Soldier Girls (Simon & Schuster, $28), Helen Thorpe’s meticulously reported book about three women who join the Indiana National Guard in the decade before 9/11, brilliantly illuminates the human costs of America’s forays into far-off wars. Through her subjects, Thorpe, also the author of Just Like Us, explores the realities of a volunteer military, the modern role of the National Guard, and most importantly, what America’s most recent engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq have meant to the lives of women who, in growing numbers, are being deployed to help wage America’s war on terror. Thorpe interviewed her subjects over several years and had access to a trove of personal documents, from emails to therapists’ notes. Soldier Girls is a journalistic tour de force.
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