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Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives

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Under the Sabers is a groundbreaking narrative detailing the complex personal challenges Army wives face, presenting a provocative new look at Army life. Tanya Biank goes beyond the sound bites and photo ops of military life and shows what it is really like to be an Army wife--from hauling furniture off the rental truck by yourself at a new duty station when your husband i Under the Sabers is a groundbreaking narrative detailing the complex personal challenges Army wives face, presenting a provocative new look at Army life. Tanya Biank goes beyond the sound bites and photo ops of military life and shows what it is really like to be an Army wife--from hauling furniture off the rental truck by yourself at a new duty station when your husband is in the field, to comforting your son who wants his dad home from Afghanistan for his fifth birthday--she takes readers into the hearts and homes of today's military wives. In the summer of 2002, Army wives were in the headlines after Biank, a military reporter for the Fayetteville Observer, made international news when she broke the story about four Army wives who were brutally murdered by their husbands in the span of six weeks at Fort Bragg, an Army post that is home to the Green Berets, Airborne paratroopers, and Delta Force commandos. By that autumn, Biank, an Army brat herself, realized the still untold story of Army wives lay in the ashes of that tragic and sensationalized summer. She knew the truth--wives were the backbone of the Army. They were strong--not helpless--and deserved more than the sugarcoating that often accompanied their stories in the media. Under the Sabers tells the story of four typical Army wives, who, in a flash, find themselves neck-deep in extraordinary circumstances that ultimately force them to redefine who they are as women and Army wives. In this fascinating and meticulously researched account, Biank takes the reader past the Army's gates, where everyone has a role to play, rules are followed, discipline is expected, perfection praised, and perception often overrides reality. Biank explores what happens when real life collides with Army convention. Biank describes what it means to be a wife and mother in a subculture that is in a constant state of readiness for war. In this hard-hitting and powerful book, Biank takes a close look at the other woman--the Army itself--and its impact on wives, marriages, and home life. This story of strength and perseverance is an eye-opener for those who have never experienced military life and an anthem to those women who each day live the "unwritten code."


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Under the Sabers is a groundbreaking narrative detailing the complex personal challenges Army wives face, presenting a provocative new look at Army life. Tanya Biank goes beyond the sound bites and photo ops of military life and shows what it is really like to be an Army wife--from hauling furniture off the rental truck by yourself at a new duty station when your husband i Under the Sabers is a groundbreaking narrative detailing the complex personal challenges Army wives face, presenting a provocative new look at Army life. Tanya Biank goes beyond the sound bites and photo ops of military life and shows what it is really like to be an Army wife--from hauling furniture off the rental truck by yourself at a new duty station when your husband is in the field, to comforting your son who wants his dad home from Afghanistan for his fifth birthday--she takes readers into the hearts and homes of today's military wives. In the summer of 2002, Army wives were in the headlines after Biank, a military reporter for the Fayetteville Observer, made international news when she broke the story about four Army wives who were brutally murdered by their husbands in the span of six weeks at Fort Bragg, an Army post that is home to the Green Berets, Airborne paratroopers, and Delta Force commandos. By that autumn, Biank, an Army brat herself, realized the still untold story of Army wives lay in the ashes of that tragic and sensationalized summer. She knew the truth--wives were the backbone of the Army. They were strong--not helpless--and deserved more than the sugarcoating that often accompanied their stories in the media. Under the Sabers tells the story of four typical Army wives, who, in a flash, find themselves neck-deep in extraordinary circumstances that ultimately force them to redefine who they are as women and Army wives. In this fascinating and meticulously researched account, Biank takes the reader past the Army's gates, where everyone has a role to play, rules are followed, discipline is expected, perfection praised, and perception often overrides reality. Biank explores what happens when real life collides with Army convention. Biank describes what it means to be a wife and mother in a subculture that is in a constant state of readiness for war. In this hard-hitting and powerful book, Biank takes a close look at the other woman--the Army itself--and its impact on wives, marriages, and home life. This story of strength and perseverance is an eye-opener for those who have never experienced military life and an anthem to those women who each day live the "unwritten code."

