The First, the Few, the Forgotten: Navy and Marine Corps Women in World War I

TitleThe First, the Few, the Forgotten: Navy and Marine Corps Women in World War I
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsEbbert, Jean, and Marie-Beth Hall
Number of Pages189
PublisherNaval Institute Press
CityAnnapolis, MD

Original in its focus, this groundbreaking book tells the story of the women who served in the military during World War I. Effectively shattering the misconception that women's military role in the war was limited to nursing, the authors recount that from 1917 to 1920, some 12,000 enlisted women served in the U.S. Naval Reserve and 305 in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Carefully researched and engagingly written, the book explores a surprising variety of military duties carried out by women, including a number of non-clerical, highly specialized billets. In their efforts to acknowledge the historical significance of the women's service and preserve a record of it, Jean Ebbert and Marie-Beth Hall address the Navy's official and unofficial responses to the women's presence and thoughtfully document the dilemmas of the time. While other books have been written about women in the military, this work is unique in its coverage of service women in World War I. Detailing their backgrounds, training, responsibilities, and personal and social challenges, it takes a hard look at the women who opened the door to women's future integration in the military. This is a significant work and a principal subject area for persons interested in the history of the military and in women's studies.

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