem.  Authors sometimes get too much going at once.  But how it made it through editing and to publication in this format is beyond me.  Could it be a typical outerspace, clean romance?  (There is no sex).  Sure!  Is it the way it is now?  Hell no!  How it is now is a confusing mess that’s simply exhausting to read.  Not what your typical romance reader is looking for or, really, any reader for that matter.  Definitely give this one a pass. 

2 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

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Previous Books in Series:
Paradise 21