30 review for Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    Quite honestly, I bought this because it’s the book the Lifetime TV series “Army Wives” is based upon. It was pure research (with a heavy dose of envy thrown in). I had one of those “if SHE can turn her book into a TV series, so can I, dammit!” moments. I had wrongly assumed Tanya Biank was a first time author who got lucky while I, an English major with dozens of published books to my credit, toiled away in obscurity. Boy, was I wrong. It turns out Biank is a reporter based in Fayetteville, NC w Quite honestly, I bought this because it’s the book the Lifetime TV series “Army Wives” is based upon. It was pure research (with a heavy dose of envy thrown in). I had one of those “if SHE can turn her book into a TV series, so can I, dammit!” moments. I had wrongly assumed Tanya Biank was a first time author who got lucky while I, an English major with dozens of published books to my credit, toiled away in obscurity. Boy, was I wrong. It turns out Biank is a reporter based in Fayetteville, NC who has not only covered the military beat for the local paper there for years, but has also been embedded with deployed troops all over the world. The second surprise was the subject of the book and her motivation for writing it. During the summer of 2002, 4 Fort Bragg Army wives were murdered by their husbands during a 6 week period. In this post 9-11 era when troops surged into the middle east and the entire country mourned, it seemed to Biank that this story needed to be told, and told by more than just a short article in the local paper for each of these women killed. I will copy here the passage from the book that has stuck with me most. Remember this is Biank writing her own opinion so don’t email me. I’m not saying I agree or disagree, just that it made me think. --------------Begin Quote--------- Everyone I met who knew Bill Wright extolled his virtues: great father, husband, and NCO. Even the cops had compassion for him. It was harder, in this town at least, for me to find people who had compassion for the wife he had just murdered. To many at Bragg it was Bill Wright who was the victim, the politically incorrect point of view that was never part of any media coverage, including my own. At the time I never asked the one unthinkable question: Did she deserve what happened to her? The question seemed absurd. Since I didn’t ask it, I couldn’t learn what I know now. More than a few soldiers who either knew the Wrights or had heard about the case later told me, “She got what she deserved.” Or “She had it comin’.” These quick-trigger outbursts (they were never said casually) always caught me off guard. To understand the root of such venom, I thad to take a step back and realize that these men identified more with Bill Wright the patriot, Bill Wright the war vet and family man, than they did with his supposedly cheating wife. An unfaithful Army wife might as well be a terrorist, soldiers hate them that much. Soldiers tend to consider infidelity as a personal slight on their own manhood. When a woman cheats on a buddy, she is desecrating not only her husband but also the flag and all those in uniform. Of course none of this applies when soldiers cheat on their wives. Rumors of Jennifer Wright’s alleged affairs had been flowing through her husband’s unit for a long time before her death. And in the Army rumors are as good as reality; here perceptions are reality. Sadly Jennifer Wright has never been able to defend her reputation. In the end the ‘great’ father had orphaned his three boys. ~from Under the Sabers page 2-3 ----------------- Those few paragraphs have stuck with me since the day I read them and dog-eared the page. Biank goes on to inform the reader that of the 4 wives murdered by their husbands, 3 of those 4 husbands killed themselves afterwards. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, those same 3 men were Special Forces. She explains that back in 2002 they investigated everything they could think of to explain this phenomenon. Was it the malaria injections these men had been given before deploying? Had the Army turned them into trained killers who no longer valued human life? What didn’t fit was the thousands of other men who received the same injections and the same training who choose NOT to kill their wives (affairs or not). What Biank concludes is this–the Army doesn’t cause marital problems, but when those problems exist they are easily magnified by the stress of long separations, money problems, frequent moves and the perceived stigma which prevents military families in emotional turmoil from seeking help for fear it would negatively affect their careers. Not that I feel at all qualified to render an opinion, I agree with her conclusion.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rachael Hartman

    I couldn't book this book down. The true story of four Army wives, along with shorter stories of other Army wives during the 2000-2002 timeframe. I lived in Fayetteville during the timeframe of this book. I worked on Fort Bragg during that time. The book hit home in many ways because I could relate to the Army culture (I grew up in it), as well as the fact that I remember the news reports of the Army wives killed by their husbands during that time. I didn't realize this book was a true story of I couldn't book this book down. The true story of four Army wives, along with shorter stories of other Army wives during the 2000-2002 timeframe. I lived in Fayetteville during the timeframe of this book. I worked on Fort Bragg during that time. The book hit home in many ways because I could relate to the Army culture (I grew up in it), as well as the fact that I remember the news reports of the Army wives killed by their husbands during that time. I didn't realize this book was a true story of those women, or I would have read it long before now. I recommend this book for anyone who has a heart for the military - it gives a perspective of some of the marital issues many military couples face. As a military child, I, like the author of this book, was blessed to have parents whose love and commitment went well with the Army. My heart goes out to the military children of parents with rocky marriages. The Army isn't the easiest life, but there are a lot of good things about it. One thing I liked about this book was the true picture the author paints of the community of support military families provide for each other.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Lynne

