Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the US Army - Kayla Williams

Book Review by Leo Wood | 16 Apr 2006
…9. Ask two hundred people you don't know and don't necessarily like to live with you for a month. Make sure there are at least five times as many men as women.
10. When it rains, go dig a hole in your backyard. Fill a pail with dirt and stir it with rainwater. Slowly pour this mixture over your entire body…
Imagining life in Iraq is somewhat difficult. Imagining life in Iraq for a woman in the US Army is even trickier, which makes 'Love My Rifle More Than You' such an illuminating book. Kayla Williams joined the US Army on a five-year contract – aged 23, jobless, single and looking to make something of her life. Once in Iraq, she trained as an Arabic language specialist for her division, and often worked as a translator right in the midst of action. Williams speaks frankly about her experiences in the army, both in peacetime and at war. Her story is a political one, involving hot media issues - she witnesses gross incompetence and the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib - but it is also a personal story. As a female soldier in a sea of testosterone she faces the dichotomy of being either a bitch or a slut. Whether you're a man or a woman, a hawk or a dove, 'Love My Rifle More Than You' is a fascinating book. [Leo Wood]
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Out Now. (Cover Price £12.99)