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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Strong Ones: How a Band of Civilian Women Made Their Mark on the Army is a work of non-fiction in the memoir and biographical sub-genres penned by author Sara Hammel. The work is intended for an adult reading audience and contains reports, interviews, and fascinating history about the role of women in the military, and an extraordinary study that changed minds and policy on the subject in 1995. The author was one of a group of forty-five civilian women who took part in the program to test the true limits of female strength, disproving a wealth of outdated ideas about what women could cope with in military roles and combat.
Author Sara Hammel has crafted a truly inspiring account of her experiences, and those of her sisters-in-arms, with plenty of history, policy, grit, and motivational moments to offer readers. One of the features which I found particularly impressive about this piece was its attention to the individual as well as the group, outlining the specific and diverse fields from which these amazing women came. When you begin to piece together the different reasons why each brave and powerful woman came to the study, the tapestry of lives, strengths, and struggles is all the grander to behold. I also felt that the author gave a raw and honest account of the genuine difficulties, as well as the triumphs, which shows the realism and heroism of how hard it was to change minds in such a male-dominated field. Overall, I would highly recommend The Strong Ones to fans of inspirational non-fiction and recent history, and for military families everywhere.