    Since I am one of the women/characters in the book I can tell you what a disappointment ~ how inaccurate most of the story is on a personal level. I was never allowed to edit, have access to the narrative or even confirm some of the factual nature, let alone get a clue to the slant Ms. Biank took insinuating certain aspects of my views, family, friends or personality. This book was obviously written to be immediately marketed for a dramatic television series therefore the creative non-fiction st Since I am one of the women/characters in the book I can tell you what a disappointment ~ how inaccurate most of the story is on a personal level. I was never allowed to edit, have access to the narrative or even confirm some of the factual nature, let alone get a clue to the slant Ms. Biank took insinuating certain aspects of my views, family, friends or personality. This book was obviously written to be immediately marketed for a dramatic television series therefore the creative non-fiction style the author took made another sacrifice of the women whose stories were tragic enough. Ms. Biank extorted all the information being a local journalist and used every avenue she could for her own gain ~ these were reasons to profit from those who sacrifice on all of our behalf. Even sadder she markets it to the military who have no idea the fodder they are fed. It has become clear to me after years of grieving, major loss of community, friendships and tedious situations that it has been this book and the series that has used my name and the others as well what she has cost our surviving families. Every day is difficult and she never included us in anyway when it came time for the 'glory' My dear friend, Delores, also in the book, who lost her son just wanted to visit the set of Army Wives. Ms. Biank will not even respond to an e-mail. and I thought the book could have been better written by a high schooler. Wordy and self-promoting. The author only married just before the book was published to claim the title, "Army Wife". If you must read it be careful. She has published it under three different titles, same book. Borrow it from the library or a friend. Don't give her any more money, she did not earn it. I would recommend it to no one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I am a HUGE fan of Lifetime's "Army Wives," and have wanted to read this book for quite a while now. I am glad that I did. Being a former Military significant other, I was able to relate to these women's stories and the whole story in a way I probably would not have been able to otherwise. *Contains a Spoiler* As for how the book relates to the TV Show, the characters in the book and not specifically based on any one character in the show. Several of the characteristics of the characters in the b I am a HUGE fan of Lifetime's "Army Wives," and have wanted to read this book for quite a while now. I am glad that I did. Being a former Military significant other, I was able to relate to these women's stories and the whole story in a way I probably would not have been able to otherwise. *Contains a Spoiler* As for how the book relates to the TV Show, the characters in the book and not specifically based on any one character in the show. Several of the characteristics of the characters in the book are represented in different characters in the TV show. For example, Rita, the uneducated mother who quickly marries Brian, is representative of Roxy, though Rita gets a job in a hospital pharmacy, similar to Denise. Overall, I would say this was a quick and enjoyable read and provides insite into the Military, specifically the Army, that one would not otherwise be aware of.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was recommended to me by one of my Army wife girlfriends, ans she felt it was amazing and should be read by all. I didn't realize the Lifetime series was based on a book that was based on the lives of actual women... as a non-fiction book, I found it a much more interesting story. I think you'd almost have to live that life to feel it as deeply as my girl did. Forgive me, but only two of my military spouse girlfriends were not active duty at one time themselves, and it is definitely a diffe This was recommended to me by one of my Army wife girlfriends, ans she felt it was amazing and should be read by all. I didn't realize the Lifetime series was based on a book that was based on the lives of actual women... as a non-fiction book, I found it a much more interesting story. I think you'd almost have to live that life to feel it as deeply as my girl did. Forgive me, but only two of my military spouse girlfriends were not active duty at one time themselves, and it is definitely a different thing when that's where you're coming from. And neither of those two ladies fit the stereotype, thankfully - hence our friendships! But I don't say that with as much disdain as it may sound like.... I actually *cannot* imagine having to deal with the BS all of the spouses have to endure because of their partners' choice of career. I guess we all have that to some extent, but how I behave when Jim is on the road is my business alone, no one judges his performance based on my behavior. It would take a great deal more strength and devotion to tolerate all that crap on top of what military families already have to deal with in the course of a day, and hey, better them than me. There's a reason I got out and found myself a nice rebellious civilian to marry, you know? And this book only confirmed what I already knew: I could not live that life. More power to them. There were points in the book where I couldn't put it down, and points where I didn't give a damn. I find it hard to bond with characters - in reality or fiction - that I don't identify with, and I couldn't really connect to any of these women. Generally, it had a trainwreck sort of feel to me... I had to find out what happened to which women and why or how. Not sure if I recommend it or not, but I did give it three stars. It was better than okay.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lana

