cover image The Wars We Inherit: Military Life, Gender Violence, and Memory

The Wars We Inherit: Military Life, Gender Violence, and Memory

Lori E. Amy. , Temple Univ., $24.95 (216p) ISBN 978-1-59213-961-3

In 1982, when she was 18, Amy's father, a former career army man, left their family for his niece, after years of physical and verbal violence and sexualizing his daughters. Amy now breaks her silence to scrutinize family violence and teach methods for dealing with it. Drawing on sociology and neuroscience as well as anecdotal evidence, Amy, director of Georgia State University's Women's and Gender Studies Program, creates a memoir centered on her family's dysfunction, evolving into a detailed study of military "hypermasculinity," which builds soldiers by stripping away humanity. This learned violence, she says, migrates from the adrenaline-soaked battlefield to the home, recreating the military cycle of control and abuse. Further, it pervades our culture, forming an "ego-ideal for ordinary boys" (though her statement that domestic violence is three times higher in military than civilian families seems to contradict this). Equally damaging is this system's encouraging silence from women trying to remain loyal to their men and country. Not everyone will buy Amy's theories, but she helps expose abuse she says is often hidden by the careful performances of both victims and abusers. (July)