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War Gayle Tzemach Lemmon Summary

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In Ashley’s War, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon recounts the story of female volunteers on Cultural Support Teams (CSTs) to inform the public and highlight a niche for women in combat. As she narrates their struggles, she describes how CSTs addressed the specific strategic needs of counterinsurgency to respect Afghan culture and access information from Afghan women. Lemmon has experience writing about the resilience of women as a contributor and in a previous book, but her background is in national security and foreign affairs with no personal military experience. Lemmon’s book is written for a non-military audience and seeks to inform the public about the existence of the CST mission, its Soldiers, and why they served. Her narrative gives a moving…show more content…
The book is written as a narrative in third-person point of view. Without citations, it is difficult to determine the actual source of the information. Lemmon states that the book “is the product of twenty months of travel, hundreds of hours of interviews conducted in a dozen states across America, a review of primary research and documents, and an illuminating set of conversations with some of America’s most seasoned military leaders” but provides no citations to back up these claims. For instance, GEN McChrystal’s memoir is listed in the bibliography, are his quotes taken from that text or from an interview with the author specific to this topic? Citations would clarify and strengthen her arguments. In Ashley’s War, Lemmon exposes the reader to the little known story of female volunteers on teams with Special Operations Forces in combat. She gives a largely balanced look at the experiences of CSTs, which is limited by the lack of citations. Despite this weakness, she writes a moving narrative that informs and addresses some of the concerns regarding women in combat roles. I recommend this book because it meets the goal of informing the general public, and is possibly the most balanced view Soldiers and leaders can get with regard to the benefits and risks of women in
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