    I am an army wife and army brat. I watch the tv show but the book is completely different. Yes, there are some parallels, but it's more compelling to read the actual stories. I don't like the speculation she puts into certain conversations but I enjoyed the actual stories of the women she interviewed. I especially liked quizzing my husband on certain landmarks in Fayetteville and Bragg, ie Bragg Blvd where he blew $800 at a strip club, and how no one really dared go into the Green Beret Bar. All I am an army wife and army brat. I watch the tv show but the book is completely different. Yes, there are some parallels, but it's more compelling to read the actual stories. I don't like the speculation she puts into certain conversations but I enjoyed the actual stories of the women she interviewed. I especially liked quizzing my husband on certain landmarks in Fayetteville and Bragg, ie Bragg Blvd where he blew $800 at a strip club, and how no one really dared go into the Green Beret Bar. All in all it made me realize that I had an interest in non fiction. although i read the twilight series right before so any reality was good. It also made me bitch at my husband less for the army being stupid.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    I read this book because I am a Military Brat and a vet. It confirmed what I already knew. There are people in the military (just like in the civilian world) who have no morals. I remember the guys who couldn't wait to go on temporary duty so they could cheat on their wives and I remember the wives who couldn't keep their pants on while their husband was away defending his country for a few months. Statistically military, cops, and miners have the highest divorce rates of any professions; it is I read this book because I am a Military Brat and a vet. It confirmed what I already knew. There are people in the military (just like in the civilian world) who have no morals. I remember the guys who couldn't wait to go on temporary duty so they could cheat on their wives and I remember the wives who couldn't keep their pants on while their husband was away defending his country for a few months. Statistically military, cops, and miners have the highest divorce rates of any professions; it is not an easy life. I also was blessed to know people who exemplified married persons just like in the book. While "Army Wives" is in no danger of winning any awards, it was an quick, easy, and informative read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Belle

    I’m obvs very late to the Army Wives game. I’m on Season 3 on tv. This book is the true life expose of 4 couples that the tv show is based. Andrea Lynne and Rennie are similar to The Holdens, Claudia Joy and Michael. Delores and Ski are similar to Denise and Frank. Andrea and Brandon are similar to Pamela and Chase. Rita and Brian are similar to Roxy and Trevor. Except it’s obvious that some of the events are traded around the couples on tv. In this case the tv show is definitely better than the I’m obvs very late to the Army Wives game. I’m on Season 3 on tv. This book is the true life expose of 4 couples that the tv show is based. Andrea Lynne and Rennie are similar to The Holdens, Claudia Joy and Michael. Delores and Ski are similar to Denise and Frank. Andrea and Brandon are similar to Pamela and Chase. Rita and Brian are similar to Roxy and Trevor. Except it’s obvious that some of the events are traded around the couples on tv. In this case the tv show is definitely better than the book which is rarely the case for me. I’m now very interested to see if there are any updates on the real life couples since 2005. P.S. Andrea Lynne from the post down a few on this page I hope your life has continued to be productive and loving just as we left you in the pages of this story. ❤️

  9. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Picked it up because of the show based on this. The show is a far stretch from this book, most things are totally different. I rated this ok based on the book alone. The author claims to want to dispel some of the average stereotypes of Army wives, yet she feeds into others. This is a very "Go Army" type book, you'd almost think the Army was the only branch of military in the country at times. On the flip side, male spouses are virtually left out of everything as well. The stories about the wive Picked it up because of the show based on this. The show is a far stretch from this book, most things are totally different. I rated this ok based on the book alone. The author claims to want to dispel some of the average stereotypes of Army wives, yet she feeds into others. This is a very "Go Army" type book, you'd almost think the Army was the only branch of military in the country at times. On the flip side, male spouses are virtually left out of everything as well. The stories about the wives themselves are based on true stories and are so detailed one wonders what actually happened, because there's no way people remember tiny little conversations that lead to nothing. One of the wives and her husband are also dead, so again, a lot of assuming going on there. The author is a former Army brat, turned Army wife. She used to be a reporter, it's unclear from her blurb on the back cover if she still remains one. I found this to be interesting and important during my reading. The book itself is full of grammatical errors. Some it's the inclusion of an additional word, maybe another is in the wrong tense, not usually major, but annoying enough. There are also a handful that are so out of wack I had to reread the sentence several times just to be sure I understood it right. My other issue with the writing of this book is the amount of foul language involved. It seems like such a small thing, I know. However, it's one thing to quote someone using it and far different to use it yourself. This is supposed to have been a professional writer. Words are her job. One would think she'd find a better way to get her point across. Overall, this book was ok to me. I'm not going to rave, I was not impressed by it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laela

    To be honest I had a moment when I put this book down and didn't think I was going to pick it back up. There is a widow in this book and it hit a little too close to home. BUT, my mind really wanted to know how things turned out. SO I promised my heart that I would just skim through the burial details and carry on with the rest of the story lines. This is what I really learned while reading this book. There is a class system in the military. It appears that your husbands rank determines everythin To be honest I had a moment when I put this book down and didn't think I was going to pick it back up. There is a widow in this book and it hit a little too close to home. BUT, my mind really wanted to know how things turned out. SO I promised my heart that I would just skim through the burial details and carry on with the rest of the story lines. This is what I really learned while reading this book. There is a class system in the military. It appears that your husbands rank determines everything. It determines where you live, what bars you "should" go to, even what is the appropriate kinds of cloths to wear. It was really an insight into military wives lives. It was worth the read for that alone. I know there is tv show based off of this book, but NO i have not seen it. I don't intend to either.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Having been a Navy Wife this story rang so true to how it is to be a military wife. I knew this was the book that the tv show Army Wives was based on but I didn't know it was about the Fort Bragg killings too. Its a little different than the show but you can figure out who is being portrayed on tv even though the names are different. I couldn't believe how this turned out to be a tear jerker for me halfway through the book. Be aware there is a long prologue/intro at the begining. The story is ba Having been a Navy Wife this story rang so true to how it is to be a military wife. I knew this was the book that the tv show Army Wives was based on but I didn't know it was about the Fort Bragg killings too. Its a little different than the show but you can figure out who is being portrayed on tv even though the names are different. I couldn't believe how this turned out to be a tear jerker for me halfway through the book. Be aware there is a long prologue/intro at the begining. The story is based on true facts and true talks with real Army Wives. If you've been a military wife you will relate to this story, if you haven't been one you will come away with awe.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pam Herald

    Great story, because it was a true, real life picture of four Army Wives. You can see how the TV show adapted their situations for the shows characters. Have a box of tissue handy, cause you go through a roller coaster of emotions!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    I will be the first to admit that I loved the show Army Wives. Since most of the original cast members have left, I have stopped watching, but I was always intrigued by the fact that this show was based on a book. I wanted to see how the two differed. The basis for the book came from the string of Army Wife murders in the spring and summer of 2002, that occurred in Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, North Carolina. The author, Tanya Biank, is a reporter who had covered the army base for years. Traveling I will be the first to admit that I loved the show Army Wives. Since most of the original cast members have left, I have stopped watching, but I was always intrigued by the fact that this show was based on a book. I wanted to see how the two differed. The basis for the book came from the string of Army Wife murders in the spring and summer of 2002, that occurred in Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, North Carolina. The author, Tanya Biank, is a reporter who had covered the army base for years. Traveling with the corps into enemy territory, Biank was the first reporter to be embedded in with the troops. She had background knowledge of many of the goings on on the base, so when the first murder of an army wife happened, she was the one who covered it. The murders, however, played a minor role in the book. What Biank really focused on was the wives of the soldiers. What their lives were like, the pressures they were under to not only support their husbands, but to appear to the outside world that they were both perfect spouses, and perfect supporters of the army. Some women adjusted to their roles without problems. Others, did not adjust. The core group of women that Biank focused on were a mix of perfect and not so perfect. In the case of Andrea Floyd (Pamela from the show), one of the army wives who was murdered by her husband, she seemed like the perfect person. Until she told her husband she was leaving him and had an affair while he was overseas. Her affair, however, had absolutely nothing to do with her leaving her husband. Her husband was verbally abusive, and after years of his abuse, she was done. Other wives experienced loss, and how they reacted to their loss reflected back on their husbands and their husbands positions in the army. What amazed me the most, though I had heard about this from a friend whose own husband served in the army, the amount of women who cheat on their husbands while they are away, and the amount of soldiers who cheat on their wives while they are on their tours of duty. What shocked me the most, though, was that it was okay for the men to cheat, but if the woman cheated, well, that was just unthinkable. And for four of the women, they lost their lives over their "alleged" cheating. While the television show is incredibly different, I can see how this book was able to be transferred into a television show. I have always respected the soldiers who have served in the army. I think I respect their wives more because of their sacrifices and the hardships that they go through as a result of their husbands' career choices. This was a great look into the lives of army wives and the army in general.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Willis

    I picked up Under the Sabers because I knew it was the inspiration for the TV show Army Wives. Under the Sabers is a non-fiction book that follows four Army wives stationed at Fort Bragg the two years prior to the shocking summer in which four Army wives were murdered within a 6 month period. The author does a great job in showing how the Army affects marriages and the role that it plays in a family without condemning the military. I was afraid, starting the book, that the moral of the story wou I picked up Under the Sabers because I knew it was the inspiration for the TV show Army Wives. Under the Sabers is a non-fiction book that follows four Army wives stationed at Fort Bragg the two years prior to the shocking summer in which four Army wives were murdered within a 6 month period. The author does a great job in showing how the Army affects marriages and the role that it plays in a family without condemning the military. I was afraid, starting the book, that the moral of the story would be that the Army was the cause of the murders at Fort Bragg, and that the stories of these wives would illustrate how the Army breaks down marriages. Thankfully, the author, a journalist, does a great job of examining the relationships in such a way that you can see how the strong ones will survive no matter what, and the weak ones are destined to fall apart with or without the stress of the military. Someone not experienced in the military might be hesitant to believe the story of the lives Army wives live: the social pressure, the fascades, the casual adultery. Yet it is exactly these differences that makes Under the Sabers so fascinating and enlightening. It is true: all of it. And while these four women might not be representative of everyone in the military (I've known many who don't fall into one of the categories), they are true representatives nonetheless. The style of the book reminds me of Dave Cullen's Columbine, although not as well structured. It follows several different characters through their lives prior to an event you already know the outcome to, and somehow manages to still surprise you. At the end, you feel like you know why events unfolded the way they did, and that makes the tragedy even sadder. An excellent book I'd definitely recommend.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

