Cover image for Military brats : legacies of childhood inside the fortress
Military brats : legacies of childhood inside the fortress
Wertsch, Mary Edwards.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harmony Books, [1991]

Physical Description:
xxv, 452 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
U21.5 .W48 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Inspired by the novel The Great Santini, with an introduction by its author Pat Conroy, this account explores the lives and experiences of children raised under the rigid, authoritarian auspices of the military. Through interviews with 80 "military brats" raised in all four armed services, as well as military parents, teachers, psychiatrists, and social workers, Wertsch effectively contends that those raised in the warrior tradition of the military constitute a different subculture from that of the civilian U.S. Indeed, many of these adult children from military backgrounds later suffer much the same complications as adult children of alcoholics, whether their parents drank excessively or not, and other maladies, mostly related to the transience of military life and the discipline inherent in the military community. Yet Wertsch discovers some positive legacies and ultimately concludes that while the mark of the fortress is, and always will be, on her and others like her, she wouldn't have it any other way. ~--Ivy Burrowes

Publisher's Weekly Review

For her first book, Wertsch (daughter of an Army officer) interviewed 80 ``military brats'' born between 1932 and 1964, and found that many of their childhood experiences were held in common: extreme mobility, for example, frequent absence of the father and isolation/alienation from the civilian community. Almost without exception, the dominant figure in the tales collected here is the godlike father--often a super-macho warrior type who made impossible demands on sons, ignored daughters and tried to run the family as though it were a military unit. Some of the most painful stories deal with alcoholic fathers and those whose attempts to discipline their children crossed over into child abuse. Wertsch's deeply felt book has much to say about the fragility of the family and about the dark side of human nature. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Operation Desert Storm will increase interest in all things military, so the topic of the services' children is timely. Journalist Wertsch, daughter of an Army colonel, inspired by Pat Conroy's The Great Santini (LJ 6/1/76--Conroy contributes an introduction here), interviewed 80 adult ``brats'' to record their childhood recollections. Longer and more analytical than Mary Truscott's Brats (LJ 11/15/89), and with greater attention paid to dark themes, Wertsch describes a mixed legacy of alcoholism, abuse, rootlessness, and rigidity; yet also loyalty, achievement, resilience, and idealism. Had her account of growing up ``inside the Fortress,'' as Wertsch somewhat tiresomely puts it throughout, focused more upon concrete detail and less upon her subjects' psyches and her own psychological outpourings, the book would have been of wider interest to readers raised civilian. Still, this is a good choice for many public libraries and for any library serving a military population.-- Robert F. Nardini, North Chichester, N.H. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.