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The Women (2024)

de Kristin Hannah

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1,2588015,467 (4.43)1 / 18
"When twenty-year-old nursing student Frances "Frankie" McGrath hears these unexpected words, it is a revelation. Raised on idyllic Coronado Island and sheltered by her conservative parents, she has always prided herself on doing the right thing, being a good girl. But in 1965 the world is changing, and she suddenly imagines a different choice for her life. When her brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, she impulsively joins the Army Nurse Corps and follows his path. As green and inexperienced as the men sent to Vietnam to fight, Frankie is overwhelmed by the chaos and destruction of war, as well as the unexpected trauma of coming home to a changed and politically divided America."--… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 73 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
“Kristin Hannah tackles one of the most cruel and despicable wars of the century, the Vietnam War. The Women reveals the powerful contributions and horrific sacrifices of the American military nurses who served in a war whose agencies refused to acknowledge that they were even there. Perhaps no words can bring closure to a nation still ashamed of booing our returning heroes, but the heroine stirs a deep, overdue compassion and tears for every single soldier and especially the forgotten women who sacrificed so much.” By Delia Owens (Where the Crawdads Sing) ( )
  chapterthree | May 19, 2024 |
I've always been a Kristin Hannah fan and I knew this book wouldn't disappoint. A lot of people call 1960s historical fiction and to me it is since it's an era I grew up in but paying much attention to the Vietnam War but of course knew about it since I was young.

Like she said, women can be heroes too but back then, it was earning your degree to be a M.R.S. Or being a nurse, secretary, etc. Frankie wanted to be like her brother and go to Vietnam. She earned her nursing degree early. Only the Army would accept her.

I have no words to describe this book and what Frankie and her best friends, also nurses, Barb and Ethel who she met there and all the other doctors, etc., went through. It was not an easy read as all war books and tragedies that occur in real life. It was an eye opening book and I felt I lived them unfortunately through their eyes and others there. You bet I cried a lot especially Frankie's life after Nam was no picnic with her emotions and no one accepting her as a “real” nurse and Barb and Ethel were always there for her and each other even though they all lived in different states all over the U.S. Even years later.

I cried at the ending of course. ( )
  sweetbabyjane58 | May 19, 2024 |
Our main character Frankie, who grew up on Coronado Island CA where military service was the norm, wants to be recognized for her her two tours of duty in Vietnam in a MASH unit. It’s the mid ‘60s and her father is angry that she joined the army and isn’t following the path of well brought up women. Excellent story of the rise of feminism, women in the service though everyone said women didn’t go to Vietnam and the trauma of recovery upon returning home where she was told to just forget about the war and what she experienced. Nicely nuanced characters balanced in a historically accurate story line. ( )
  bblum | May 15, 2024 |
My review of this book can be found on my YouTube Vlog at:

