I’ve only read one book about women in the military and this Corsets To Camouflage: Women And War – Kate Adie, which isn’t particularly American for me to lean on for this holiday. The book does lean on the British experience, but it goes a long way (if I recall correctly because it’s been years and I’ve been meaning to reread it) to explain the overall progression. It’s also a bit of an older book and A LOT has happened, particularly in the last few years with the final removal of all barriers to women serving in combat in the US.
Well, I did read America’s Women and Founding Mothers but I don’t remember which one mentioned our initial entry into active service, which was not actually the point of which we were initially allowed. Much like the anecdotes of men who lied about their age or illnesses to be able to serve, women lied about their gender. One of these has an account of Deborah Sampson, her gender was discovered during treatment for an injury and was honorably discharged for it. She even later petitioned for the pay the never gave her, which she did get, and then for her pension, which was denied. Needless to say, we’ve come a long way. But there’s much further left to go.
Changes are still being put into place, but even before, exceptions applied. Here are some books still on my TBR that honor or simply discuss women and military service: