Cover image for Stronger than custom : West Point and the admission of women
Stronger than custom : West Point and the admission of women
Janda, Lance.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxviii, 226 pages, 12 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
U410.Q1 J35 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The gender barrier that stood for nearly two centuries at the United States Military Academy was toppled in 1976. Based on more than one hundred interviews, thousands of pages of Academy documents, and a wide array of secondary sources, this is the first comprehensive history of what the admission of women at West Point meant for the Academy, for the Army, and for the United States. The story of how West Point prepared for the precedent-setting arrival of women has never before been thoroughly told. Given the current interest in the role of women in the armed forces, and the attention focused on The Citadel and VMI when they admitted women, this is a topical story that will appeal to a general audience.

Janda explains how and why female cadets were admitted to West Point and how they responded to the challenge of confronting 175 years of all-male Academy tradition. He argues that neither feminists nor Congress forced the Academy to change standards for women, and that Academy leaders were pioneers in exploring the implications of bringing women into formerly all-male military academies. Stronger than Custom also examines the sacrifices made by the first women cadets at the Academy, each of whom confronted an array of personal and professional hurdles on the road to graduation. When 62 of the original 119 women who entered the Academy in 1976 graduated four years later, they did so in triumph.

Author Notes

LANCE JANDA is an assistant professor of history at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. He serves as the book review editor of Minerva: Quarterly Journal of Women in the Military .

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This excellent book tells the story of the 119 women who were the first female cadets at West Point. Sixty-two of them graduated, and 12 were on active duty 20 years later. Janda (history, Cameron Univ., Oklahoma) concludes that the question of whether women belong at the Academy and in the Army has been settled--"They do." The real question is the willingness of everyone to get beyond old stereotypes and realize that women are an enormous national resource. The author masterfully analyzes pro and con arguments in the debate over women's "place" and examines policy decisions, but his most impressive contribution is about the cadets themselves. Men faced obstacles to accepting the women, including Academy actions and their own prejudices. As a small minority the women faced and overcame these obstacles. Their talent and courage showed that they indeed have been heroes. All levels/collections. J. P. Hobbs North Carolina State University

Table of Contents

Lieutenant Colonel Donna Alesch Newell
Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xv
Sourcesp. xix
Introductionp. xxiii
Prologuep. 1
1 "The Corps Has"p. 5
2 "A Measure of Our Maturity"p. 31
3 "A Higher Calling"p. 61
4 "The Little Things"p. 79
5 "Servants of the People"p. 121
6 "You Are Here for Your Country"p. 143
7 "All of Our Children"p. 175
Epiloguep. 197
Appendixp. 201
Bibliographyp. 205
Indexp. 223