ARMY WIVES

The Unwritten Code of Military Marriage

Tanya Biank

 Army Wives goes beyond the sound bites and photo ops of military life to bring readers into the hearts and homes of today’s military wives.

Biank tells the story of four typical Army wives who, in a flash, find themselves in extraordinary circumstances that ultimately force them to redefine who they are as women and wives. This is a true story about what happened when real life collided with army convention.

Army Wives is a groundbreaking narrative that takes the reader beyond the Army’s gates,

more …

 Army Wives goes beyond the sound bites and photo ops of military life to bring readers into the hearts and homes of today’s military wives.

Biank tells the story of four typical Army wives who, in a flash, find themselves in extraordinary circumstances that ultimately force them to redefine who they are as women and wives. This is a true story about what happened when real life collided with army convention.

Army Wives is a groundbreaking narrative that takes the reader beyond the Army’s gates, taking a close look at the other woman—the Army itself—and how its traditions, rules and war-time realities deeply impact marriage and home life.

less …
  • St. Martin's Press
  • Paperback
  • May 2007
  • 288 Pages
  • 9780312333515

Buy the Book

$13.95

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About Tanya Biank

 Tanya Biank, a military reporter for the Fayetteville Observer, made international news in the summer of 2002, when she broke the story about four Army wives who were brutally murdered by their husbands in a span of six weeks at Fort Bragg, an Army post that is home to the Green Berets, Airborne paratroopers, and Delta Force commandos. By that autumn, Biank, an Army brat herself, realized the still untold story of Army wives lay in the ashes of that tragic and sensationalized summer. She knew the truth: wives were the backbone of the Army. They were strong—not helpless—and deserved more than the sugarcoating that often accompanied their stories in the media.

Praise

“…a timely look at the impact of combat and military life on the families the soldiers leave behind.” —The Washington Post

Army Wives captivates readers with an up close and personal look into the ‘real’ everyday lives and challenges of Army spouses. Kudos to Ms. Biank for portraying each spouse’s story with such heartfelt compassion.” —Victoria M. Parham, Host of Military Spouse Talk Radio

“…Biank’s novelistic sense of detail and suspense vividly demonstrates how ‘the Army…could bring couples closer together…or it could rip relationships apart.’ Army wives cope with unpredictable deployments and struggle to raise children alone, often on small paychecks, in a community both tightknit and sharply judgmental. ‘Army wives serve, too,’ says Biank – in an institution ambivalent about families. She makes sympathetic both their pride and their tragedies.” —Publishers Weekly

“Biank has strong credentials for understanding and explaining army culture: in addition to having been a military reporter, she is the daughter and wife of army officers. Her very readable and thoughtful book delves into a rarely studied segment of the army.” —Library Journal

Discussion Questions

The author describes the Army as the “other woman.” What does she mean by that?

Has reading Army Wives increased your awareness or changed your opinion of Army life? What were you most surprised to learn?

In the book, members of the military community are portrayed as supportive, but also judgmental. Discuss how this plays out in the lives of the characters.

In the book, the wives wield their own power. What kind of impact can the wives have on their husbands’ careers?

Andrea Lynne and Rita are Army wives at the same post. Why are their lives so different from each other and why is it unlikely their paths would cross?

Rita puts wives into categories based on personality traits. Which group do you most identify with, if any?

Should Rita have told Brian about the details of her girls’ night out?

How do the women change or evolve throughout the book? Can you relate to any of their predicaments? Do any of the women remind you of yourself or someone you know?

What do you think of the book’s subtitle, The Unwritten Code of Military Marriage? What does the “unwritten code” mean?

After losing the love of her life, is it possible for Andrea Lynne, or anyone, to find that kind of love again?

Is Andrea Lynne an admirable or self-absorbed figure in this book?

Could anything have saved Gary Shane from himself? Discuss how Delores and Ski handled their loss individually and as a couple.

We learn from the experiences of others. Discuss any lessons from the book you can apply to your own life.

Why did Rita feel different and excluded from the officers’ wives at Military Spouse Day? Could she have done anything to remedy the situation? Rita felt the women prejudged her. Did she prejudge them as well?

What do you think happened between Andrea and Brandon that last night?

“To thine own self be true” was a motto Andrea Lynne had painted on a cabinet in her home. How does this saying play out in the lives of the main characters?

After her husband’s death, Andrea Lynne finds herself separated from her old life and identity as an Army wife. What is your reaction to her dilemma and the choices she makes?

Why would a husband murder the mother of his children? Do you agree with the Pentagon’s assessment of the Fort Bragg Army wife murders?