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Army Wives: The Unwritten Code of Military Marriage [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Tanya Biank , Laural Merlington
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423357299
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423357292
  • Product Dimensions: 16.9 x 16.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative while staying interesting! 7 July 2009
Would not hesitate to recommend this book. Wasn't sure and so took me several months before I ordered. I am a fan of the TV series and wasn't sure how this book fitted in. The answer is - it doesn't! The creators of the TV series have used pieces of several of the book's characters to create new characters. However I think the TV series and book are both brilliant. The book is an interesting account of life in the US army and I found the little domestic details such as the food served at a Christmas buffet fascinating. The book does have a serious topic though and that is about domestic abuse and the psychological impact that armed combat can have on the soldiers and their families. If you're looking for something a little different to your normal beach read - this is it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A CLOISTERED LIFE REVEALED 21 Mar 2006
By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER
In 2002 the murder of four Army wives within a six week period at Fort Bragg, North Carolina was a shocker. These tragic stories were covered by Tanya Biank, then a military reporter for the Fayetteville Observer. The Army was her logical beat; she’s the daughter and wife of an Army officer. She wasn’t naive yet these killings stunned her, and the further she probed the more she realized that she had more than these sad stories to tell. She wanted to present what life was really like for Army wives, to highlight their strengths and perseverance.
As she has written, “We often hear about the sacrifices soldiers made for their nation, but we rarely hear about their spouses struggles. Army wives are bound by an unwritten code. They are expected to endure hardships with graciousness and tragedies with heads held high.”
Biank used as her springboard the story of four typical Army wives each of whom reaches a crisis point in their lives at Fort Bragg.
We first meet Rita Odom, a recent bride who viewed Army life with wide eyes. She came from a small Alabama town where had suffered abuse and lived in poverty. Having known him for only a short while, her husband was almost a stranger. Thus, it was Rita’s task to grow in her marriage and as an individual in an atmosphere that applauded conformity.
Next, we’re introduced to Delores Kalinofski, a woman with 20 years of Army life behind her, much of which was spent at Fort Bragg. Tragedy was to come - how would the Army community respond?
Andrea Lynne Cory is a battle commander’s wife, therefore very much a part of Fort Bragg’s social scene, which is rich in protocol and customs.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not like the tv series 26 Sep 2009
i got this book cos i absolutely love the army wives series, and thought it'd have all the characters, roxy, denise,claudia joy etc, but it was NOTHING like the series at all and I was quite disappointed. Took me quite a while to get into it as it was not what i was expecting. it was more a journalists view on army wives and it wasn't a story as such. xx.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Army Wives by Tanya Biank 18 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book initally because I enjoyed the television series. It really was nothing like the series though!
It is written by journalist Tanya Biank after a seires of 4 murders carried out on an army base "Fort Bragg" in America over the course of one Summer. It tells the story of the wives of the army officers over the course of a year, and they're eventual deaths at their husbands hands.
It was Ok but I did find it a bit sickly sweet at times, the discriptions of the feelings between the couples etc. We were told about the clothes they wore, the cars they drove and the type of furniture in their houses!! All a bit much I felt.
The author jumped around the story a bit too much for my liking, back and forth, which was a little confusing, telling about her own time in the Army and her own opinions on the officers and their spouses.
The book was alright but I can only score it 3 stars as it wasn't a book you could get your teeth into. I do not think I would read another of Tanya Bianks books if I am honest.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  132 reviews
44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy Reading 11 Feb 2006
By P. F. Gay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am an Army wife and was thrilled to see a modern look at the military wife. The book is extremely well written. The characters were brought out in a manner that humanized them rather than stereotyped. The book is about Army wives at Ft. Bragg during a short time period and does not truly show how happy a lot of us really are. I finished the book and felt really depressed about the deaths and suicides on Ft. Bragg. The 82nd is unique and many Army wives never set foot there. I am a former soldier as well as the spouse of an Army man with 24 years in and we still love it. We do not just help out during funerals. The fun is missing in this book. It is fun to be part of it all-- we are not duty bound to help each other. We do it because we want to do it. The book also keeps bringing up "clean houses" as if that were the most important thing we care about. She mentions funerals and what woman would want a crowd coming through her house without the chance to straighten up. One of the best Army wife moments I ever had was at West Point when another Army family stopped by at 11am on a Sunday morning and seeing the chaos that my house was in just after church she quickly smiled and said, "I live in my house too." That is what Army wives are really like. There are truly many awesome wives out there and more great marriages than bad. The book focuses on mostly bad marriages and tragedy. In this operational environment I was hoping for an inspirational book about Army wives. This book is a page-turner and I could not put it down. After re-reading the jacket I can say the book does advertise itself as being just what it is, but the publicity around the book suggests it gives insight into the world of all Army wives.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable book 5 July 2007
By M. Krajeski - Published on Amazon.com
I nearly read this book in one sitting--it was that mesmerizing. As an Army wife for 18 years, I can tell you that Tanya Biank has accomplished what I've never seen: a book about Army life written with a journalist's eye for detail and the understanding, compassionate tone of someone who's been an Army brat and became an Army wife herself. Her research, candor, and writing talents are first-rate as she offers us a window into the lives, personalities, and backgrounds of 4 very different Army wives.