    Superb book! Excellent read! I really loved this book. I am from and grew up in Fayetteville and so it was a true trip down memory lane for me to read about the different places mentioned. My father was an Air Force veteran, my husband is also retired Air Force, my son was in the Army and my son-in-law was a Marine. As the daughter of a First Sergeant I grew up hearing the phone ring at all hours of the night with calls from airmen regarding all kinds of issues. As a military wife I knew my role Superb book! Excellent read! I really loved this book. I am from and grew up in Fayetteville and so it was a true trip down memory lane for me to read about the different places mentioned. My father was an Air Force veteran, my husband is also retired Air Force, my son was in the Army and my son-in-law was a Marine. As the daughter of a First Sergeant I grew up hearing the phone ring at all hours of the night with calls from airmen regarding all kinds of issues. As a military wife I knew my role as a spouse and the needs of supporting my husband and helping the airmen and their families. It wasn't until after my husband retired that he and our 2 children had Thanksgiving dinner with just the four of us as we always had young airmen and their families filling up our home. My husband was never gone longer than 6 months away from home so I never experienced the issues that most families deal with. I have, however had to deal with my son being deployed for long periods as was the case with my son-in-law. Interestingly enough, our daughter did not handle the separations well and she and her husband eventually divorced. This book brought out so many things, good and bad that young military couples really need to know. You can never be totally prepared to lose your spouse, be abused or any of the other situations that took place. I still feel it would be helpful for members and their wives to have this book as well as other resources for mandatory reading. I have always hated the term Fayettenam and to this day find it insulting to the city I love and still miss terribly. The only negative thing I can say regarding this book is that when purchasing it I did not realize it was the same book as Army Wives so I am out $ because of that.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    I don’t watch TV so never saw the show “Army Wives.” I was searching for a book to fulfill a reading challenge for an online book group, and this title popped up. I thought it was going to be a sort of chick-lit romance. It’s not what I expected … it’s MUCH better. This is a nonfiction account of four women married to men stationed at Fort Bragg NC. It covers two years beginning in Dec 2000 in the lives of these families. But what happens has ramifications for the military and for the entire Ame I don’t watch TV so never saw the show “Army Wives.” I was searching for a book to fulfill a reading challenge for an online book group, and this title popped up. I thought it was going to be a sort of chick-lit romance. It’s not what I expected … it’s MUCH better. This is a nonfiction account of four women married to men stationed at Fort Bragg NC. It covers two years beginning in Dec 2000 in the lives of these families. But what happens has ramifications for the military and for the entire American populace. The Sept 11 terrorist attacks occur during this period, and as a result, men and women in uniform are being deployed overseas. There’s uncertainty and chaos, especially for the military families. They are under increasing stress; the kind of stress that exacerbates the problems that affect some of their already strained relationships. Biank is, herself, the daughter of a career Army officer, and the wife of an officer as well. She was already covering the military beat for the Fayetteville Observer when these events unfolded. Her background gave her insight into the military, as well as access. She personally knew some of the soldiers and their families. She treats the women with respect, and yet casts a brutally honest eye on their stories, revealing strengths and flaws equally.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mainon

    So I didn't really read the synopsis of this book before borrowing it. As I'm in the midst of planning to become an Army wife myself, I was looking for something interesting on the topic, and the title plus the picture on the front (soldier and bride kissing under the saber arch) seemed to be what I wanted. Truthfully, I was thinking it would be a little sweet, a little gossipy, and sortof like a slightly-more-serious version of the TV show Army Wives. I. Was. So. Wrong. The book starts off with So I didn't really read the synopsis of this book before borrowing it. As I'm in the midst of planning to become an Army wife myself, I was looking for something interesting on the topic, and the title plus the picture on the front (soldier and bride kissing under the saber arch) seemed to be what I wanted. Truthfully, I was thinking it would be a little sweet, a little gossipy, and sortof like a slightly-more-serious version of the TV show Army Wives. I. Was. So. Wrong. The book starts off with the grisly stories of the four Army wives at Fort Bragg who were murdered by their husbands in the summer of 2003. Of course, my future husband is currently stationed at Fort Bragg. Anyway, the whole book basically revolves around the stories of deeply troubled marriages made worse by the demands of deployments, and the one healthy and loving marriage (view spoiler)[ends with the husband being killed in a helicopter accident (hide spoiler)] . So, not an uplifting book -- in fact, fairly depressing across the board. I cried more than once. But in the end, I'm glad I read it -- the author's journalistic background helps her get the facts across, but she also does a great job of humanizing the people behind the "news stories." Definitely worth a read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kristine Kohut

    This book is very journalistic in style. I usually prefer a more flowing fiction style, but I did get used to the feeling that I was reading a book-length article. The content is amazing, well researched. The prologue is a bit redundant with the content of the book, to the point that the reader may choose to skip it, get on with reading the book, and not feel like they missed anything. I would almost say that this book is a must-read for women who are marring into the military who haven't previo This book is very journalistic in style. I usually prefer a more flowing fiction style, but I did get used to the feeling that I was reading a book-length article. The content is amazing, well researched. The prologue is a bit redundant with the content of the book, to the point that the reader may choose to skip it, get on with reading the book, and not feel like they missed anything. I would almost say that this book is a must-read for women who are marring into the military who haven't previously experienced military life. However, this book might also scare them because it focuses a great deal on murders between husbands and wives with one or both being active duty. Still, the author's grasp of military culture is one that could really help a woman new to this life. I was expecting more connection to the show Army Wives, but only elements of the book show up in the television series. The characters are entirely different. The television show was more relational and appealed more to me, but I am very glad to have read this book. I would definitely recommend it to fellow military wives, despite it's reporting so much on domestic violence. And for those who like non-fiction, this is superb.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Rattle Some Sabers The author of this book is an Army Brat, and currently an Army wife — otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered to read it! She gets all the nuances correct and is accurate with details. My husband is a retired Air Force pilot - he retired with 23 years of active duty. Over the years, we’ve known many families who served in the Pope-Bragg area. When the murders happened, I worked in Army ROTC at a large university, and our oldest daughter was a commissioned Army officer. She was deplo Rattle Some Sabers The author of this book is an Army Brat, and currently an Army wife — otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered to read it! She gets all the nuances correct and is accurate with details. My husband is a retired Air Force pilot - he retired with 23 years of active duty. Over the years, we’ve known many families who served in the Pope-Bragg area. When the murders happened, I worked in Army ROTC at a large university, and our oldest daughter was a commissioned Army officer. She was deployed in 2003 as a Patriot missile launch officer. Naturally, all these issues heightened our interest in the crimes. I believe the author has treated the Army, the families, and especially the wives quite fairly. I’m not sure how many “civilians” would be interested in, or understand the of the subtle military culture at that time. Fayetteville is referred to as “Fayettnam” in the book. After so many years of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s now called Fort Braggistan. Also, Pope AFB & Fort Bragg are a combined joint military installation.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Heather Painter

    Interesting book! I play the clarinet in a community band that supports the military, and I watched the Army Wives show on Netflix, so I was interested to see how the show compares to the book. The book centers around the murder of 4 army wives in a 6 week period in 2002. The show didn't talk about the murders at all, but a lot of the elements in the book are infused into the show. The author did a great job of profiling the women who are the main characters of the book. The characters in the sh Interesting book! I play the clarinet in a community band that supports the military, and I watched the Army Wives show on Netflix, so I was interested to see how the show compares to the book. The book centers around the murder of 4 army wives in a 6 week period in 2002. The show didn't talk about the murders at all, but a lot of the elements in the book are infused into the show. The author did a great job of profiling the women who are the main characters of the book. The characters in the show are somewhat similar to the characters in the book, but there are differences (I won't spoil it!). All in all, it was an interesting read!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I was excited to read this book because I lived in Fayetteville and spent time on Fort Bragg, so it was cool reading about familiar places. This book deals with some really heavy stuff and definitely sheds light on the ugly side of military life, and relationships in general. However, as an Army brat and military girlfriend, I can say that the events in this book are the extreme, not the norm. Military life comes with its own unique set of challenges and will test even the strongest of relations I was excited to read this book because I lived in Fayetteville and spent time on Fort Bragg, so it was cool reading about familiar places. This book deals with some really heavy stuff and definitely sheds light on the ugly side of military life, and relationships in general. However, as an Army brat and military girlfriend, I can say that the events in this book are the extreme, not the norm. Military life comes with its own unique set of challenges and will test even the strongest of relationships, and this book zooms in on that.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Grace Viola

