Most families have an army wife somewhere in their past. Over the centuries they have followed their men to the front, helped them keep order in far-flung parts of the empire or waited anxiously at home. Army Wives uses first hand accounts, letters and diaries to tell their story.
We meet the wives who made the arduous journey to the Crimean war and witnessed battle at close quarters. We hear the story of life in the Raj and the often terrifying experiences of the women who lived through its dying days. We explore the pressures of being a modern army wife — whether living in barracks or trying to maintain a normal home life outside ‘the patch’.
In the twentieth century two world wars produced new generations of army wives who forged friendships that lasted into peacetime. Army Wives reveals their experience and that of a new breed of independent women who supported their men through the Cold War to the current war on terror.
Midge Gillies looks at how industrial warfare means husbands can survive battle with life-changing injuries that are both mental and physical — and what that means for their family. She describes how army wives communicate with their husbands — via letters and coded messages, to more immediate, but less intimate, texts and Skype. She examines bereavement, from the séances, public memorials and deaths in a foreign field of the Great War to the modern media coverage of flag-draped coffins returning home by military plane.
Above all, Army Wives examines what it really means to be part of the ‘army family’, in the past and today, and how these women’s lives reveal a deeply human experience that is often hidden from those of us on the outside.