The U.S. women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan—some 220,000 of them—have seen more wartime action than any female soldiers in our military history. When Janey Comes Marching Home (UNC Press), by Laura Browder with photographs by Sascha Pflaeging, highlights 48 of these veterans in brazenly honest portraits and interviews. The stories here detail the challenges of long-distance motherhood (“The first time we came back, my daughter didn’t recognize me or my husband”), the horrors of military rape culture (“It’s just really bad for the women who have to go to the bathroom at night”) and the complexities of living with the enemy. But they are also surprisingly joyful, filled with a fervent brand of feminism and hard-won patriotism. As one captain says about her independence, “I took that concept to another level when I joined the army.”
Originally published in the May 2010 issue of More.