https://youtu.be/YjMRAbJIWiI

Enjoy! ( )
  booklover3258 | May 9, 2024 |
Women, Kristen Hannah, author; Julia Whelan, narrator
This book does one thing very well. Using the women who served their nation as nurses during the Vietnam War, and also including the soldiers who served with valor and great courage, Kristin Hannah has exposed the trials and tribulations of all wars. Everyone suffers from the consequences of war, though to different degrees. It is the combat soldier, however, that I believe, suffered the most, often resulting in their own unfortunate behavior for which some were held accountable, rightfully or not, like the soldiers at My Lai and those who were not accountable, like those who took advantage of the women they believed were weaker and indispensable, leaving them at the altar, so to speak.
Focusing on three nurses from different backgrounds, Frankie, Barb and Ethel who volunteered for service, and describing their interaction with the men, explaining their motives for the way they all conducted themselves in combat and socially, the book illustrates their bravery, their sacrifice, and sometimes their shameful unethical behavior. It also exposes the shameful, unethical and dishonest behavior of our government that, with their lies, betrayed the men and women who fought this useless and unwinnable war. Their courage went unrecognized for a long time; the brave nurses, because they did not carry a weapon, were ignored and rarely honored. There were far fewer nurses than soldiers and because only one nurse actually died in combat, with a total of eight fatalities, some from illness or accidents, they were not considered heroines, nor were most of the men considered heroes, because we lost the war; the men were still heroes, because they fought and honored the country. The men and women, however, came home from Vietnam in the shadow of a shameful failure.
I found the character of Frankie a bit too naïve, especially since she so easily or quickly seemed to morph into the drug addicted, promiscuous characterization of the veteran, male or female. Still, the nurses, regardless of their number, suffered through the brutal enemy attacks on their medical facilities, witnessed the most gruesome injuries, and had to assist in medical procedures and surgeries far beyond the normal duties of a nurse stateside where they were simply expected to do clerical work, carry bedpans and clean up after others.
In Nam, they saved many lives and comforted those soldiers they could not save. They forged friendships and bonds that were not easily broken. Because of the fragile situation, in which someone was here today and gone tomorrow, and death and catastrophic injuries were part of every day, often morality went out the window and self-preservation and immediate gratification became their primary goal. Frankie often found herself and her service dismissed by her family, or she felt betrayed in romantic situations, or unappreciated at a stateside hospital, which was the opposite of her experience during the war.
In order to insert the pertinent facts, to put the story into an authentic environment, the author includes themes like the lack of respect for women, the lack of opportunity for success, the napalm, the protest marches, the camaraderie that crossed color lines even when the very shameful racism that existed at the same time reared its head, the promiscuity and the drugs and alcohol, and every other line that existed; some scenes seemed contrived.
When the war ended and Frankie’s reality was supposed to return to normal, it did not. Her family did not think she was a hero, they had lied about her service, never telling anyone she is in Vietnam. Only her brother could be a hero there. Her own family life and her own personality flaws caused most of her trauma and inability to adjust when she returned. To help her sleep without nightmares, her mom gave her the pills that caused her initial drug addiction, but the need for alcohol was introduced to her in country while she served and it continued afterwards to calm her nerves. The VA hospital ignored her need for help. The system failed many then. Sadly, still today, not all, but some of the VA hospitals still fail the men and women who serve our country. So does our government, and often, our own American citizens abandon them and show them little respect even though their own lives would be quite different, absent the men and women who preserve our freedoms.
Moving on, when Frankie came home, her experiences mirrored those of the men who came home, but in reality, I am not sure her reactions or her treatment were as extreme as described in our real world during or post-Vietnam. Still, the description served to show, overall, how the Vietnam Vets were received, even if it was exaggerated a bit. It did happen the way the author depicted it. I knew of people who left the country to go to Canada to avoid service and until amnesty, could not return home. I knew of couples who married quickly and then had children immediately to avoid service. They took jobs that exempted them. No one wanted to go, and those who did go were not wanted when they came home. It was a sad time in our history and it was self-inflicted by our government and by the American citizens who did not appreciate their sacrifices.
It was President Johnson who entered that war, and President Nixon exited it. There was no welcome home for the men and women, no parade, and few joyous families proud of those who served. There was just shame, because they had failed to win. They had come home broken. They were ignored and there was very little concern for their adjustment or mental health, or for their futures, if truth be told. The streets filled with the homeless vets and their suicide rate rose. Using the real veteran Ron Kovic, as a character in the novel, lent authenticity to the various themes presented. PTSD was not the focus of medicine then. Unemployment, alcoholism, depression, nightmares and the inability to return to normal life were largely played down or ignored.
I don’t remember the nurses being spat upon or ridiculed, but I know that the soldiers were.
So, while I think it is true that the author has exaggerated some, she has painted a largely accurate picture of what went on during the years of the Vietnam War, a time of protest, unrest, perhaps unpatriotic behavior, as well. Men left America to avoid service, but I am not sure anyone has the right to blame them, in hindsight. The Vietnam War went on too long and was unsuccessful. Perhaps America had no business being in that war at all. What business was it of ours? The protests and marches were disruptive, but they illustrated the mood of the country. The men did not want to die for a cause that had nothing to do with them. Those that joined up did so because they loved their country and believed their leaders. They were led down the garden path by those who knew they were lying to them. They were fed drugs so they could control their fear and their exhaustion.
Today, we know that there is a reason that soldiers are 18 when they can enlist or are drafted. It is because the frontal lobe of the brain is not developed yet, and the ability to make sound judgments is impaired. They follow orders, largely respecting their commanding officers and their purpose. They don’t think too much about anything but their country. The leaders of the country lied to them about what was happening on the ground in Vietnam, simply enlarging the killing field and not the democracy. Perhaps the Pro-Palestinian demonstrators today, supporting terrorists, are the same target audience. The protesters of the Vietnam era did not see Communism as an existential threat, and perhaps, the results over time have proven that they were wrong in part, because those threats morph but still exist today/ Perhaps it is because of our weakness and lack of resolve to do what was necessary to win and to shut down our enemies.
The tools of war are horrific, though, and in retrospect, we now know that our war efforts even caused grave illnesses to our own soldiers and their families. Agent Orange had lasting effects eventually causing many kinds of cancer. The drugs freely distributed created addicts. The emotional problems the soldiers had to deal with were often insurmountable. In every confrontation, when lives are in danger and there is a war, there are unintended consequences.
Are the people who conduct the war at fault? After all, they are charged with winning the war. Is that there first responsibility? Does the mental and physical health of the people in the trenches really effect judgment about policy? I doubt it, because the overall effort is to win at any price, I think. It is evident today in America’s interference in the war between Ukraine and Russia, between Hamas and Israel. Often, we are on the wrong side of history. We have allowed hate to fester unconditionally by trying to make everything equitable when that is an impossibility. There is only equal opportunity, but we are not all equal. Some are taller, fatter, smarter, braver, etc. Those distinctions affect our success or failure. I think if we do not come around to understanding that fact, we will continue to fail in our efforts to create a peaceful, united country and world. ( )
  thewanderingjew | May 8, 2024 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 73 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Reading Hannah’s books may be a masochistic pastime, but it’s also a hugely popular one. “The Nightingale,” “The Four Winds,” “The Great Alone,” “Firefly Lane”: Her books are such reliable bestsellers that her publisher is betting big on “The Women” with an initial printing of 1 million copies. If Kleenex doesn’t come up with a tie-in campaign, it’s leaving money on the table.... I read “The Women” while hugging an emotional-support pillow and trying to divine which characters would be sacrificed. Hannah’s protective instincts toward her protagonists are on par with George R.R. Martin’s. But even if Frankie made it out alive, I knew there would be many more who wouldn’t.... while it destroyed me, it also awoke something that was — and continues to be — in short supply: empathy. It gave me a new appreciation for what everyday people from the past endured; it also gave me perspective for how my own micro-tragedies fit into the larger framework of history. Hannah tells the stories of real but unsung heroes, and when you consider that, the price of a few sobs seems relatively small.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarWashington Post, Stephanie Merry (Web site pago) (Feb 9, 2024)
 