    This book caught me by surprise. I was going to give it only 3 stars because I didn't like how it jumped from chracter to charcter so much. I was getting confused and couldn't make sense of it sometimes. However, I realized it had me completely captivated. I was flying through it. It had me in tears multiple times. Tanya Biank broke my heart with her stories. I couldn't justify giving it 5 because I did get frustrated occasionally with the character hoping. This book caught me by surprise. I was going to give it only 3 stars because I didn't like how it jumped from chracter to charcter so much. I was getting confused and couldn't make sense of it sometimes. However, I realized it had me completely captivated. I was flying through it. It had me in tears multiple times. Tanya Biank broke my heart with her stories. I couldn't justify giving it 5 because I did get frustrated occasionally with the character hoping.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    The book behind Army Wives, written by an former Army child.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emily M White

    Really well done, but wow, such rough stories.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kacie

    Having lived at Ft. Bragg for a bit, this was really interesting. Lots of history about the Fayetteville area, the Army, and the summer of murders.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    I'm very sad that the true stories of these women was so wrong. She is or was, a reporter. She fictionalized because of the prospect of a TV show. I'm very sad that the true stories of these women was so wrong. She is or was, a reporter. She fictionalized because of the prospect of a TV show.

  27. 4 out of 5

    LeighAnne

    I read this book because my husband met the sister of the author. And honestly, the tv show is one of our guilty pleasures (that we try to hide from friends....). The show has just enough authenticity to keep us watching the silliness. I can't really write out a good review of the book, because I'm torn. On one hand, it was a fairly good representation of some of the "quirks" about Army life. (obviously not the murders--I'm talking about other things) But even though the author was raised in the I read this book because my husband met the sister of the author. And honestly, the tv show is one of our guilty pleasures (that we try to hide from friends....). The show has just enough authenticity to keep us watching the silliness. I can't really write out a good review of the book, because I'm torn. On one hand, it was a fairly good representation of some of the "quirks" about Army life. (obviously not the murders--I'm talking about other things) But even though the author was raised in the Army, has a sibling who is career Army, and now has married into it, she has an undertone to her writing that is negative. There are a couple of instances where she adds an unnecessary, snide remark about something. For instance, when discussing the fact that junior enlisted soldiers sometimes (she says often) take second jobs to be able to support their families, she adds a remark something like, "I wonder why we never see Privates with pizza delivery boxes on recruiting posters." Ludicrous, obviously, but also not necessary. We all got the point in the paragraph before about how little they make compared to NCO's and officers. I may be defensive on this issue, but I feel like there is a certain line that shouldn't be crossed when discussing military life with civilians. Simply because there is no way to fully describe the military life. No matter how much detail is given, there will be much that is left out. And a civilian who has nothing to draw on besides the words you gave them cannot truly understand what the life gives-and takes. Just reading the reviews on this site makes that obvious. Overall, a "real" story. But I still found myself cringing several times at the harm it could do to the impressions of what is really a pretty great way of life.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I picked up this paperback at the Offutt BX. I enjoy the TV show, and so I thought I might enjoy the book. I was undergoing quite a bit of military-induced stress and needed some light reading. Little did I know, just how light it was. The story was very familiar, but not at all like the tv drama. Low and behold, I had already read the book years ago when it was called "Under the Sabres". And I was not crazy about the book then. Fortunately, the first time I checked the book out from the library I picked up this paperback at the Offutt BX. I enjoy the TV show, and so I thought I might enjoy the book. I was undergoing quite a bit of military-induced stress and needed some light reading. Little did I know, just how light it was. The story was very familiar, but not at all like the tv drama. Low and behold, I had already read the book years ago when it was called "Under the Sabres". And I was not crazy about the book then. Fortunately, the first time I checked the book out from the library, so I only paid for this trash once. Those publishing jerks pulled one over on me. I want my money back, but I am hundreds of miles from the store where I bought the book. There ought to be a law!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    It is with great reluctance that I mark this book as "read." I couldn't really get into it. I'm a huge fan of the Lifetime series, and was eager to read the book that inspired the show. I'm sad to say I was very disappointed, not because the book wasn't based on the same characters (as the show is, of course, fiction) but because of the style of the book. Even taking into account that the author was a reporter, and making allowances for that style of writing, I simply wasn't able to convince mys It is with great reluctance that I mark this book as "read." I couldn't really get into it. I'm a huge fan of the Lifetime series, and was eager to read the book that inspired the show. I'm sad to say I was very disappointed, not because the book wasn't based on the same characters (as the show is, of course, fiction) but because of the style of the book. Even taking into account that the author was a reporter, and making allowances for that style of writing, I simply wasn't able to convince myself to continue reading. This book was a let-down. While at first eager to read about the intricacies of army life, even when entwined with murder and betrayal, the book quickly lost my interest. I hope others find this book more enjoyable than I did.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    An interesting interpretation of military life for some of the women who chose to enter such a unique union. It is in my opinion that those who serve our country have one of the most highly lauded, yet difficult positions in life. Their families share that sacrifice in countless measures. That being said, the mental health of our soldiers should be a top priority.

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