Wednesday, December 26, 2007

[Review] Beyond Dancing: A Veteran's Struggle, a Woman's Triumph (Hardcover)

Hardcover: 311 pages $23.95
Publisher: Bartleby Press (November 2003)
ISBN-10: 091015550X
ISBN-13: 978-0910155502

It’s taken me a while to figure out how to approach this review. See, I’m used to reviewing fiction, and not autobiographies.

Anita’s story helps to bring to life aa period during WWII, and circumstances of which I was only peripherally aware of one, and that was the WAAC’s mainstreaming and transition to the WAC. For the uninitiated, that’s from the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps to the Women’s Army Corps. Injured in an incident in boot camp, which I’ve taken to thinking of as a case of “friendly fire” (and medical malpractice), and disabled as a result, this book takes us through Anita’s struggles to be recognized as a disabled veteran, injured in the service of her country. It’s her story, but it happened during that period, and her life, and the transition, and the struggle for the rights of those women veterans disabled during the transition adds a dimension to this story. It’s one woman’s struggle, and ultimate triumph, that illustrates the struggle, not only for women veterans, but for all veterans. It’s an important part of history that should not be overlooked, and brings to life the period in which it transpired. Anita was also the first woman to pass a drivers license test using hand controls. Considering that this period was WWII, that point also shows that civilization was not quite so barbaric as some of the medical methodology was, for that period. ;-

I have to admit that I was looking at the story and thinking about how different it was from the America portrayed in A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, which was more about a depressed economy than about the child of a business owner. A different economic strata is portrayed, and this book, unlike that one, is not fiction. Still, I could relate to Anita’s story. I never was in the military, but…

I would recommend this book to both historians, and to people who like to read human interest stories. Other folks might find it interesting, too.