Crossed Currents (H)

Jean Ebbert, Author, Marie-Beth Hall, With, Edward L. Beach, Jr., Foreword by
Jean Ebbert, Author, Marie-Beth Hall, With, Edward L. Beach, Jr., Foreword by Potomac Books $25 (321p) ISBN 978-0-02-881022-5
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Solidly researched and engagingly written, this study explores how the U.S. Navy, reluctantly for the most part, opened its ranks to women, and how, once admitted, women have struggled to gain acceptance. Though thousands of women performed useful volunteer service in both world wars, not until 1948 were they sworn into the regular Navy. Then, in 1972, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, chief of naval operations, launched initiatives that made available numerous ratings, programs and assignments from which women had previously been excluded. Ebbert and Hall discuss the status of such controversial issues as fraternization, sexual harassment, lesbianism and the question of allowing women aboard combat ships. Readers will find here an objective review of the well-publicized, traumatic 1991 Tailhook Convention of naval carrier pilots in Las Vegas at which rowdiness became a form of rape. Though the struggle for parity is still far from won, the authors conclude that the Gulf War demonstrated that the Navy has integrated women extensively and that the trend promises to continue. Ebbert is a former Navy lieutenant married to a retired Navy captain; Hall is the wife of a retired Navy captain and the mother of two naval officer sons. Photos. (June)
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