This isn't the definitive book on Army wives--no one can write that because it's a deeply personal and complex subject that defies description. I think the subtitle is unfortunate, "The Unwritten Code of Army Wives," as if it were a tell-all, but don't be put off.

UNDER THE SABERS is part slice-of-life, part cultural commentary, and part news reporting as Biank's portraits of these Army wives intersect with the sensational national headlines of the murders at Fort Bragg. In the process, she articulates the daily challenges we can all relate to, such as frequent moves, solo parenting, social pressures, and anxiety about our husband's safety. UNDER THE SABERS documents an important and unrecognized social history. It will always have a prominent place on my bookshelf, no matter where we live.

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating case studies 10 Aug 2006
By Preacher Lady - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As an Army brat and scholar who has done research on the Army life from an anthropological perspective, I found this book very interesting and well-done. It's well-written and is truly in the "case study" style, rather than being a scientific survey of attitudes or events that permeate the lives of Army wives. If that's what you're looking for (as at least one of the disappointed reviewers seems to be) you won't find it here. But if you like to learn about a neglected subculture in the United States by means of closely examining the lives of four disparate Army wives, then this is for you. No, it doesn't include Army husbands, but then the title does say "Wives." Whatever changes are occurring in the Army as far as gender goes, and whether they are positive or negative, the plain fact is that the vast majority of senior officers and NCOs are men, and the vast majority of their spouses are women (don't ask, don't tell, after all). Someone else can write the book on Army husbands, and that could be an interesting read, too. I think the whole point of Ms. Biank's book is that it is the very nature of the military lifestyle that led to the murders at Fort Bragg; they COULD have happened anywhere. The more interesting question is "Why there, why then?" and while Biank doesn't do a stellar job in answering those questions, the fact is there is probably no one "right" answer. Could be coincidence; could be the nature of that particular Army post. While my father worked in Army intelligence, and we sometimes lived on post, it was never the combat-focus in those communities that it seems to be at Fort Bragg. In the Army I saw, there was much more than combat that got done and that was important to the nation's security. At Fort Bragg, life IS focused on combat and readiness for it. Perhaps that's the reason the violence that precipitated those murders was closer to the surface and/or more easily sparked. Again, this book doesn't give a definitive answer to that question, but it IS a fascinating, easy-reading description of the lives of four Army wives, and I was very pleased to make their acquaintance. Whether you're a stranger to the life or a veteran of it, you'll find the book interesting and entertaining, as well as thought-provoking. I recognized all those women -- I think I babysat for all of them or met them when they came to my parents' parties. It'd be a shame to miss their stories.
41 of 53 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Narrow focus, truly depressing, misleading 13 Mar 2009
By Avid reader - Published on Amazon.com
This book was nothing more than a dreadful look into the lives of a small handful of women who had horrible experiences. Do not judge this book by its cover. Mine displayed a happy couple kissing as they walk out of the church after their wedding under an arch of sabers. What a happy picture. Enjoy it because it's the last happy thing you'll see in this book. The grand title creates the illusion that you will be getting an general, but inside, look at the lives of military wives. A true look at what Army wives face and how they cope.

