Images and oral histories offer revealing portraits of women returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. While women are officially barred from combat in the American armed services, in the current war, where there are no front lines, the ban on combat is virtually meaningless. More than in any previous conflict in our history, American women are engaging with the enemy, suffering injuries, and even sacrificing their lives in the line of duty. ""When Janey Comes Marching Home"" juxtaposes forty-eight self-posed photographs by Sascha Pflaeging with oral histories collected by Laura Browder to provide a dramatic portrait of women at war. Women from all five branches of the military share their stories here - stories that are by turns moving, comic, thought-provoking, and profound. Seeing their faces in stunning color photographic portraits and reading what they have to say about loss, comradeship, conflict, and hard choices will change the ways we think about women and war. Serving in a combat zone is an all-encompassing experience that is transformative, life-defining, and difficult to leave behind. By coming face-to-face with women veterans, we who are outside that world can begin to get a sense of how the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shaped their lives and how their stories may ripple out and influence the experiences of all American women. The book accompanies a photography exhibit of the same name opening May 22, 2010, at the Women in Military Service to America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, and continuing to travel around the country through 2011.
Laura Browder is professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is author, most recently, of Her Best Shot: Women and Guns in America, and is writer and coproducer of the documentary film Gone to Texas: The Lives of Forrest Carter, based on her book Slippery Characters: Ethnic Impersonators and American Identities (both books UNC Press).||Sascha Pflaeging is a freelance photographer for clients such as Getty Images, CBS, and Us Magazine