Cover image for West of the moon
West of the moon
Nasaw, Jonathan Lewis, 1947-
Publication Information:
New York : F. Watts, 1987.
Format :

On Order



"This book is about America's most unknown soldiers-enlisted women in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines." Focusing on the decade from 1972 to 1982, Judith Stiehm uses personal narratives, interviews, policy statements, and other material to explore the experience of American women in the military¬ótheir reasons for enlisting, their roles, their self-image, and the way they are viewed by civilians. Although there are now more than 200,000 women in uniform, Stiehm asks why the policies concerning enlisted women "so often appear to fly in the face of both logic and evidence." Her analysis of the effects of change in military policy on women of different ranks and ages reveals how certain functional myths (e.g., "war is manly") are challenged by the presence of women. The result has been an uneasy accommodation. Arms and the Enlisted Woman includes a vivid first-person account by a female veteran of one woman's experience in the Air Force. Honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant after six years of working as an airplane mechanic, this woman describes the struggle to be taken seriously and treated equally, and to excel in a non-traditional field. She also relates the joys of seeing a job well done and being part of a cohesive team. Her mixed reaction to her military career epitomizes the difficulty with which enlisted women have been assimilated. Stiehm also analyzes the rapidly shifting military policies concerning women as well as the reasons for certain erroneous but persistent beliefs about them, and remarks, "One thing seems to be certain. To the professional military the enlisted woman is a raw nerve."

Author Notes

THE GIRLS HE ADORED marks a spectacular departure for JONATHAN NASAW, the author of the well-received horror thrillers West of the Moon (Franklin Watts, 1987), The World of Blood (Dutton/Signet, 1996), and Shadows (Dutton/Signet, 1997), as well as Shakedown Street, a novel for young adults (Delacorte/Bantam, 1993). He lives in Pacific Grove, California.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

A heartbreaking novel concerning the prolonged death of a young boy who, with his mother, has moved into a hospice for patients with incurable tumors. This tragedy is amplified by a custody battle. The boy's father wants him to receive chemotherapy, but his mother believes the procedure will do nothing but prolong his suffering. This novel is full of truth, bravery, and even humor. The reader is not manipulated by exaggerations of pain and unhappiness. What is foremost here is the author's obvious belief in the dignity and integrity of people suffering from mortal illness. PM. [OCLC] 87-1993

Publisher's Weekly Review

This is the heartrending story of Danny Dawson's fifth summer, when chemotherapy makes him bald and sick and doesn't arrest his metastasizing malignancy. His mother, Anne, puts an end to the therapy, leaving the hospital for the familial warmth and love of Casa de Vida, a halfway house near San Francisco for ``roomers with tumors.'' Tom Straw, the Casa's tall and gentle nurse who survived Vietnam to lose a leg to cancer, is a fast and snug addition to the Dawson family. Soon, though, Danny's estranged father tries to restore Danny to chemo, forcing Tom and the Dawsons to retreat to a hospice hideaway deep in the redwood forests, determined to make Danny's last summer a peaceful one. He rides a horse that summer to a field west of the moon, holds a baseball signed by The Babe, and buries his cherished stuffed Penguin, Pengenna. All the while his strength is waning, until the summer comes to a poignant and unforgettable end. This is an outstanding tale of love and living, told in a gentle and lyric voice that never falters. As Anne confesses of David Copperfield, which she reads at Danny's bedside, ``You get so deep into it it's like you forget it's a book.'' So it is, too, with Nasaw's (Easy Walking) sterling new novel. Literary Guild Editor's Corner selection. (October 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved