Porcelain on Steel: Women of West Point’s Long Gray Line
Reviewed by: Lola Beatlebrox
I first met Donna McAleer when she hoisted me over a 10-foot wall as our Park City Leadership class negotiated an obstacle course. The local resident stood out as a leader during that team-building exercise, so when I learned she had graduated from West Point, it all became clear. In Porcelain on Steel, McAleer profiles 14 young women who have attended West Point since 1976, the first year the elite Army institution admitted female students. The author chronicles their accomplishments and their challenges while at West Point and after. McAleer describes the careers of these women and how they exhibit the seven Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. Several of them fought in Bosnia and Iraq. One became a brigadier general who commanded more than 25,000 soldiers and civilians in Iraq and Kuwait. Another subject had her arm blown off by a roadside bomb; two were sacked under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. These profiles reveal the pros and cons of such an education for women, and they offer a fresh perspective on U.S. military values at a time when public perception is focused on foreign engagements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and elsewhere.
$28.95 at Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St, Park City