Sunday, May 9, 2010

Women in the military and law enforcement, Neitzche and Heidegger , and more in the book reviews

Two new books, HISTORY IN BLUE: 160 Years of Women Police, Sheriffs, Detectives, and State Troopers, by Allan T. Duffin, and A FEW GOOD WOMEN: America's Military Women from World War I to the War in Iraq and Afghanistan, by Evelyn M. Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee, “document women's work history and provide fascinating individual stories,” writes Elaine Showalter for the Washington Post.
There have been women in police work since the beginning of the 20th century, initially as mother-figures "with a badge," who would stop juveniles from smoking, advise wayward girls and patrol saloons....But in the 1970s, federal law, mass media and popular culture, including Angie Dickinson's hit TV series "Police Woman" and the police procedural novels of Dorothy Uhnak, made the female police officer a familiar and respected figure.

The story is different in the military. According to Monahan, a psychologist who served in the Women's Army Corps from 1961-67, and Neidel-Greenlee, a nurse who served in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps from 1962-65, the war experience of American military women, especially in World War II, has been "cast out" of official history, with devastating effects on civil rights, women's military careers and political participation, and national security and defense. Since 1918, when they were accepted as volunteers, women in the armed services have been treated as auxiliaries -- separate from the male chain of command, ineligible for the same benefits and rewards as men, often vilified and insulted, and accused of undermining what now-Sen. James Webb called, in 1979, one of the last places where "someone [can] go to find out if he is a man."
Continue reading here.

Christopher Benfrey writes in The New Republic that in My Queer War by James Lord, readers will learn
that the American warriors who fought in World War II, trumpeted as our "Greatest Generation," were the usual mix of gay and straight, humane and sadistic, cowardly and brave. They will also learn that the United States Army has been as much a refuge for gay men as a system for identifying and expelling them from its ranks.
The rest is here.

Recent books on Martin Heidegger and Fredrich Neitzche are taken up in the New York Times. The books are: HEIDEGGER: The Introduction of Nazism Into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars of 1933-1935 by Emmanuel Faye, Translated by Michael B. Smith, STRANGER FROM ABROAD: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness by Daniel Maier-Katkin; and FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE: A Philosophical Biography by Julian Young.

Also reviewed in the NY Times, THE FIRST WAR OF PHYSICS: The Secret History of the Atom Bomb, 1939-1949 by Jim Baggott.