What it provides is the utterly depressing story of a few women who faced murder, family deaths, illness, abuse, cheating, struggles, and unhappiness. It's not inspiring, and it will certainly not act as any sort of reference for what a new wife might face. As a matter of fact, if I had read this before I married my husband (enlisted infantryman on a career track in the Amry) I would have been terrified about the life ahead.

This title is so misleading that it's almost insulting to military wives who are happy. There are so many women who happily and joyfully approach their military marriages, myself included. We face deployments, moves, seperation, uncertainty, and hard times with faith in our marriages and a true love of our husbands and the Army. We are happy to do whatever necessary to support our husbands, but we also receive love and support in return. We have careers that do not make our husbands jealous, and some of us are even the primary bread winner. We would never think of cheating, and we faithfully provide unwaivering support during deployments. We are happy! And yes, there are families who face struggles, but the community really does come together to help out.

Please do not think that I take the stories in this book lightly. They represent a serious problem, and the women who made it out the other side have true strength that I can only imagine. Not one of thesen women "got what was coming to them", as some people indicated in the book. These stories are horrible and things like this do happen. My point is this: This is not a picture of "The Army". It is not the whole story and it is not the norm in military life. This is the story of a small group from a brief period of time in one town. To imply that the story of such a microscopic minority of Army wives is indicative of what all Army wives face is unfair, misleading, and small-minded. Not one happy person was interviewed, not one happy story was told. Call me and I will tell you how happy I have been with the military life, struggles and complaints included. I will tell you about the military couples that I know who love and support each other, no matter what. They face trials and struggles, but they are in it for the long haul. The one positive thing I can say about this story is that it has made me so aware of how good I have it and so thankful to my husband for being awesome. Other than that, it made me feel sick.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read, but Misleading Title. 15 Jun 2007
By ¤¤ - Published on Amazon.com
I wanted to read this book after discovering that it was the inspiration for Lifetime Televisions's new series, ARMY WIVES. I half expected the book to be just as laughable and absurd as the new TV show, but it wasn't. Ms. Biank is very detailed in her accounts of four Army families, and she does well in portraying their everyday lives, how the military life engulfs all aspects of their lives, and the sorrows and pain they endure. I often find that journalists make the best nonfiction writers sometimes, and the author's writing style was very descriptive.

However, I did find it odd that she mentions the fact that Officers' wives and their families seem to receive special treatment in the Army, and in comparison, Enlisted soldiers and their families just barely make enough to scrape by. I found that odd not because it might be true, but because Biank herself shows special treatment to an Officer's wife in her book, as one of her real-life characters does get more ink. It is the wife of a Lieutenant Colonel whose story is the longest of all the four women in the book.

Also, the title itself I found to be misleading. There is no "code" that she mentions in the book, as it seemed that her intentions were merely to tell the story of four soldiers and their wives. The only unknown code that I could gather from her book would be that the Army affects the lives of the spouses just as much as the lives of the soldiers themselves. Perhaps that is only "unknown" because many civilians may not realize it.

Regardless, I enjoyed reading this book and getting an insider's look into life on an Army installation that is home to more than one group of respected soldiers. I liked the little anecdotes Biank mentions here and there throughout her four stories. I recommend this book so long as the reader realizes there is no real "unwritten code" of the book.
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