A few chapters into “The Women,” I experienced a wave of déjà vu — and it wasn’t just the warm Tab and the creme rinse. If you grew up in the 1980s, the Vietnam redemption arc was imprinted on your gray matter by a stampede of young novelists and filmmakers coming to grips with their foundational trauma: patriotic innocence shattered by the barbarity of jungle warfare; the return home to a hostile nation; the chasm of despair and addiction; and finally, the healing power of activism.... Kristin Hannah takes up the Vietnam epic and re-centers the story on the experience of women — in this instance, the military nurses who worked under fire, on bases and in field hospitals, to patch soldiers back together. Or not.... Hannah’s real superpower is her ability to hook you along from catastrophe to catastrophe, sometimes peering between your fingers, because you simply cannot give up on her characters. If the story loses a little momentum after Frankie completes her second tour — slingshot to the finish by a series of occasionally strained plot twists — well, isn’t that the way it went for so many veterans returning home? Without the imperatives of war, you stumble along until you find your way.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarNew York Times, Beatriz Williams (Web site pago) (Feb 1, 2024)
 
The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world..... In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away. A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarKirkus Reviews (Nov 4, 2023)
 
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This war has . . . stretched the generation gap so wide that it threatens to pull the country apart.

—FRANK CHURCH
In a country where youth is adored, we lost ours before we were out of our twenties. We learned to accept death there, and it erased our sense of immortality. We met our human frailties, the dark side of ourselves, face-to-face . . . The war destroyed our faith, betrayed our trust, and dropped us outside the mainstream of our society. We still don't fully belong. I wonder if we ever will.

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AMERICAN DAUGHTER GONE TO WAR
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This novel is dedicated to the courageous women who served in Vietnam. These women, most of them nurses and many of them raised on proudly told family stories of World War II heroism, heeded their country's call to arms and went to war. In too many instances, they came home to a country that didn't care about their service and a world that didn't want to hear about their experiences; their post-war struggles and their stories were too often forgotten or marginalized. I am proud to have this opportunity to shine a light on their strength, resilience, and grit.
And to all veterans and POW/MIA and their families, who have sacrificed so much.
And finally, to the medical personnel who fought the pandemic and gave so much of themselves to help others.
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Words were creators of worlds; you had to be careful with them.
War was full of goodbyes, and most of them never really happened; you were always too early or too late.
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"When twenty-year-old nursing student Frances "Frankie" McGrath hears these unexpected words, it is a revelation. Raised on idyllic Coronado Island and sheltered by her conservative parents, she has always prided herself on doing the right thing, being a good girl. But in 1965 the world is changing, and she suddenly imagines a different choice for her life. When her brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, she impulsively joins the Army Nurse Corps and follows his path. As green and inexperienced as the men sent to Vietnam to fight, Frankie is overwhelmed by the chaos and destruction of war, as well as the unexpected trauma of coming home to a changed and politically divided America."--

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